Where did Albert Lea’s logo come from?

Published 5:24 am Friday, January 14, 2022

Albert Lea’s city logo was adopted in 1977 and was created by former Mayor Marv Wangen, who was a cartoonist and owner of a graphics firm.

According to a March 1, 1977, article in the Albert Lea Tribune, Wangen began drawing ideas for a city logo in 1975.

“The design colors are supposed to convey the city’s scenic beauty in addition to being a stylized ‘A’ with an ‘L’ inside,” the article stated. “The water below represents the city lakes. … The triangle can also be seen as a sailboat.”

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Wangen served on the Albert Lea City Council from 1975 to 1991 and as the city’s mayor from 1991 to 2000. He died in 2002.

According to an Aug. 29, 2010, Tribune article, Wangen began cartooning as a preschooler by trying to copy comic strip characters. While in the U.S. Army at a base in New Mexico, he created a cartoon series for the base newspaper. One of his cartoons won the Department of Defense Cartoon of the Month award in a competition with other American military newspapers across the world.

In Albert Lea, he was known for his large cartoon drawings of various stories and nursery rhymes at the former Story Lady Doll and Toy Museum in Albert Lea, which were later turned into a coloring book. He also created cartoons for other purposes, both as a hobby and as part of his graphic arts and advertising business.

“His best-known artistic creation is likely the blue, white and green sailboat design used as Albert Lea’s official emblem,” the article stated.

As part of the discussions on what to paint on the city’s new water tower downtown, the City Council this week also began  discussions on whether to rebrand the city’s logo.