If you drive east on the 134 freeway past Glendale toward the 2 freeway interchange, you will see an exit sign that points to “Harvey Dr.” Under those letters is a single word—“Eagle,” with the “Rock” curiously missing. (See photo.)
If you look carefully (traffic is notoriously fast and erratic here) you will notice that the latter half of our neighborhood’s name has been painted out and obscured.
Late last month, I brought this to the attention of Eagle Rock’s unofficial mayor, Michael Nogueira, a prominent local entrepreneur who heads the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce and is the vice president of the Eagle Rock Neighborhood Council.
It was early morning and I had a rendezvous with Nogueira on Harvey Drive, which lies on the northwestern periphery of Eagle Rock, near the 2 freeway.
“We’ll have to contact DOT,” said Nogueira, looking concerned, and referring to the Department of Transportation. “They’re the ones responsible for freeway signs.”
Chances are you haven’t noticed this peculiar sign—Nogueira hadn’t, for example—unless you drive regularly along that particular stretch of the freeway.
If you drive past the sign going north on the 2 freeway, you will see a gigantic, green flag with a thick golden stripe at the top, fluttering in the wind to your left, directly next to a Stars and Stripes.
Look closely and you’ll notice that the flag depicts a soaring eagle and the words “Eagle Rock” splashed in large white letters across it.
A flag of—and for—Eagle Rock? Did you know such a thing exists some 90 years after Eagle Rock ceased to be a city?
Turns out that not only does Eagle Rock have its own flag but that, according to Nogueira, it’s the only community in all of Los Angeles to have its own flag.
Nogueira, who put up a new flag that morning to replace an older one damaged by winds (see video) explains how that happened.
As he tells it, Eagle Rock made a deal with city authorities some eight years ago to allow three cell phone towers to be erected off Harvey Drive on the condition that the community be allowed to fly its flag atop one of the towers.
(The cell phone companies wanted to build towers that resemble fake pine trees, but community leaders lobbied for towers that look like flag poles, according to Nogueira.)
The deal was evidently orchestrated by City Councilmember Nick Pacheco, the predecessor to Councilmember José Huizar, around the time Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa took office.
And so it is that the flag of Eagle Rock flies atop a cell phone tower that belongs to Verizon. The cell phone company responsible for maintaining the U.S. flag is AT&T, according to Nogueira. The third tower, owned by Nextel, is supposed to manage a California flag, which is conspicuously absent.
Here’s another bit of trivia you probably didn’t know: The Eagle Rock flag—each flag is 15 feet by 25 feet and has a life of roughly three years—costs a packet. Can you guess approximately how much a single flag costs? Tell us in the Comments section below.