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Palo Alto, California (U.S.)

Santa Clara County

Last modified: 2022-06-11 by rick wyatt
Keywords: palo alto | california | santa clara county |
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[flag of Palo Alto, California] image by Masao Okazaki, 13 August 2020
based on a photo provided by city government, 20 October 2016

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Description of the flag

The Palo Alto city flag was designed by a city employee and officially adopted by the City Council in 1967. The employee was Christa Gupton. The flag has the city seal on the middle band with a band of blue and green on either side. The seal includes El Palo Alto, the old redwood tree (more than 1000 years old) that is the symbol for both the city and Stanford University. The tree was spotted by Spanish explorers to California in the late 18th century, and was quite distinctive as it was a double-trunked tree out on the valley floor rather than in the hills where most of the coastal redwoods were to be found. One of the trunks fell sometime in the 1880s, a few years before the city and Stanford University were established. Further information is available at
Steve Staiger, 21 April 2005

At the city seal is in a circular format, but it is unusual in two respects: first, there is no external border around the circle; and second, there are not one but two outer rings surrounding the central image. The background color of the entire seal is gold, with the words 'CITY OF PALO ALTO' in blue block lettering at the top of the outermost circle, with the word 'CALIFORNIA' similarly written at its bottom. Within the outermost circle, at the 3 and 9 o'clock positions respectively, are two black five pointed stars. The middle ring contains the word 'INCORPORATED' at the top and an illegible date in miniscule black lettering at the bottom. The central image contains a redwood tree proper. A larger version of this seal can be found at .
Ron Lahav, 29 March 2005

The designer of the flag

I am the Christa that designed the City flag of Palo Alto during the time that George Morgan was the City Manager. At the time that I worked at City Hall, I was the receptionist and worked as the assistant to Mr. Wally Carroll. Because I had an art background, and the City did not have a flag, I designed the flag, purchased the fabric and sewed the flag by hand. At the time the media called me the 'Betsy Ross of Palo Alto'

Years later, I met one of the Astronauts who at the time lived in Palo Alto. He told me that he took numerous small Palo Alto flags, (VIP desk models) on his trip around the moon. He gave them as gifts when he returned from his mission. Great coincidence that we met back in the 80s.

Each color of the flag represents aspects of the City of Palo Alto. Green, represents the abundance of trees in the City. White, the City's bright future, Blue the good weather and climate, and Gold the wealth of education available to its citizens.
Christa Kaufmann, 14 December 2009

The seal

[City seal] image located by Paul Bassinson, 30 May 2019