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!
March 10, 2016
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Iowa was included in the Louisiana Purchase, came under US control in 1803, and became the 29th state on December 28, 1846. The state flag was not adopted until 1921 when it was designed by a Mrs. Dixie Gebhardt who was from the Daughters of the American Revolution of Iowa. The flag’s colors are red, white, and blue, and take on the same tricolor pattern as the French flag, paying homage to its French roots. The white center of the flag is larger and has a bald eagle holding a flowing ribbon in its beak. The ribbon reads, “Our Liberties we prize, and our rights we will maintain.”
Iowa’s state capital is Des Moines which had been named after a military post called Fort Des Moines that had been established along the Des Moines river during the 1840s. The city was officially incorporated on September 22, 1851. The city has a population of over 204,000 (as of the 2010 Census) but a Metro population of nearly 570,000.
Iowa got its state name is from the word Ioway, the French version of the name Bah-kho-je, which was the name of the Indian tribe that lived in the area.
Well known Iowans-31st US President Herbert Hoover was born in West Branch, IA, on August 10, 1874.
Actor John Wayne (born as Marion Mitchell Morrison) was born in Winterset, IA on May 26, 1907.
November 30, 2015
Missouri became the 24th state in the United States on August 10, 1821. The state (or territory) was first obtained as a part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803. It was later admitted as a state during the Missouri Compromise of 1820.
The Missouri Compromise was an attempt to preserve the balance of power of Congress between slave and free states. When the Compromise was passed in 1820, Maine became a free state and Missouri became a slave state as a result. Later on, the Compromise was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, ruling that Congress did not have the power to change law regarding slavery in the territories.
Missouri’s state flag was designed by Marie Elizabeth Watkins Oliver in 1913. The flag is rectangular with three horizontal stripes, which are red, white, and blue. They represent the state’s French heritage as they were part of the Louisiana Purchase, bought from France. The stripes also represent valor, justice, purity, and vigilance. In the center is a blue-banded circle surrounded by 24 stars, symbolizing the 24 states in the Union. Inside the circle are two grizzly bears, who represent bravery and strength. The bears are holding a shield which has a gold knight’s helmet sitting atop of it and 24 more stars. Inside the shield is the Missouri Coat of Arms, which is divided by three images. On the right side is a bald eagle grasping olive branches and arrows in its talons (these mean war and peace). On the left side is a grizzly bear on a red background and a crescent moon on a blue background.
Underneath the bears is a white belt which reads, United We Stand, United We Fall. Notice that the grizzly bears holding the shield are standing on top of a ribbon which reads, Salus Populi Suprema Lex Esto (Let the Welfare of the People Be The Supreme Law). Finally, underneath the motto is the Roman numeral for 1820, the year which Missouri became a state.
Missouri is also known for the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were asked by Thomas Jefferson shortly after the Louisiana Purchase to explore the land beyond the West of the great rock mountains. The two gentlemen started their journey in St. Louis, journeying to the Pacific and returning in 1806. They made diplomatic relations with Native Americans and maps were drawn by Clark, who also named many of the places he drew.
Trivia: Iced Tea was first served at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis!
September 16, 2015
Indiana is the 19th state to enter the union on December 11, 1816. Indiana was originally part of the Indiana Territory, formed in 1800. This territory included surrounding states Illinois, Wisconsin, and some areas of Michigan and Minnesota. While Indiana was part of the Indiana Territory, the capital was Vicennes from 1805 until 1813, when it was changed to Corydon. By 1825, it had again changed to Indianapolis and has remained ever since. A constitution was later reached in 1916, thus giving Indiana its statehood.
Indiana’s state flag was designed by Paul Hadley of Mooresville, Indiana and adopted by the Indiana General Assembly in 1917. His design was chosen as the winner in a design contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution at the Indiana state centennial in 1916. The flag is blue with 19 gold stars emblazoned on it. The first five stars connected to the torch in a semi-circle symbolize the states admitted to the United States before Indiana but after the original 13 colonies. The star above the torch is the Indiana star along with the words Indiana written in yellow.
Although Abraham Lincoln was born in Kentucky, he moved to Indiana at the age of 7 with his parents and grew up in Indiana. His childhood home in Spencer County, Indiana, is now a museum.
Hoosiers: Indiana is known as “The Hoosier State”. People from the state of Indiana are known as Hoosiers but no one knows for sure where the term originated from. Some believe it’s a term people used to describe the early settlers of Indiana, others believe it is shortened from “Who’s your relative?” These are just two of the rumored origins of the term Hoosier.
