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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's Own Tartan

Today is National Tartan Day.  Did you know that Colorado has a state tartan?  According to information from the State Archives, the Colorado tartan, or plaid pattern, “is comprised of a pattern and colors that symbolize Colorado’s splendor and history.” The colors of the tartan include forest green, cerulean blue, black, lavender, and white – […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Time Machine Tuesday: State Industrial Schools

In the nineteenth century Colorado established industrial schools for girls and boys who were in trouble.  A State Industrial School was established in 1881 for boys ages 7-16 who were convicted of crimes. A few years later, it became apparent that such a school was needed for girls as well, and the State Home and […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's New State Symbols

Some years ago in this blog I posted a series about Colorado’s state symbols and emblems.  Since then, Colorado has adopted several new state symbols. The State Pet is the shelter pet.  Dogs and cats rescued from shelters in Colorado were designated as the state pets in 2013.  School kids from Walsenburg came up with […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

New State Logo

The new state logo, a green mountain with the letters CO, has been receiving quite a bit of attention lately.  The logo has been established to be used by state agencies for branding purposes (it does not replace the official state seal).  However, negative reactions toward the logo have prompted House Bill 14-1071 being introduced […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Amphibian

Colorado’s newest state symbol, designated just this year, is the State Amphibian, the Western Tiger Salamander.  This small amphibian can be found in ponds and lakes statewide; also look for them near rodent burrows and on ground surfaces at night during damp weather.  For more information, see the Tiger Salamander page in the Colorado Division of Wildlife’s […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Reptile

Like many of our other state symbols, schoolchildren petitioned the Legislature for the designation of the State Reptile.  In 2007 the distinction went to the Western Painted Turtle, a small, multicolored turtle found in ponds and lakes around the state.  Check out the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife’s website for a species profile of the […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Rock

Not to be confused with the State Gemstone (Aquamarine) and the State Mineral (Rhodochrosite), the State Rock is Colorado Yule Marble.  Quarried in Marble, Colorado in Gunnison County, Colorado Yule Marble has been used in many important buildings around the state including the Colorado State Capitol; it has also been used in the Washington Monument, […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Mineral

Colorado’s State Mineral is the deep red Rhodochrosite.  The Colorado State Archives tells us that “On April 17, 2002, Colorado Governor Bill Owens signed a bill passed by the General Assembly designating the Rhodochrosite as the new state mineral. While there was some debate as to whether the state mineral should be gold or silver or […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Tree

The Colorado General Assembly officially designated the Colorado Blue Spruce (Picea pungens) as Colorado’s State Tree on March 7, 1939.  This coniferous tree found in the higher elevations of Colorado is of a bluish color.  It was first documented on Pikes Peak in 1862.  You can read more about Colorado Blue Spruce on the Colorado State Forest Service’s […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Tartan

In Scotland, different patterned tartans, or plaids, are used to symbolize different clans, or families.  Well, did you know that Colorado has its very own tartan design?  The General Assembly adopted the state tartan in 1997.  The dominant color is cerulean blue, accented with forest green, black, lavendar, gold, white, and red, all chosen to symbolize something about Colorado.  […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Songs

Colorado actually has two state songs.  The traditional state song is “Where the Columbines Grow,” which was adopted as the state song back in 1915.  The song was composed by traveler A.J. Fynn, who was inspired by a meadow full of Columbines (which are also our state flower).  You can read the words to the […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Insect

The Colorado General Assembly designated the Blue Hairstreak Butterfly, Hypaurotis cysalus, as the State Insect in 1996.  The two-inch-wide, black, orange and purply-blue butterfly is generally found at elevations between 6,500 and 7,500 feet.  To learn more about Colorado butterflies, see the Colorado State University Extension publication Attracting Butterflies to the Garden.   Image courtesy Colorado State Archives

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Grass

Yes, Colorado has an officially designated State Grass – the Blue Grama.  Blue Grama grass is easily recognizable to those familiar with prairie landscapes, though it can be found in all parts of the state.  It was designated the State Grass by the General Assembly in 1987.  You can learn more about Blue Grama and […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Gemstone

Because Colorado’s mountains are rich in minerals, there are many gemstones to be found in our state, but only one has the distinction of being named Colorado’s state gemstone – the aquamarine.  This light blue to green mineral was designated our state gemstone in 1971; it is found primarily at Mount Antero and White Mountain in […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Fossil

Schoolchildren suggested Colorado adopt a state fossil, the dinosaur Stegosaurus, in 1982.  One of the most recognized dinosaurs, with its line of plates along its back and spiky tail for defense, Stegosaurus lived in what came to be Colorado during the Mesozoic era, Jurassic period 150 million years ago.  Stegosaurus fossils have been discovered in Colorado.  For […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Folk Dance

Did you know that Colorado has a state folk dance?  It’s the Square Dance, and was designated by the Legislature in 1992.  Square dancing, which is a dance where steps are called out by a caller, was especially popular in the 19th century, but continues to be practiced by many today.  The best-known square dance […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Flower

Since 1899 the Columbine has been the state flower of Colorado.  The distinctive lavender, white, and yellow flower has been under the protection of law since 1925, so that it is unlawful to dig up the flower on public lands, and no more than 25 buds can be picked on a single day on public […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Fish

Colorado’s state fish is the Greenback Cutthroat Trout, Oncorhynchus clarki somias.  Colorado’s waters are filled with many kinds of trout, such as Rainbow Trout and Brook Trout; however, the Greenback Cutthroat is special because by the late 20th century it was on the brink of extinction.  Then, in the 1990s, scientists discovered a few small […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Bird

The Lark Bunting was designated Colorado’s State Bird in 1931.  It is a black and white bird that makes its home on the plains of Colorado from April to September, then flies south in the winter.  In the past it was sometimes referred to as the bobolink.  You can find more about lark buntings from the Colorado […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Animal

Colorado’s official “State Animal,” as designated by the Colorado General Assembly in 1961, is the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.  This majestic animal is only found in the Rockies.  You can learn more about this animal by reading their species profile from the Colorado Division of Wildlife.  Also, the CDOW has created a great video about Rocky Mountain Bighorn […]

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado's State Symbols: The State Seal

Colorado’s state seal is a circular seal that uses the same colors as are found in the state flag – red, blue, white, and gold.  The outer edge of the circle features the year 1876 – this was the year Colorado became a state.  Inside the circle are symbols depicting government, authority, and leadership.  The […]