Montclarion March 25, 1970:
A FLAG FOR PIEDMONT-
Official city flag – at least temporarily - chosen by Piedmont city councilmen from an assortment submitted by Girl Scout Troop 1502. Leader Mrs. Rene Vande Carr Jr. received council approval to use this flag until a final design is agreed upon. Councilmen hinted that a city-wide contest might determine the winner which would then be made up professionally (paid for by the Girl Scouts) and carried in Piedmont's July 4 parade.
Piedmonter August 5, 1997:
Piedmonters are being asked to help decide whether the image of a thistle or the exedra should be depicted on a new city flag.
The current city flag is adorned with thistles, which was adopted as the official city emblem by the City Council in May 1970.
In honor of the city's 90th birthday, Mayor Craig Lundin proposed that the city create three new flags: one for the flagpole in front of the Veterans' Memorial
Building; one for the City Hall council chamber; and one for the Oakland-Piedmont-Emeryville Municipal Court.
The city flag that used to be displayed on one of the three poles in front of the Veterans' Memorial Building, along with the United States and California flags, became so shredded it hasn't been flown for several years. The city flag hanging in the City Hall council chamber has become very worn over time, said
city clerk Ann Swift.
Lundin says Judge Horace Wheatley, a Piedmont resident, has long been dismayed that there is not a Piedmont flag in his municipal courtroom.
"My predecessor Milt Kegley got the ball rolling and got the City Council thinking again about a city flag," said Lundin, adding that Kegley didn't care for the idea of a thistle.
"He referred to the rendering as looking as something like a pineapple, and I agree,” said Lundin.
Council Member Emile Labadie said he had a problem with the thistle design, but for another reason. "I have a 126-acre ranch up in Auburn," said Labacite, “and what I've been trying to eradicate for five years, unsuccessfully, is thistle.
"It's the bane of the existence of a farmer to have thistle," continued Labadie. "It's a weed. All my connotations of thistle are negative."
Council Member Al Peters pointed out that the image of the Piedmont Park exedra is on a patch that decorates the Piedmont police officers' uniforms. The exedra design also appears on the doors of the city's police cars.
“We are already informally using this design as a city symbol," said Peters, who added that he would prefer a rendition of the exedra on the flag.
The thistle symbol has deep roots in Piedmont, according to Swift, an active member of the Piedmont Historical Society. "We just had a Fourth of July
exhibit about the Requa family," said Swift, "and their home titled the Highlands. Highland Avenue was named in honor of the house."
During the 1920s, said Swift, when Piedmont High School was being built, residents were looking for a mascot and color for the
school. Both the name Highlanders, for PHS athletic teams, and the notion of Piedmont's Scottish tradition grew out of the Highlands name. Swift said that Sarah Requa, for whom the Highlands was built, was asked if her family were of Scottish extraction. Sarah denied it, saying they were American. A variety of thistle (Onopordum acanthium) is the national symbol of Scotland.
"It appears that the Highland theme just sort of went off and running,” said Swift, adding that the PHS Highlanders boast they "eat thistles for their lunch” when singing the school's fight song.
Purple was adopted as a school color, said Swift, because purple is the color of thistle flowers.
The designs under consideration were created by Piedmont firefighter Greg Taylor. Four or five designs were submitted; the two still under consideration (see illustrations) incorporate suggestions by council members.
Both the thistle design and the exedra design will be redrawn and then submitted to the public for comment. No decision will be
made before September..