History

The one thing that gets people’s attention is the 184-foot flagpole that stands up to sea level. The idea of the flagpole was first suggested during a Chamber of Commerce meeting. For the remaining time the flagpole would be kept an idea rather than coming to a possibility. One of the reason’s for that was the cost was too high. Then on the night of October 5, 1957 Calipatria’s pharmacist, Harry Momita and wife Helen were in a car accident while on their way to see their children in Los Angeles. Helen was killed instantly and Harry was sent to the hospital for some injuries and was there for more than two weeks. News had gotten around to Calipatria and the City Mayor, Edward Rademacher, took charge of the matter. Councilman Franklin Garrett and Chief of Police, John Beauchamp, visited Mr.Momita. They drove to the hospital to visit with Momita bringing back his keys to the pharmacy in order to keep his drug store open. With the help of fellow Calipatrian’s and a Brawley pharmacist they managed on doing so. The story behind Harry and Helen Momita was that they were Japanese Americans who had spent time in a relocation camp in Arizona, which was later picked up from the international press and radio that was given worldwide publicity. With the help of many fellows Calipatrian’s and other people outside the city, they donated money for flowers in honor of Helen’s memorial. When the mayor went to the hospital to see Harry he took the money to him. Harry was amazed by the kindness that was brought about from Calipatrian friends, neighbors, and customers. Harry felt that he had to give something back to the people in return. Harry then thought about taking into consideration the flagpole that had always been joked about. The thought of having a fund for the flagpole was then created into a "Build the Flagpole" campaign. Money came along free will offerings in the valley, yet was not enough to begin work. However, during a Chamber of Commerce dinner, discussion over dedication to Helen Momita was brought up, but Harry didn’t quite feel that way. He stated, "She was always a shy and gentle person." He felt that she would not like such a display. He then commented that it be dedicated to "Good Neighborliness." The fund grew but still there never seemed to be enough to get the work started even though the president of the Pacific Southwest Pipe Company, hearing the story, had written Calipatria’s Mayor, volunteering his company’s services in designing and building the monument, "happy to figure this job without profit." Then Harry soon appeared on "This Is Your Life" television show. Harry ended up winning a new car and got many gifts, the biggest of them all was Momita receiving $1000 in cash so that he could build Calipatria’s flagpole! Now Calipatria boasts of the tallest flagpole at sea level, flying Old Glory 184 feet high, and when the wind blows, which it often does in the Imperial Valley, there is no more beautiful sight than to see the beautiful colors of the Flag waving high above. It would bring a lump to your throat even if you did not know its story.

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Notice of Public Hearing

December 19th, 2017