California state flag with hand painted bear
c. 1850 - 1900
This early California state flag was produced by B. Pasquale & Co. which was established in San Francisco in 1854. The cloth lettering is machine stitched and the bear is hand painted. The California grizzly bear has been the central image on the California state seal and flag since 1849. Bears once dominated the landscape but have been extinct in California since the 1920s. This flag belonged to the Briones family, the first non-native settlers of Bolinas, and was donated by descendent Sharon Neal.