Utah State Day, Motto, and Nickname
July 24 (Pioneer Day)
DATE OF ADMISSION TO UNITED STATES
January 4, 1896
RANKING IN STATE ADMISSION
Alta California, Mexico
Santa Fe de Nuevo México, Mexico
In 1849, the Mormon pioneers that had settled in the former Mexican territory now known as Utah began taking steps to apply for statehood in the United States. After laying claim to virtually all of the former territory, the Mormons organized a constitutional convention, elected leaders to represent their interests, and secured the services of a U.S. senator to present their request for statehood.
Almon W. Babbit was dispatched to Washington, D.C., in order to establish a seat in the House of Representatives and officially represent the proposed state in Congress. However, Babbitt was denied a seat. The Mormons had moved too fast, made land claims that were too grandiose, created a constitution that was flawed in the eyes of the congressional committee, and had not completed all of the requirements to qualify for statehood.
Taking control of the situation, the U.S. Congress wrote an Organic Act on September 7, 1850, that provided for the organization of the Utah Territory, which was considerably less generous in its description of the territorial area. On September 9, 1850, President Millard Fillmore signed the act. From this point forward the issue of Utah statehood became embroiled in political and religious conflict that would bring the Utah Territory and the United States to the brink of open conflict.
On July 16, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed the Enabling Act that provided the residents of the Utah Territory with the final steps to achieve statehood. Finally on January 4, 1896, after 45 years of effort, Utah was admitted as the 45th state of the Union.
The official July 24th state holiday commemorates when the first Mormons, under the leadership of Brigham Young, entered the valley where Salt Lake City would be established.
The official state motto was adopted on March 4, 1959. It is a reference to the industrious nature of the early Mormon pioneers and the symbol of the state, the beehive. The motto appears on the Utah's state seal and state flag.
"The Beehive State," "The Mormon State," "The Friendly State," "The Greatest Snow on Earth," "Life Elevated"
In keeping with Utah’s motto and the state symbol, "The Beehive State" became a widely accepted nickname. The early pioneers of Utah were Mormon, and today a large percentage of the population is still Mormon, thus Utah is often referred to as the "Mormon State." The nicknames "The Friendly State," "The Greatest Snow on Earth," and "Life Elevated" all were promotional nicknames that either appeared on license plates or in advertisements for Utah's tourism industry.
-World Trade Press