Utah State Symbols & Facts

Utah State Symbols

State Flag

State Flag The original Utah State Flag consisted of a solid white state seal on a light blue background which was adopted by the State Legislature in 1896 and revised in 1913. The Utah State Flag, as we know it today, was originally designed for the battleship Utah in 1912. It was later made the official flag of Utah when Governor William Spry signed House Joint Resolution I in 1913.

The Utah State Flag has a blue background with the State Seal inscribed in the center and is easily distinguished from other state flags.

American Eagle with wings outspread, grasping six arrows in its talons, symbolizes protection in peace and war.
Beehive is the symbol of industry.
Sego Lily is a symbol of peace.
Draped American Flag is the symbol of our support to the nation.
"1847" is the year the Mormon Pioneer entered the Salt Lake Valley.
"1896" is the year Utah was admitted as the 45th state (January 4, 1896).

Emblem and Motto

Emblem and Motto The Beehive and word "industry" became the official motto and emblem for Utah on March 4, 1959. Industry 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 beehive was chosen as the emblem for the provisional State of Deseret in 1848 and was maintained along with the word "industry" on the seal and flag when Utah became a state in 1896.


Seagull Abundant nesting colonies of the California gull (Larus californious Lawrence) have been reported as early as the 1850's in Utah. These gulls are assumed to be the species that saved the crops of the early Mormon settlers from crickets in 1848-1849. These birds now nest in large colonies in the islands and dikes of the Great Salt Lake and Utah Lake.


Sego Lily The sego lily (Calochortus nuttallii) was made the official state flower in 1911 after a census was taken of the state's school children as to their preference for a state flower. The sego lily grows six to eight inches high on open grass and sage rangelands in the Great Basin during the summer months. The plant is important to Utah because the bulbs were eaten by the early Mormon settlers during their first winter in the valley when food was scarce.


Spruce The blue spruce (Picea pungens) was chosen by the Utah State Legislature in 1933 to be the state tree. The tree 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. Its foliage is generally silvery blue in color and has the ability to withstand temperature extremes.


Topaz The topaz is a semiprecious gem found in Beaver, Juab and Tooele counties of Utah. This hard gem is an aluminum florisilicate and is next in hardness to carborundum and diamonds (two of the hardest natural mineral around). Topaz is found in a variety of colors-colorless, pinkish, yellowish, bluish. When found, the gem is either in separate crystals or stubby sharpened pencils. Topaz is the birthstone of November.


Coal Utah officially recognized Coal as the State Rock in 1991. Coal is a black or brown rock that can be ignited and burned to produce heat and electricity. Coalburning power plants supply about half of the electricity used in the United States and nearly two-thirds of that used throughout the world. Utah coal deposits are found primarily in Carbon and Emery Counties of Central Utah.


Elk The Rock Mountain elk (Cervus canadensis) became the official state animal in 1971. A member of the deer family, the elk lives in close association with the deer and moose throughout much of Utah. Mature bulls stand up to 60 inches at the shoulder and may weigh over 700 pounds. Today, elk are are plentiful on most mountain ranges in Utah.


Cutthroat The cutthroat trout Salmo clarki, has 15 recognized subspecies, one of which is the Bonneville Cutthroat. All cutthroat trout have a "cut," a patch of orange or red on the throat and they differ from the rainbow trout because they have basibranchial (hyoid) teeth in their throat between the gill arches, they typically have longer heads and jaws than the rainbow and often times can be distinguished from the rainbow by their larger spots. The Bonneville Cutthroat is native to Utah and was important to Native Americans and Mormon pioneers as a source of food.


Honey Bee The honey bee (Apis mellifera) became the official state insect in 1983 through the lobbying efforts of a fifth grade class. The honey bee is significant in Utah history, as Utah was first called by its Mormon settlers: "The Provisional State of Deseret." "Deseret" is said to be a Book of Mormon word meaning honey bee.


Indian Ricegrass Indian ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) a native perennial bunchgrass, was officially recognized at the Utah State Grass in 1990. In the past, the grass
was used as food a staple by Native Americans, especially when the corn crop failed. Seed of the ricegrass was gathered and ground into meal or flour and made into bread.


Allosaurus The allosaurus was designated the State Fossil in 1988. More allosaurus specimens have been found in two of Utah's quarries than any other dinosaur. On the average, the allosaurus weighed four tons, stood 17 feet high on two huge legs and measured 35 feet long with its tail stretched out behind for balance.

Copper - Mineral

Copper Copper (chemical symbol, Cu) was selected by early state leaders to top the dome of the Utah State Capitol. It was selected in 1994 as the State Mineral for the Beehive State. Utah is one of the leading copper producing areas of the world. The larges open pit copper mine in the world is located in Bingham Canyon near Salt Lake City.

Centennial Logo and Slogan

Utah Logo This logo was used for the 1996 Utah Centennial along with the slogan "This Is Still The Right Place." The logo originated from a statewide contest in 1989 from a design submitted by Danny Christopherson, a sophomore at Provo High School. The slogan is an expansion of Brigham Young's famous statement "This Is The Place" when the pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. The Utah Centennial Commission reserves the copyright authorization on the logo and slogan.

State Facts

State Name: Ute Indian word meaning "home on mountain top"

State Capital: Salt Lake City

Population: 2,699,554 (2007 Estimate)
Statehood Day: January 4, 1896 (45th state)


Land Area
84,916 sq. mi, 65% of the state of Utah is owned by the federal government.

Highest and Lowest Point
King's Peak 13,528 ft (Uinta Mountains, Duchesne Co. - NE part of state)
Beaver Dam Wash 2,350 ft. (Near St. George, Washington Co. SW part of state

"Utah is the rooftop of the United States. The average elevation of the tallest peaks in each of Utah's counties is 11,222 ft. above sea level - higher than the same average in any other state." (Hiking Utah's Summits by Paula Huff)

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