May 30, 2018
South Dakota’s name is derived from the Sioux word “Dakota”, meaning friend. South Dakota became a state on November 2, 1889 after President James Buchanan signed a bill creating the Dakota territory to make both North and South Dakota. Both states were admitted to the Union on the same day. In addition to North and South Dakota, both Montana and Wyoming were also in the Dakota Territory.
South Dakota’s state flag is a light blue color with the state seal placed in the center. Around the state seal is a yellow sun, shining its rays around the seal. Around the sun and the state seal are the words South Dakota and The Mount Rushmore State., as the state is home to Mount Rushmore, one of the most well-known monuments in the world. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln are carved (by drill) in a batholith in the Black Hills of Keystone, South Dakota. The monument took over six and a half years to complete, with construction ending in 1941. The monument attracts over 2 million visitors each year.
Along with Mount Rushmore, South Dakota is also home to the Badlands National Park. The park is a mixed-grass prairie and is the largest protected mixed-grass prairie there is. In this national park are wildlife ranging from bison to butterflies, along with fossils teaching about flora and fauna in prehistoric times. Tourists are able to bicycle, hike, and camp in the Badlands.
April 24, 2017
North Dakota became the 39th US State on November 2, 1889 when President Benjamin Harrison signed a bill creating the Dakota Territory. Around the end of the 1870s, people wanted the Dakota Territory to enter Union as both a single state and as two states. The Dakota Territory successfully became North and South Dakota in 1889.
North Dakota’s state flag was adopted in 1911, about 22 years after the state’s admission into the Union. The flag was introduced by Colonel John. H. Fraine. The state flag is a dark blue with bald eagle in the center, holding an olive branch in its right talon and arrows in its left talon. The eagle is grasping a gold lined red ribbon in its beak, which reads E Pluribus Unum, which is Latin for “Out of one, many”. There are two symbols of the original thirteen territories on this flag: one is a shield of thirteen stripes on the eagle’s chest and thirteen yellow stars above its head, with a fan shaped design above the stars. Underneath the eagle is a small red scroll which says “North Dakota” and yellow scrolls swirling outside of it. In 1951, a state flag commission had been established to consider changing the state flag because it “too closely resembled the coat of arms of the United States of America and that the flag was not symbolic of North Dakota”. However, the legislation was rejected.
State Flower: While North Dakota’s state flower is the Prairie Rose, the state actually grows the most sunflowers than any other state.
Theodore Roosevelt: The 26th President of the United States was very important to the state of North Dakota. He spent some of his younger years in the state and helped found the national park system. In fact, there is a national park named after him that was established in 1978.
October 31, 2016
Nevada is the 36th state to enter the union. Since its entry, the state has had several variations of their state flag. Nevada had a previous state flag was blue, had thirty six stars on it, and had the words “Silver” and “Gold” emblazoned on it, to reflect their most famous resources. The flag underwent several changes until 1926 when a contest was held to design a brand new state flag since the previous version was too expensive to reproduce. The winner was Louis Schellbach III, who kept the blue background of the original flag but the previous use of the state’s coat of arms was now replaced by a wreath
Although Nevada’s current state flag was adopted on March 26, 1929, it was later revised on June 8, 1991. The current Nevada flag is still cobalt blue with a white five pointed star off to the left hand side. In between the star are two sagebrushes, forming a half-wreath. Underneath the star reads “Nevada”, and above is a golden ribbon that says, “Battle Born”, the state’s motto, which symbolizes the birth of statehood in Nevada.
Nevada is well known for their famous tourist cities like Las Vegas, Reno, and Laughlin. Las Vegas is possibly the most popular city with over 40 million visitors each year. The city is home to casinos that never close and shows like Cirque du Soleil and singers who perform shows regularly in the casinos. The Vegas strip runs for 4 and a half miles and is nothing but neon lights throughout.
The Hoover Dam is also home to Nevada, located just on the border of Arizona and Nevada. The dam was originally called Boulder Dam and was built during the Great Depression. Naming the dam was controversial, since the name was changed to Hoover Dam before and then changed back to Boulder Dam (thanks to Harold Ickes) before it was changed once again to Hoover Dam for good. It was indeed named for 31st President Herbert Hoover.
Name: Nevada was named after the mountain range, the Sierra Nevada. The name Nevada means “snow covered” but unfortunately, the state is the driest in the nation!
August 15, 2016
West Virginia became the 35th state in the Union after President Abraham Lincoln signed a proclamation on April 20, 1863, although the proclamation would not become effective for another sixty days. This was after the people of Virginia seceded from the Union in 1840. The ones who opposed formed their own government and this formed the state of West Virginia. This is the only state to be proclaimed with a Presidential Proclamation.
West Virginia’s state flag is white with a navy blue border surrounding it. In the center is the coat of arms of West Virginia, while a wreath of rhododendron (the state flower) is on the lower half of the coat of arms. Above it is a red ribbon, reading the words “State of West Virginia”. Inside the coat of arms stands two men and in between them is a rock which has the date of West Virginia’s admission (June 20, 1863) inscribed and the state’s motto, Montani Semper Liberi, meaning “Mountaineers are always free”.
West Virginia adopted its state flag on March 7, 1929 by Senate Joint Resolution Number 18, which was approved by the Legislature. The proportions of the West Virginia state flag are the same as the United States national flag.
