Council Votes on Historic Orinda Sign

Tamar McCollom

Tamar McCollom

After years of searching for a proper home, the Orinda sign returns to its original location

Recently, the Orinda City Council voted 4-1 to place the historic Orinda sign in the landscape triangle in the Orinda Way-Camino Sobrante intersection.

However, debate continues amongst residents over the color of the sign.

The Orinda sign dates back to 1923 when it was placed at the Mitchell Austin Real Estate Office, which was located in the landscape triangle at the Orinda Way-Camino Sobrante intersection.

The historic Orinda sign was taken down decades later when the building was being knocked down in order to build the Orinda Country Club golf course.

The historic Orinda sign went on to become an important symbol for Orinda’s successful incorporation run in 1985.

Bobbie Landers painted the sign British racing green, which according to Lucy Hupp Williams, President of the Orinda Historical Society, is the signature color of Orinda.

After incorporation, the sign was stored under the stage at the Orinda Community Center for years.

At the Nov. 29, 2010 Orinda City Council meeting, the Council voted in favor of placing the sign at its historical location at the landscape triangle at the Orinda Way-Camino Sobrante intersection.

“It was the closest property to its original location, and they chose to place it on city property, not private property,” said Hupp Williams.

At a recent city council meeting, concerns over the color of the Orinda sign were also brought up.

“The sign was painted ‘Orinda Country Club green’ and the sign, while relevant in the 1940’s or 1950’s, is unsophisticated in today’s neighborhood,” said Orinda resident Andrea Restrepo.

Heather Dunne, President of the Orinda Garden Club, also commented on the color of the sign.

“The sign is currently a funny green color,” said Dunne.

Dunne went on to suggest “a color similar to a metallic brown that would blend in with the area and may be less objectionable.”

Many Orinda residents including Hupp Williams continue to support the original British racing green color of the sign.

“The color of the sign is our flagship color. It was used during the call for incorporation, and it’s what the sign has been most of its life,” said Hupp Williams.

The motion to approve the installation of the historic Orinda sign in the landscape triangle in the Orinda Way-Camino Sobrante intersection was passed with the understanding that the issues of the installation and the color would be considered by the Historic Landmark Committee, Public Works Aesthetics Review Committee, and ultimately the City Council.

“It was a great day as individuals have been trying to find an appropriate location for the sign for some time,” said Carl Weber, a member of the City’s Historic Landmark Committee.