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Giant flag unfurled

Giant flag unfurled

June 25, 1976: Rancher Bob Older directs test unfurling of his giant flag before the official July 4th ceremony.

Times staff writer Charles Hillinger reported in a short story:

ORO GRANDE, Calif.–”It looks even bigger than I thought it would,” declared Bob Older as the mammoth flag unfurled.

Older, a 55-year-old rancher, wanted to do something special to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial. He came up with the idea of flying the largest American flag ever flown.

“I checked Guinness and every reference source I could lay hands on,” Older said. “I wrote to the Library of Congress.”

Older said he found that the largest ever flown was a 60- by 90-foot flag in New Jersey in 1947. A 209- by 110-foot American flag is being painted on the side of the Kennedy Space Center for the bicentennial. And a 104- by 235-foot flag has been draped over the side of a commercial building in Detroit. But Older’s 67- by 102-foot flag is the largest of those actually flown, Older says.

Older decided to fly his flag on a mountain at his Mojave Desert ranch 100 miles northeast of Los Angeles. Bowers Flag Co. in Culver City made the flag for $5,000. Older spent another $5,000 on huge poles, cables, a special winch and site preparations.

On Friday he hoisted the nylon flag for the first time with the help of his ranch hand and a half-dozen men from nearby George Air Force Base.

“Count the stripes. I’ve never see the flag before,” Older shouted, beaming with pride as the flag unfurled.

Friday, however, was just a test. The first official flag flying will be at 10 a.m. July 4.

The rancher has invited his neighbors for 100 miles around to come to the flag raising. An honor guard from George Air Force Base will be on hand as well as civic officials from 13 desert communities.

These two photos by staff photographer Bruce Cox accompanied Hillinger’s story on the June 28, 1976, Times local news section front.

The Guinness World Records website reports that the largest flag flown from a flagpole was a Mexican national flag measuring 112- by 196-feet on Dec. 2, 2011.

The World Flags 101 website reports that the largest flag ever flown was an American flag 255- by 505-feet hoisted on cables across Hoover Dam  to celebrate the 1996 Olympic Torch Relay.

June 25, 1976: Rancher Bob Older signals the winch operator while his 102- by 67-foot American flag is almost completely unfurled for the first time. Credit: Bruce Cox / Los Angeles Times

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1 Comment

  1. July 4, 2012, 11:34 am

    Brilliant photograph!

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