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Indiana State Symbols
State Seal / State Name / State Nickname / State Bird / Flower State Stone / State Song / State Poem
The seal depicts a pioneer scene - a woodsman felling a tree while a buffalo flees from the forest across the plains, and the sun sets in the distance. It has been used since 1801, but was not officially adopted until 1963.
Congress coined the name "Indiana" Then in 1800, Congress separated an area containing all or part of the five present states from the Northwest Territory and named the separated area the "Indiana Territory." The territorial name was retained when Indiana, which means, "the land of the Indians," became a state.
Origin of the nickname "Hoosier" still is debated. Many believe the word stems from the pioneers greeting night callers with "Who's yer?" Others think it comes from "Hoosier men," referring to laborers for an early-day contractor named Sam Hoosier, who built a canal along the Ohio River. He preferred to hire men living north of the river, believing them to be better workers than those living south of the river. There are several other theories about the nickname. Find more information at this site.
The bird commonly known as the Red Bird or Cardinal (Richmondena Cardinalis Cardinalis) is hereby adopted and designated as the official state bird of the state of Indiana.
The tulip tree, officially known as Liriodendron Tulipifera, is also known as the yellow poplar. It was adopted General Assembly in 1931. It is a tall tree and can be found throughout the state. The leaf is distinctive (it appears in the border of the state seal), and the bell-shaped greenish-yellow flowers blossom in May or June. Find more information at this site.
The regal type rock "Limestone" which is found and quarried in south and central Indiana from the geologic formation named the Salem Limestone, is hereby adopted as the official stone of the State of Indiana. (IC 1-2-9-1)
Here are the lyrics to the state song, "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away," words and music by Paul Dresser."
Indiana homestead wave the cornfields,
In the distance loom the woodlands clear and cool,
Oftentimes my tho'ts revert to scenes of childhood,
Where I first received my lessons - nature's school.
But one thing there is missing in the picture,
Without her face it seems so incomplete,
I long to see my mother in the doorway,
As she stood there years ago, her boy to greet.
Oh, the moonlight's fair tonight along the Wabash,
From the fields there comes the breath of new-mown hay,
Through the sycamores the candle lights are gleaming,
On the banks of the Wabash, far away.
Many years have passed since I strolled by the river,
Arm in arm, with sweetheart Mary by my side,
It was there I tried to tell her that I loved her,
It was there I begged of her to be my bride.
Long years have passed since I strolled thro' the churchyard.
She's sleeping there, my angel, Mary dear,
I loved her, but she thought I didn't mean it,
Still I'd give my future were she only here.
The poem of
Arthur Franklin Mapes, Kendallville, Indiana, the title and text of
which are set forth in full as a part of this section, is hereby
adopted as Indiana's official poem.
It reads as follows:
God crowned her hills with beauty,
Gave her lakes and winding streams,
Then He edged them all with woodlands
As the setting for our dreams.
Lovely are her moonlit rivers,
Shadowed by the sycamores,
Where the fragrant winds of Summer
Play along the willowed shores.
I must roam those wooded hillsides,
I must heed the native call,
For a pagan voice within me
Seems to answer to it all.
I must walk where squirrels scamper
Down a rustic old rail fence,
Where a choir of birds is singing
In the woodland . . . green and dense.
I must learn more of my homeland
For it's paradise to me,
There's no haven quite as peaceful,
There's no place I'd rather be.
Indiana . . . is a garden
Where the seeds of peace have grown,
Where each tree, and vine, and flower
Has a beauty . . . all its own.
Lovely are the fields and meadows,
That reach out to hills that rise
Where the dreamy Wabash River
Wanders on . . . through paradise.
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