The official State Seal was adopted on 3 April 1896. The
seal was, according to the most accurate accounts designed
by Harry Emmett Edwards. Edwards was born in Ottawa, Canada
in about the year 1862, and lived in Chicago for three
years before moving to Utah in about 1893. After moving
to Utah he worked as a bartender and also for a bank.
He reportedly had no formal art training, but was a member
of the National Society of Artists. How he came to design
the seal is not know. He joined the Argenta Chapter of
the Masonic Lodge on 3 November 1897 and he listed his
occupation as "artist." He left Utah in about
1898 for the Klondike where he supposedly accumulated
a fortune but lost it all in a fire. He died 24 January
1930 in California.
The seal is described in the Utah Code 1953 67-2-9: "The
great seal of the state of Utah shall be two and one-half
inches in diameter, and of the following device: The center
a shield and perched thereon an American eagle with outstretching
wings; the top of the shield pierced by six arrows crosswise;
under the arrows the motto "Industry"; beneath
the motto a beehive the figures '1847' and on each side
of the shield an American flag; encircling all, near the
outer edge of the seal, beginning at the lower left-hand
portion, the words "The Great Seal of the State of
Utah," with the figures "1896" at the base.
The Sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii) was made
the official State Plant of Utah on 18 March 1911 when
Senate Bill 225 was signed into law by Governor William
Spry. The bill was introduced by William N. Williams after
a census was taken of the state's schoolchildren, as to
their preference for a state flower. The sego lily grows
six to eight inches high on open grass and sage rangelands
during the summer months in the Great Basin. This member
of the Mariposa family typifies lilies, with its sepals,
petals, and stamens in combinations of three, and ivory-colored
petals which may be tinted from yellow to pink. A horizontal
bar of darker color crosses the base of each petal within
the flower cup. The flower is important to Utah not only
for its beauty, but because the bulbs were eaten by the
early Mormons settlers during their first year in the
area, when food was scarce. The bulb, which is walnut-sized,
was also eaten by the Indians before the Mormon settlers
turned to it for sustenance, and serves today as food
for rodents and other animals.
The Utah State Flag, as we know it, was made the official
flag of Utah when Governor William Spry signed House Joint
Resolution 1 in 1913. The original state flag was presented
to Governor Heber M. Wells in 1903 by the Utah State Society
Daughters of the Revolution. According to the organizations's
minutes, Governor Wells asked the group to make a state
flag. It was made out of Utah silk and embroidered by
Agnes Teudt Fernelius. Each member of the USDR contributed
one dollar to help pay for the flag. On 16 October 1903
it was reported at their meeting "that a mistake
had been made in drawing the seal of our state on the
flag which had been presented to the Governor of Utah
in May last. The matter was then discussed at length after
which a print of the state seal was examined to see where
corrections should be made." It was found that "the
flag made by Our Society which had been presented to and
accepted by the Governor and his staff was in reality
only the Governor's regimental flag. A state flag would
in compliance with an act of the State legislature have
to be made under direction of or by approval of said legislature."
They then took the flag to H.L.A. Culmer, a local artist,
who drew in the state seal, which was then embroidered.
This flag was used until 1913. In 1912 a second flag was
made by the Sons and Daughters of Utah Pioneers to be
presented to the battleship Utah. It was made by
an eastern firm, and when it arrived it was found that
it had a gold circle around the design. Through the efforts
of Annie Wells Cannon the new flag was adopted by the
State Legislature. According to Utah Code (63-13-5): "The
state flag of Utah shall be a flag of blue field, fringed,
with gold borders, with the following device worked in
natural colors on the center of the blue field: The center
a shield; above the shield and thereon an American eagle
with outstretched wings; the top of the shield pierced
with six arrows arranged crosswise; upon the shield under
the arrows the word 'Industry,' and below the word "Industry"
on the center of the shield, a beehive; on each side of
the beehive, growing sego lilies; below the beehive and
near the bottom of the shield, the word 'Utah,' and below
the word 'Utah' and on the bottom of the shield, the figures
'1847'; with the appearance of being back on the shield
there shall be two American flags on flagstaffs placed
crosswise with the flag so draped that they will project
beyond each side of the shield, the heads of the flagstaffs
appearing in front of the eagle's wings and the bottom
of each staff appearing over the face of the draped flag
below the shield; below the shield and flags and upon
the blue field, the figures '1896'; around the entire
design, a narrow circle of gold.
