May 27, 2018
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Historical Society remembers original seal-2009

By: Irene Hilsendager
April 20, 2018
Did you know?

Tim Danesi recently hung the rug, crafted in 1987 by “J. Murray” on the wall of temporary digs for the Historical Society. Even though the city has provided only short- term storage, Danesi wanted to hang art pieces to allow them to dry out and be cataloged.

For over 40 years, the original Rohnert Park seal verified city documents, adorned city vehicles and created a unifying vision for a new community.

Let’s examine its historic meaning. One can find a circle with a small sprouted seed at its base, with a tall shoot topped by an “R”., remembering the early Rohnert Seed Farm origins (1929-56).

In the lower left quadrant is written “Business,” with a warehouse and farm tractor in view, representing the old and new. On the lower right is “Industry,” with one man and woman, symbolizing the ready and able labor pool to be found here.

The church with a steeple found in the upper right is the section that created the most stir and led one atheist to force the city to change its design. But for Paul Golis, such a symbol would have been an honest representation. He believed that churches (now numbering 30 in the city limits) were the solid foundation of any town. He even tried to recruit a Bible College to build on the now SSU site, but they turned him down, due to “lack of supporting population.”

On the upper left is the symbol for which Paul Golis and Maurice Fredericks would be most proud. 

Each neighborhood of 200-250 homes centered on a ten-acre school site and a five-acre park with swimming pool. “No child would have to walk more than one third mile to school,” they promised. Business and industry would be able to support the entire community and the town would become a “country club for the working class.”

According to retired Mayor Vern Smith, the council worked a long time on the seal to make it represent a city where “all were included” … those from any culture or career would find opportunities here. When the motif was completed in 1962, Vern took it to Mohawk Printing in San Francisco, near where he worked at that time, to be made into official rubber stamps.

Vern and other early leaders are disappointed in the demise of the original city seal for official use. 

In one small log, the town’s vision was fairly well recorded. One cannot say the same for the new emblem, now totally devoid of human life.


Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove