When exploring Redwood City’s downtown you may spot something a bit intriguing. At the intersection of Broadway & Arguello Streets, next to the train station, sits a green arching sign which reads – “Redwood City Climate Best By Government Test.”
It's reflective of a period of time back in the early 1900s when the peninsula was growing rapidly. Local city fathers wanted to attract business and residents. San Mateo for example built an amusement park called Pacific City. It lasted but a few short years. San Carlos began calling itself “The City of Good Living.” Redwood City decided it needed something catchy.
So, in 1925 Redwood City’s Chamber of Commerce along with the Real Estate Board sponsored a contest to come up with a slogan that captured the flavor of the County Seat. Just under 80 entries were submitted. The winner was “By Government Test, Our Climate is Best.” Who came up with the winning entry? William Doxsee, who just happened to be Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce! When asked how he knew about Redwood City’s glorious climate, rumor has it his response was “I made it up!” Nonetheless, he was awarded the grand prize of $10 for the winning entry. Subsequent to the contest the phrase was shortened to “Climate Best By Government Test.”
A contract was issued to construct a sign proclaiming the catchy slogan. It was placed on the busy intersection of El Camino at Broadway. This is where Sequoia high school had recently opened a beautiful campus, which remains to this day. Over the ensuing decades, the sign was relocated more than once, and eventually, it was taken down.
In recent years Redwood City embarked on an ambitious project to revitalize what had become a decaying downtown. Included in the project are two smaller replicas of the famous sign which bookend Redwood City’s historic district. In addition to the one at Broadway & Arguello Streets, one is located at Broadway & Spring Streets. While Redwood City differs considerably from those bygone days, one thing remains unchanged: the Climate is Best By Government Test!
Everything else is just history
The photos used in this blog are courtesy of the Local History Room, Redwood City's best-kept secret. The Local History Collection covers all aspects of Redwood City's development, from the 1850s to the present day, with particular emphases on businesses, public schools, civic organizations, city agencies, and early family histories. The Local History Room is not affiliated with the Redwood City Public Library, but it is inside it.