Friday, April 29, 2011

Favourite Things Friday: Utah

Utah — a pretty, great state.

I've lived in Utah for most of my life. And I think it is a pretty, great place to live. There are lots of places I'd like to visit, but I don't think I'd want to live anywhere else. We have four beautiful seasons {although I admit that after the first snowfall of the season, I'm ready for winter to be over}. We have the most beautiful landscape; right out my front door are some of the best mountains around. There are lots of things to see and do, lots of history, lots of heritage here in Utah.

I want to share a couple things about Utah. Our state bird is the seagull. You might wonder why we'd choose such a common bird, a scavenger really, as our state bird. Well you see, way back a hundred-and-fifty-odd years or so ago, there was this huge infestation of crickets. The crickets were eating the crops to the ground leaving no food for the people living here at the time. Being a people of faith, those early settlers prayed, asking God for help. In answer to their prayers, great flocks of seagulls came and gorged themselves on the crickets. They would eat until they couldn't eat any more and then they'd regurgitate everything they'd eaten and then gorge themselves again on the crickets, repeating the process over and over. The infestation of crickets was stopped by the seagulls and that noble bird was named as the state bird.

But the story doesn't end there. Because of the damage the crickets had done to their food, the people were forced to scavenge the land for an alternate food source. They discovered that the sego lily roots were good to eat, and the draught-hardy plant grew in abundance. Because it sustained them during a lean time, the sego lily found its place as the state flower. Ironically, you don't find the sego lily in flower beds around Utah because the amount of water required by the other plants is too much for the sego lily.

Our state song is Utah, This Is the Place. It was written for our centennial celebration in 1996 and named the official state song in 2003. {The former state song, Utah, We Love Theewas designated as the State Hymn.} The words to the state song seem a little . . . interesting. But the music is really written well and the words just fit.

Utah, This Is the Place!

Lyrics: Sam Francis & Gary Francis
Music: Gary Francis

Utah! People working together
Utah! What a great place to be.
Blessed from Heaven above.
It's the land that we love.
This is the place!

Utah! With its mountains and valleys.
Utah! With its canyons and streams.
You can go anywhere.
But there's none that compare.
This is the place!

It was Brigham Young who led the pioneers across the plains.
They suffered with the trials they had to face.
With faith they kept on going till they reached the Great Salt Lake
Here they heard the words..."THIS IS THE PLACE!"

Utah! With its focus on family,
Utah! Helps each child to succeed.
People care how they live.
Each has so much to give.
This is the place!

Utah! Getting bigger and better.
Utah! Always leading the way.
New technology's here...
Growing faster each year.
This is the place!

There is beauty in the snow-capped mountains, in the lakes and streams.
There are valleys filled with farms and orchards too.
The spirit of its people shows in everything they do.
Utah is the place where dreams come true.

Utah! With its pioneer spirit.
Utah! What a great legacy!
Blessed from Heaven above.
It's the land that we love.
This is the place

Utah! Utah! Utah! Utah! Utah! Utah!

I'm pretty partial to the state I live in. As I mentioned, 1996 was our centennial celebration. Mr. Bug and I were married in 1996, and instead of choosing a wedding-themed postage stamp for the invitations, I used the Utah postage stamp that was issued in conjunction with the centennial.

To wrap up, I've included a few bits of trivia about our pretty, great state.

