Last modified: 2021-12-04 by rick wyatt
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image by Jens Pattke, 3 July 2014
Municipal flag visible in this photograph: www.texastone.com/municipalities/img_frisco_city_hall_1.jpg
City logo on a white bedsheet, with city motto in black, below: PROGRESS IN MOTION
Logo detail here (which is essentially the flag itself): cdn2-b.examiner.com/sites/default/files/styles/image_content_width/hash/a8/64/a8649a740000978392e406567a0c52c2.JPG?itok=wdiqaP4c
Dave Fowler, 3 July 2014
"February 28, 2012 By The Directive [my edit; no stated author]
Chance encounters: A history of the Frisco Railroad name and logo
Frisco logo and raccoon skin inspiration
Like many, we always assumed that “Frisco,” the nickname out-of-towner’s often use for our fair city of San Francisco, was derived from “Francisco.” We were wrong. Here is the great story of the origins of the Frisco Railroad name and logo, a railroad that operated in the Midwest and South Central U.S. from 1876 to 1980. It is taken from 100 Years of Service, a booklet produced by the railroad in 1960 on the occasion of its centennial (the precursors of the Frisco Railroad began operating in 1860):
Few employees of the Frisco Railroad are acquainted with the history of the Frisco emblem or insignia which appears on timetables, advertising material, annual reports, calendars, etc., and is used by Employee Clubs on the railroad in making up their yearbooks.Zachary Harden, 3 October 2021
Several years ago a pageant was given at Springfield, Mo., which told the history of that city on Frisco Lines, and after much research the story of how the Frisco emblem came into being, was uncovered. The story is authentic, and was compiled by Miss Eula Mae Stratton, employed in the Springfield General Office.
Before the turn of the century, so the old timers say, Mr. G.H. Nettleton, then Vice-President of the railroad (which was then known as the old KCM&B) was making an inspection tour of the system. The train pulled into the station of Neosho, Mo., (some old timers say it was Carthage, but most historians say it was Neosho), with the private car stopping in view of the west end of the depot building on which was tacked a coon hide to dry. When Mr. Nettleton saw the coon hide, he immediately summoned the agent (Sam Albright, so the story goes)…to the business car.
“What’s that thing tacked onto the depot?” roared the Vice-President…”and just why are we using company property for tanning hides?”
We are told that Sam, not a soft-spoken man anyway, and a very busy railroader, told the Vice-President that it was hard to support a family on the $1.25 per ten hour day railroading, and that he was catching, tanning and selling coon hides to supplement his salary.
“Don’t you know railroading comes first?” said the Vice-President, and then to Sam’s surprise the Vice-President grinned and said…”Well, having a hobby is OK. How much will you take for that coon skin?” The story goes that Sam was so startled that he blurted out…”Two bucks.” And the deal was closed, leaving Sam in wonderment as to what on earth the official wanted with the pelt. But it was not long afterward until an ink outline of the tightly stretched coon hide began to appear on Frisco drawing boards in the General Office Drafting Room in St. Louis, but instead of hanging up-and-down, the hide was turned horizontally.
Since the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway is made up of a number of smaller roads, some of which were — the old Southwest Branch, the Pacific Railroad, the KCM&B and others, with General Offices in St. Louis (and at one time before the Civil War the Frisco and Santa Fe operated jointly into San Francisco, Calif) it was only logical to combine the “F R” from Francisco,…the “I S” from the latter part of St. Louis, and the “C O” for Company, which produced…F R I S C O [which was] inserted inside the coon skin outline.
Early in 1900 many documents carried the emblem and in 1904, the time cards came out with the now well known cut. The emblem is the pride of all Frisco employees, as it stands for service to shippers and passengers in the nine state territory. (The original coon skin from which the emblem was visualized, is now in a frame in the General Office Building in St. Louis, Mo.)
We were amazed to discover how an iconic logo shape was derived from a stretched raccoon skin discovered by chance on, naturally, a railroad journey. It’s a great example of how you never know exactly when and where inspiration will strike, and how something that might appear to be a “throwaway” or even actively marring your brand presentation just might possibly lead you to something very important. And like all great brands, this one keeps on giving, long after its “death.”
And while the Railroad itself may be gone, the name and logo live on in the town of Frisco, Texas, a rapidly growing suburb of Dallas, named after the railroad that birthed it long ago.
image located by Paul Bassinson, 31 December 2019
Paul Bassinson, 31 December 2019