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Verdugo Views: First city signs inspired by 1923 Rose float

February 11, 2011|By Katherine Yamada

New signs have popped up all over Glendale, naming the various districts within the city and bearing an image of the city seal, with a peacock in the center.

Councilman John Drayman, who suggested the signage, grew up in Montrose and remembered that neighborhoods then had designation signs.

“Each had a different design,” he said . “Crescenta Valley had mountains, Sparr Heights had lemons for the citrus industry. The signs all related to something in that neighborhood.”

In the 1970s, Drayman continued, the theory was that these signs divided the city, so they were taken down and sold at a city-run store in the new Glendale Galleria.


Drayman took office with a goal of redeveloping a sense of community and recalled the neighborhood signs of his youth.

“We tried to find the originals, but weren’t successful and there were no photographs, so we chose one design based on Glendale’s seal.” Many may not know that the peacock in the center of the seal was inspired by one of Glendale’s earliest entries in the Tournament of Roses Parade.

A city employee, L.W. Chobe, was then designing the floats. His entry for 1923, a “Peacock,” was a huge bird, 36 feet long with a tail that spread a full 9 feet. The peacock’s head towered 14 feet above the ground, according to the Glendale Evening News, Dec. 30, 1922. Some 10,000 blue cornflowers and 50 bunches of violets covered the breast of the colorful float, which garnered the city’s first Sweepstakes award.

The massive float became famous when Hollywood showman Sid Grauman saw it.

He was so impressed that he got the secretary of Glendale’s Chamber of Commerce on the phone — on New Year’s Day — and asked to display the float for two weeks at the Egyptian Court of Grauman’s Hollywood Theatre. The float left Glendale the next day, with assurances from Grauman that it would be kept decorated with fresh flowers.

The next year, the City Council held a contest to design the first flag of the rapidly growing city. The winning entry was by artist Hugh Maron, of Myrtle Street, who had adopted Glendale as his home five years before. Judges included representatives from the Tuesday Afternoon Club, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Women’s Auxiliary of the American Legion, and although he was unable to serve, float designer L.W. Chobe.

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