Gaston has logo, 100 years after founding


New city seal will adorn letterhead and patrol car

The city of Gaston was incorporated on Dec. 7, 1911. But in the century that has passed since that date, it's never had a city seal or official logo.

Washington County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Hedin, a Gaston native, set out to change that.

Hedin, along with Gaston City Recorder Margaret Bell, launched a contest this school year for kids in the Gaston School District to try their hands at designing a logo for the city.

"We thought, "'What better way to get the community involvement than put it out as a contest and put it out to the school district?'" Hedin said.

The Gaston City Council reviewed 40 entrants from high schoolers and 24 entrants from first- and second-graders. In the end, they chose a design by Gaston senior Kevin COURTESY PHOTO - Kevin Reynolds (right, center) holds the seal that he designed for the city of Gaston (left) with Washington County Sheriffs Deputy Steve Hedin and Margaret Bell, Gaston city recorder.

"It seemed to encompass the whole community that Gaston is," Bell said of the winning entry. "The hills, the farmland around us, our little city. It was just kind of a nice all-encompassing design."

The city council had a couple tweaks.

First, they added grape vines around the outer edge of the seal, where Reynolds had decorative scrollwork. Then, they changed the bird that Reynolds had included to a red-tailed hawk, a raptor that can often be seen flying overhead the small Washington County city.

In May, the city council signed off on the final design, which was then translated into an electronic file format by a graphic designer working for Washington County.

Hedin said he plans to put the logo on the patrol car he uses to cruise the city (Gaston has no police department, but instead contracts with the county sheriff's office for police services).

The logo also will hang in City Hall, be featured on the city letterhead and adorn school district buildings, Bell said.

Hedin spoke with pride of the effort to involve the community's youngsters in an effort to make an image for the city.

"I grew up here and went to high school and all that," Hedin said.

During his rounds as the city's lone patrol officer, he said he spends as much time getting to know people as he does laying down the law - a true exercise in community policing.

"I get along with everybody," Hedin said.

Along with the prestige of having his logo adorn Hedin's patrol car, Reynolds was also awarded a $100 scholarship. He graduated from Gaston High in June and plans to attend school for graphic design or game design.

Julie Dexter, Reynolds' art teacher at Gaston High, said Reynolds, a star athlete and artist, followed themes that were shared among all the submissions: patchwork fields, rural splendor and the hills behind the small city.

"It was kind of refreshing to have the kids kind of think about what is beautiful and sets us apart from other towns," Dexter said.