Name Origin: Indiana means, “Land of the Indians”, named in 1800.
Memorial Day Tradition: The Indianapolis 500, also known as the Indy 500 race, is held each Memorial Day weekend. It has been held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway since 1911.
August 25, 2015
On April 30, 1812, Louisiana became the 18th state in the United States. Louisiana was originally a French in 1731 but was relinquished to Spain after the French and Indian Wars. Louisiana was eventually returned back to France in about 1800. The famous French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte sold Louisiana to the United States just two years later in 1803 in what was known as the Louisiana Purchase.
Louisiana did not adopt a state flag until 100 years after it became a state in 1912. The background of the flag is blue which represents truth and placed in the center of the flag is the state bird, The Eastern Brown Pelican, feeding her three young chicks inside a nest. There is a legend saying that the mother pelican is tearing flesh from herself at the chest to feed her own young. And underneath the birds is a ribbon stating the state’s motto, Union, Justice, and Confidence.
Louisiana is home to New Orleans, famous for Mardi Gras, which is always celebrated 46 days before Easter. The city hosted its first Mardi Gras parade in 1837 and the floats did not start coming until twenty years later. The celebration generates a revenue of over $840 million annually thanks to tourists and regulars who come to celebrate.
How Louisiana Got Named: Louisiana was named after Louis XIV of France.
No Counties? Louisiana is one of two U.S. states that do not have counties. Instead, Louisiana is divided into 64 parishes. The only other state without counties is Alaska and they are divided by boroughs.
July 22, 2015
The first thirteen colonies were complete after the admission of Rhode Island into the union. It had been less than one year when the next state, Vermont, became the first state after the formation of the thirteen colonies, also known as state number fourteen.
Vermont’s state flag was not adopted until 1923 although there was a previous state flag. This flag is a dark blue with the state’s coat of arms on it. In the coat of arms is a pine tree, a cow, some bales of hay, and sheaths of wheat. There are purple mountains in the background against a blue sk. On top of the coat of arms is a stag’s head, and on the bottom boughs of pine needles envelope the coat of arms. There is also a red ribbon which reads Vermont and the state’s motto Freedom and Unity.
Vermont’s name is French for “green mountain”, or mont vert due to the state being surrounded by green mountains. Vermont is also the largest producer of maple syrup in the United States, producing over 500,000 gallons per year. While the state’s capitol is Montpelier, the population in the city is less than 10,000 people.
Cool Trivia: Vermont is the state where Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream was founded! The company also gives their ice cream waste to local farmers who then feed it to their hogs(unfortunately, mint Oreo is not their favorite flavor).
- Chester A. Arthur (serving 1881-1885) was also born in Fairfield, VT in 1830.
- Calvin Coolidge (serving 1923-1929) is the ONLY US president to have been born on the 4th of July in Plymouth, VT.
July 10, 2015
The final colony to enter the union is Rhode Island on May 29, 1790. It is the smallest state in the United States at Rhode Island is so small that they’re composed of only five counties! Despite being a small state, Rhode Island is well known for it’s large shoreline. Set on Narragansett Bay (Atlantic Ocean), the shoreline runs for nearly 400 miles, earning the nickname “The Ocean State”.
The Rhode Island state flag was adopted in 1879. The flag is white with a yellow anchor in the center. The anchor is encircled by thirteen yellow stars to represent the thirteen colonies. Underneath the anchor is a light blue ribbon which reads the state motto “Hope”. The colors on this state flag date all the way back to colonial times, the original establishment of Rhode Island, and the Providence Plantations ruled under King Charles II of England.
Rhode Island is home to two war memorials. The first memorial is The Korean War Memorial of Rhode Island in Providence, RI. The memorial was erected to honor Rhode Island citizens who served and died in the Korean War (1950-1953). The names of those Killed in Action (KIA) or Missing in Action (MIA) are engraved in white bricks while the red bricks bear the names of the men and women who served during the war. The second war memorial is The World War I Memorial in Miantonomi Park, RI where it was established in 1921 to memorialize those who had been lost in WWI (1914-1918). The memorial is 100 foot tower of stone along with a 30 foot flagpole at the top. It became listed as a National Historic Park in 1969.
The Ocean: Nearly all residents of Rhode Island live about 30 miles from the ocean!
Early Days: Rhode Island was originally known as “The Colony of Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations”, an early settlement. After the American Revolution, the land became known as the State of Rhode Island.