While coal was West Virginia’s biggest industry for years, tourism is now their biggest industry, placing coal in second. People visit popular attractions like the Harpers Ferry National Historical Park, Seneca Caverns, and New River (which is ironically one of the oldest rivers in the world).
July 1, 2016
Kansas joined the Union as the 34th state on January 29, 1861. The Civil War had started the year the state entered the Union and while they were a new state, they were the state who had suffered the most casualties from the war compared to any other state.
Kansas’ state flag was adopted on May 21, 1927. It had been flown at Fort Riley for the first time to honor the troops and the Kansas National Guard. The flag is a navy blue and has the state seal emblazoned in the middle. This seal depicts the rising sun in the East while life, of covered wagons, livestock, and farming, go on in the left hand corner and below. In the sky are 34 stars, each symbolizing a state at the time the seal was created during Kansas’ entry into the Union. Above the stars is a gold ribbon, reading Ad Astra Per Aspera, the state’s motto, meaning “to the stars through difficulties”. Underneath the state seal is the word “Kansas” in yellow and atop the seal is a sunflower sitting on a twisted blue and gold bar. This bar is said to symbolize the Louisiana Purchase in which the land Kansas was in was also acquired from. The sunflower is also Kansas’ state flower.
Sunflower State/Wild Sunflower: As one can see on the state flag, the state’s official flower is the sunflower. They were growing before the land even became a state, and explorers marveled at the beauty of the golden petals. Early on, their stalks were burned for fuel and the seeds had been fed to birds. It was sadly thought of as a “noxious weed” by people who disliked the flower but was still loved by many residents of Kansas. The flower grows native to the state’s soil and many life forms, like bees and butterflies, thrive on sunflowers. Their seeds also make a very tasty snack!
Along with Sunflowers, wheat is a very big commodity in the state. Large amounts of wheat grow (enough to provide everyone in the world with at least six loaves of bread!) but the wheat harvest is very short! From early June to the first part of July, according to the Kansas Wheat Commission.
Kansas is also known for the well-known film Wizard of Oz (1939) in which the first part of the film takes place in Kansas. In Liberal, Kansas, there is a replica of Dorothy’s house known as Dorothy’s House and Land of Oz!
May 25, 2016
Oregon is well known for the Oregon Trail which occurred in the 1840s and was about 2,200 miles long. It was a journey from Missouri to Oregon and other points west such as California (due to the gold rush going on at the time), and the settlers took the journey due to tough economic times. They traveled by covered wagon (first use of them was in 1836). The journey was successful, and more people came to Oregon in hopes of better land and promising futures. By 1846, the British handed power of Oregon over to the United States. Oregon obtained statehood on February 14, 1859.
Oregon’s state flag was adopted in 1925 and is the only state flag with different images on reverse sides of the flag. The flag is navy blue along with a gold shield on one side and a gold beaver sitting on a log on the other. On the side with the shield reads “State of Oregon” in large letters above the shield with 33 stars surrounding the shield. Inside the shield is a sunset over an ocean (Pacific), forests, mountains, and a covered wagon. On the sea are two ships, a British Man-of-War and an American trade ship. The British ship is departing and the American ship is arriving, symbolizing the claim of land by the UK and the USA at the same time and also America’s rising power in the West. Sitting atop of the shield is a bald eagle and underneath are the numbers “1859”, the year Oregon was admitted to the union as the 33rd state.
State Nickname: Because of the beaver on the opposite side of the flag, Oregon’s nickname is, of course, the Beaver State. Fur traders were just some of the key people in the Oregon trail and fur from beavers was a good source of fur for them. The beaver eventually became the state’s unofficial animal and is a mascot of Oregon State University.
Just Like Oregon: Paraguay’s national flag also has different images on reverse sides.
May 2, 2016
Minnesota became the 32nd US State on May 11, 1858. Before then, the Eastern part of the state was owned by Great Britain and the West was owned by France. The United States gained the East from Britain after the Revolutionary War and the West was also included in the Louisiana Purchase from France.
Minnesota’s official state flag was adopted in 1893 but was not made the official state flag until 1957. Minnesota’s flag is royal blue with a gold fringe. Placed on the center of the flag is the state’s seal and encircled around it is a wreath featuring the state’s flower, the pink and white lady slippers along with a red ribbon. On that red ribbon are printed the years 1819 (the establishment of Fort Snelling, a significant historical landmark run by the Minnesota Historical Society), and 1893, the year in which the state’s flag had been unofficially adopted. In a separate gold ribbon inside the state’s seal reads the state’s motto, L’etoile du Nord, meaning Star of the North in French. There are five pointed star groups made up outside the circle to make a star, totalling to 19. While Minnesota is the 32nd state, they are the 19th post thirteen-territories state. Finally, the word Minnesota is written in red letters in the lower white circle.
St. Paul, Minnesota is the state capital and Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the state’s most populated city. However, due to the fact that they are just about next to each other, this area is otherwise known as the Twin Cities. The Twin Cities area is home to about sixty percent of Minnesotans.
Where did the name Minnesota come from? Minnesota’s name is derived from a Native American word meaning “clouded water” or “sky-tinted water”.
Home of 10,000 lakes: The state is known for having a vast amount of lakes and proudly has it written on their license plates. However, there are actually over 11,000 lakes! These lakes are enjoyed by both locals and tourists. Many go camping, swimming, fishing, and go on boat rides.