Idaho’s Humble Beginning was Based on a Lie
Idaho is the 43rd state to join on July 3rd, 1890. It sounds like it could be a Native American name like some of our neighboring states but no, Idaho is a made up word. It was created by George M. Willing, a mining lobbyist, who insisted that it WAS a Native American Shoshone expression the means “gem of the mountains” named for the area around Pikes Peak.
After the name had already become popular and regularly used they figured out the name was made up and didn’t have any meaning at all, but it stuck anyway.
The state was also made quite famous in the B-52s song “Private Idaho”:
Now that you know this fun fact about Idaho, what else do you want to know? Maybe the state bird, flower or other interesting Idaho tidbits? Stacker compiled a list of symbols in Idaho to test your knowledge, first the clues, then answers below.
Idaho state fish - Early Idaho settlers relied heavily on this fish that has stayed, for the most part, consistently abundant in the state. Environmental changes have caused this fish to go up and down in population. Over the decades, this has been a great example to Idaho Fish and Game for determining the overall health of Idaho's waterways. It's hard to miss the reddish-orange slash under its chin, which is the fastest way to identify it.
Idaho state mammal - This one is a little bit of a trick question because to date, Idaho officially has no state mammal. However Idaho is home to a very impressive mammal that we should be quite proud of. It is the second fastest land mammal on Earth and can maintain a fast speed longer than a cheetah. Any guesses?
Idaho state flag - What does the seal mean and what makes it unique to any other state flag in the US?
Idaho state song - If you have been in Idaho for any amount of real time you should know this one. It was written by Sallie Hume-Douglas and Craig Chernos arranged the piece.
Idaho state insect - The second you spot one of these you instantly know what it is. Easily one of the most recognizable insect in North America and one that people don't mind having around.
Idaho state tree - Even though Boise is the city of trees, Idaho's state tree is a type of evergreen. While it once flourished in Idaho's forests and mountains its kind has been diminishing due to rust disease, bark beetles, and humans. There is hope on the horizon for a resurgence as study groups and dendrology groups are working to learn more.
Idaho state bird - I love the birds in this state. From yellow to blue to black and red, there are a lot of beautiful feathered friends around here. So what is the official state bird? It's small but quite the survivor. Typically making its home in the hollows of trees, but will happily settle for dirt banks or holes in the sides of cliffs.
Idaho state flower - This strong sweet smelling wildflower blooms white in the spring and covers many Idaho hillsides. Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition, wrote about the flower during his travels through the gem state.
Idaho state fish - Cutthroat trout
Idaho state mammal - Officially: None, Proposed: Pronghorn antelope
Idaho state flag: The Idaho seal in yellow on the blue flag was designed by Emma Edwards Green, the only woman to design a state seal.
Idaho state song - "Here We Have Idaho"
Idaho state insect - Monarch butterfly
Idaho state tree - Western white pine
Idaho state bird - Mountain bluebird
Idaho state flower - Syringa