Date of Statehood: January 4, 1896
State Tree: Blue Spruce
State Flower: Sego Lily
State Bird: Seagull
State Symbol: Beehive
State Motto: Industry
State Animal: Rocky Mountain Elk
State Fish: Rainbow Trout
  • The name Utah comes from the Native American Ute tribe and means people of the mountains.
  • Utah covers 84,900 square miles of land and is ranked 11th largest state in the United States.
  • Utah has 11,000 miles of fishing streams and 147,000 acres of lakes and reservoirs.
  • Utah has five national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce and Capitol Reef.
  • Utah has seven national monuments: Cedar Breaks, Natural Bridges, Dinosaur, Rainbow Bridge, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Timpanogos Cave and Hovenweep.
  • Rainbow Bridge, carved by erosion out of solid sandstone, is the world's largest natural rock span. It stands 278 feet wide and 309 feet high.
  • Utah has two national recreation areas: Flaming Gorge and Glen Canyon.
  • Utah has six national forests: Ashley, Dixie, Fishlake, Manti-LaSal, Uinta, and Wasatch-Cache.
  • Salt Lake City hosted the Olympic Winter Games on February 8-24, 2002.
  • Completion of the world's first transcontinental railroad was celebrated at Promontory, Utah where the Central Pacific and Union Pacific Railroads met on May 10, 1869. It is now known as Golden Spike National Historic Site.
  • Utah is the site of the nation's first department store. Zions Co-operative Mercantile Institution was established in the late 1800's. It is still in operation today as ZCMI.
  • The LDS Temple in Salt Lake City took 40 years to complete.
  • The Great Salt Lake, which is about 75 miles long and 35 miles wide, covers 2,100 square miles {more than a million acres}. The average depth is 13 feet and the deepest point is 34 feet.
  • Because of the state's inland location Utah's snow is unusually dry, earning the reputation of the greatest snow on earth.
  • Utah mountain peaks, on average, are the tallest in the country. The average elevation of the tallest peaks in each of Utah's counties is 11,222 ft., higher than the same average in any other state.
  • The Heber Valley Railroad's magnificent steam engine and ten passenger railroad cars have been filmed in over 31 motion pictures over the past 20 years.
  • The 4th Fighter Squadron at Hill Air Force Base became the U.S. Air Force's first operational Tactical Fighter Squadron in March 1980.
  • The city of Levan is so named because it is in the middle of Utah and Levan is "navel" spelled backwards.
  • Kanab is known as Utah's Little Hollywood because of the large number of motion pictures that are filmed in the area.
  • Beaver, Utah is the birthplace of two very famous individuals of the past, Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television and Butch Cassidy, the notorious western outlaw.
  • Utah is the only state whose capital's name is made of three words. All three words in Salt Lake City have four letters each.


Shay said...

So..Utah sounds like a happening place!

I loved the story about how the seagull came to be the state bird.

I think it's great that you love where you live and are so proud of it. Thanks for taking the time to share some of Utah's wonders and history with us. I didnt know any of those things!

seabreezequilts said...

Very interesting to know the background of your emblems. Our state bird is called the Piping Shrike (but we call it a Murray Magpie and the our state flower is the Sturt Dessert Pea but I don't know any details on why they were chosen.

Jennifer Lovell said...

Utah is the home of my best friend Elizabeth. That alone makes it a great state. I love the scenery, and it is the home of my VERY favorite place on earth, BYU campus. I love Utah.

Paulette said...

I have never been to Utah (yet), but I bought a t-shirt a few years ago that says "Utah...but I'm taller."

It's cool that you really love your state. I can relate to that. When we have gone on vacations and come back, I see with new eyes the beauty in these rolling green hills dotted with farms.

One day I'll visit Utah. It looks like a beautiful place. I have relatives there and would also love to do some genealogical research at the LDS library.

Angie said...

I love living in NC because it is so lush and green and the Blue Ridge Mountains are like nothing I have ever seen. But there are days when I wish I could just look out and see for a hundred miles and far in the distance se what these mountains look like underneath. The purle ones and the orange ones and mesas and what-not. The best views of those kids of mountains are in utah! I think all creation is beautiful but it so nice to appreciate the creation that you can see and touch.

Unknown said...

According to the song, Utah is getting bigger? Do the surrounding states know that? :)
Wow, that's a ton o'facts about Utah. I'll use some of them this summer.

Jill said...

I'm proud to say I knew about half of the Utah facts. Though I've never heard that song (or the state hymn, for that matter).
I love it here, too. Even if our parking lots are always swarming with seagulls because it's illegal to bait them... ;OD

thea said...

We drove through Utah when we were moving to California and my son was pulled over for speeding. I must have been a fright in the back seat because the officer only gave him a warning!

Utah is certainly a beautiful state! Fun to see all the facts.

Baa-Me Kniits said...

I am so glad you posted all about Utah for FTF. I have two very good bloggy friends who hail from Utah and now I know so much more about where they and you come from. Very interesting and I must say from seeing photos also very beautiful :-)