The blue spruce (Picea pungens) was chosen by the
Utah State Legislature on 20 February 1933 to be the official
Utah State tree. Adoption of the blue spruce as Utah's
official tree was made in record time after the bill,
sponsored by the Utah Federation of Women's Clubs, had
been introduced with the urgent request that it be passed
before the Colorado legislature could pass a similar bill
making the blue spruce that state's official tree. While
the blue spruce is not plentiful in Utah, it is found
in the Wasatch and Uinta mountains at elevations between
6,000 to 11,000 feet. It can be transplanted successfully
and is widely used as an ornamental tree. It's foliage
is generally silvery blue in color, and the tree has the
ability to withstand temperature extremes and drought.
The blue spruce is not a large tree: it ranges from eight
to one hundred feet in height and grows to two feet in
diameter. Under optimum conditions, a blue spruce may
reach a maximum of 150 feet in height and four feet in
diameter. The brittle and knotty wood of the tree is of
little commercial value. The chief use of the tree is
for ornamental landscaping of homes, schools, and public
"Utah We Love Thee" was first selected as the
official state song in 1917 when Senate Joint Resolution
4 was signed by Governor Simon Bamberger. "Utah We
Love Thee" was written in 1895 by Evan Stephens to
be sung at the inauguration exercises when Utah became
a State on 6 January 1896 after Utah became a state. Evan
Stephens was born 29 June 1854 in Pencader, South Wales
and emigrated to Utah with his parents in 1866. A competent
musician he was asked to be the chairman of the music
committee for the statehood program.
UTAH WE LOVE THEE
by Evan Stephens
Land of the mountains high, Utah, we love thee!
Land of the sunny sky, Utah, we love thee!
Far in the glorious west, Throned on the mountain's crest,
In robes of statehood dressed, Utah, we love thee!
Columbia's newest star, Utah, we love thee!
Thy lustre shines afar, Utah, we love thee!
Bright in our banner's blue, Among her sisters true,
She proudly comes to view, Utah, we love thee!
Land of the Pioneers, Utah, we love thee!
Grow with the coming years, Utah, we love thee!
With wealth and peace in store, To fame and glory soar,
Godguarded evermore, Utah, we love thee!
The California gull (Larus californicus) was made
the official State Bird of Utah on 14 February 1955 when
House Bill 51 was signed into law by Governor J. Bracken
Lee. The bill was introduced by Richard C. Howe. The gull
was protected under Utah statute as it is an insectivorous
bird (feeds on insects). It also was credited with saving
the pioneer crops from complete destruction in the summer
of 1848. Masses of crickets descended on the pioneers
first crops and the threat of disaster was thwarted by
seagulls which swooped in from the Great Salt Lake and
ate the crickets. Often found in the interior regions,
the California gull breeds on inland lakes from Canada
south to Mono Lake, California, Great Salt Lake, Utah,
and Yellowstone Lake, Wyoming. It winters along the Pacific
Coast and inland in Utah, Oregon and California. The mature
California gull grows from twenty to twenty-three inches
in length and has greenish yellow feet, a medium gray
mantle, and a gray mantle, and a bill with a orange spot
near the tip of the lower mandible. The outer primaries
are black, tipped with white, the first two with subterminal
"Industry" became the official state motto on
4 March 1959 when Governor George Dewey Clyde signed House
Bill Number 35. The word is associated with the symbol
of the beehive. The early pioneers had few material resources
at their disposal and therefore had to rely on their own
"industry" to survive. The word "industry"
appears on both the state seal and the state flag.
The beehive (skep) became the official state emblem on
4 March 1959 when Governor George D. Clyde signed House
Bill Number 34. The beehive is one of the most enduring
Mormon symbols, as it was mentioned in the Book of
Mormon: "And they did also carry with them deseret,
which by interpretation, is a honey bee; and thus they
did carry with them swarms of bees" (Ether 2:3) The
word "deseret" also has become associated with
the beehive symbol. Utahns relate the beehive symbol to
industry and the pioneer virtues of thrift and perseverance.
The beehive, or skep, was chosen as emblem for the state
of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained on the seal of the
state of Utah in 1896. Utah is nicknamed the "Beehive
The topaz became the official state gem for Utah on 4
February 1969 when Governor Calvin L. Rampton signed House
Bill 6 into law. The sparkling little crystals were formed
in the gray rhyolite cliffs of Topaz Mountain in the Thomas
Mountain Range in Juab County thousands of years ago.
Golden or light brown in color, Topaz crystals are found
in pockets in the rocks, and usually turn colorless after
exposure to sunlight. The Utah topaz have little commercial
value, but are sought after by collectors as specimens.
