Welcome to Arkansas, the Natural State. With nearly three dozen state symbols, Arkansas appears to be a pretty average state. But Arkansans can’t seem to make up their minds.
Or should we call them Arkansians? How about Arkies? Some residents prefer to be called Arkansawyers. (Continued below)
|Nicknames & Slogans|
|Nicknames||The Natural State, Hot Water State, Bowie State, Toothpick State||1995|
|(former)||Land of Opportunity||1953|
|Symbols of State|
|Song||Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)||1987||>|
|(former)||The Arkansas Traveler||1949|
|Historical Song||The Arkansas Traveler||1987||>|
|Flower||apple blossom (Malus)||1901||>|
|Fruit and Vegetable||South Arkansas vine ripe pink tomato (Solanum lycopersicum)||1987||>|
|Grape||Cynthiana grape (Vitis aestivalis)||2009||>|
|Nut||pecan (Carya illinoinensis)||2009||>|
|Bird||mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos)||1929||>|
|Mammal||white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)||1993||>|
|Primitive Fish||alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula)||2019||>|
|Insect||honeybee (Apis mellifera)||1973||>|
|Butterfly||Diana fritillary butterfly (Speyeria diana)||2007||>|
|Dinosaur †||Arkansaurus fridayi||2017||>|
|Historic Cooking Vessel||Dutch Oven||2001||>|
|Folk Dance||square dance||1991||>|
If you think that’s confusing, check out Arkansas’ state songs and nicknames. Talk about musical chairs?
Arkansawyers have changed their state song at least three times. Today, the state has four official songs. Do you see a pattern?
- “Oh, Arkansas”
- “The Arkansas Traveler”
- “Arkansas (You Run Deep in Me)”
The main theme is Arkansas. But what is Arkansas?
Name Games ˆ
The nickname Bear State recalls the bears that were once so numerous in Arkansas. Another nickname, Bowie State, was inspired by the famous Bowie knife. The nickname Toothpick State also refers to Bowie knives.
Hot Springs, Arkansas was named for its famous warm water springs. It gave birth to yet another nickname, Hot Water State. Arkansas is also famous for its limestone caves. Its caves and hot water springs probably inspired the nickname Wonder State, which was officially adopted in 1923.
In 1953, the nickname was changed to Land of Opportunity. This nickname reflected political or economic interests.
In 1995, the official nickname was changed once again to my favorite: the Natural State.
If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.
You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)
After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.