The elk (Cervus canadensis) was made the official
state animal on 1 February 1971 when Governor Calvin L.
Rampton signed Senate Bill 18. The elk is a one hoofed
mammal that has antlers, which are shed each year. The
females are smaller than the males, and lack antlers.
The elk once roamed widely, but are today are primarily
mountain dwellers during the summers; they winter in the
valleys, eating grass, leaves and twigs. The bull elk
averages six feet in height, nine feet in length and may
weigh as much as 750 pounds. In summer the elk are a light
brown, with darker head and limbs, and a buff colored
rump, with short hair and a slight mane. An elk calf is
primarily brown with light spots till early fall of its
The rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) became the
official state fish on 1 February 1971 when Governor Calvin
L. Rampton signed Senate Bill 19. An important game fish,
the rainbow trout is not native to Utah but is indigenous
to those waters which flow into the Pacific Ocean from
Alaska to northern Mexico. Rainbow trout usually weigh
from one to four pounds, averaging two pounds in Utah.
Smaller rainbow trout feed primarily on insects while
the larger trout feed on small fish. The rainbow trout
is olive to greenish-blue in color on top and silver on
the bottom; it has a prominent red or pink streak along
each side, along with distinct black or brown spots.
Rainbow trout thrive in lakes and streams below 7,000
feet. In Utah, as in other parts of the United States,
the rainbow trout are stocked on a put-and-take basis.
That is, the fish which are stocked, rather than the offspring,
are the ones caught by the angler. The number of rainbow
trout in a stream is determined by the capacity of the
hatcheries, funds available, and the fishing pressure
to which they are subjected.
The honey bee (Apis mellifera) was made the official
insect for Utah when Governor Scott M. Matheson signed
Senate Bill 216 into law on 16 March 1983. The bill was
introduced by Senator Fred W. Finlinson from Salt Lake
County because of the lobbying effort of the fifth grade
class at Ridgecrest Elementary School in Salt Lake County.
The lobbying effort was conducted as a class study project
on the insect and how government works.
Utah was first called by its Mormon settlers the "Provisional
State of Deseret," a name derived from the Book
of Mormon word meaning honey bee. The insect has continued
to be honored as a symbol of industry and cooperation
as well as for the honey it produces.
The dinosaur Allosaurus was chosen the official State
fossil by the 1988 State Legislature. Senator Omar Bunnell
introduced the bill on behalf of the Utah Museum of Natural
History. The Allosaurus is a species of the late Jurassic
period that on the average weighed four tons, measured
thirty-five feet long, and stood seventeen feet high on
two huge hind legs, with a long tail for balance. The
Allosaurus was chosen as the official state fossil because
more Allosaurus specimens had been found in Utah's two
main quarries than any other dinosaur and because the
Allosaurus for years had been known to Utah's schoolchildren
and scientists for years as the "unofficial"
Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) was officially
recognized as the State Grass on 13 March 1990. It was
proposed by Senator Alarik Myrin of Altamont for the Utah
Range Society. Indian ricegrass is a densely tufted, native,
perennial bunchgrass, which is widely distributed over
the western states. Its plump, milletlike seeds are round,
black, tipped with a short awn, and densely covered with
conspicuous white hairs. Ricegrass grows from one to two
feet in height and has slender leaves.
Indian ricegrass grows mainly in dry sandy soil and is
often found on sand dunes. It is drought-resistant and
somewhat tolerant of alkaline soil. Overgrazing has eliminated
much of the grass, but it is still found in abundance
in some ungrazed areas. It is sought after by ranchers
for winter fed for their animals. The location of the
grass is often erratic, but with a wet season a good crop
of seed can be expected. The seed can be harvested with
a combine and cleaned in a hammer mill to remove the silky
hairs from the seed coats. About 140,000 seeds make a
Coal was officially recognized as the State Rock on 13
March 1991. It was proposed by Representative Mike Dmitrich
of Price as a result of a school project in Carbon County.
Coal is a black or brown rock that can be ignited and
burned to produce heat energy. Coal-burning power plants
supply about half of the electricity used in the United
States. Utah has eighteen recognized coal fields (in as
many counties); they contain an estimated 39 billion tons
of coal. Nearly all of Utah's coal must be obtained from
underground mines. The Book Cliffs, Wasatch Plateau and
Kaiparowits coal fields are the three most important in
the state. Most Utah coal is of bituminous rank (soft
coal) and relatively high in potential heat productions