Utah, the Beehive State: The Beehive as State Emblem

Original State Seal Watercolor

Original Watercolor of the Great Seal of the State of Utah. Utah State Archives, 1960.

The beehive has long represented Utah throughout its many stages of development, from pioneer settlement to state.

  • 1848: Chosen as the emblem for the provisional State of Deseret
  • 1851: Appeared on the seal of the Territory of Utah
  • 1896: Retained on the state seal by the first state legislature

However, it was not until March 4, 1959, with House Bill No. 34 that the state formally recognized the beehive as Utah’s official emblem.

In these uses, the beehive communicates the authority of the state and municipal governments and entities over the hive of Utah. Additionally, these beehives symbolize the many ways the state and its residents serve and represent Utah’s hive.

State Flag of Utah 2011- Present Design

State Flag of Utah 2011-Present Design. Utah State Archives, 2018.

Utah Flag Redesign by Organization for a New Utah Flag

Proposed Flag Re-Design. Organization for a New Utah Flag, 2018.

Flying "Hive"

Utah’s state flag features the Great Seal of the State of Utah centered on a dark blue backdrop. While details have changed over time and since been fixed, the flag’s essential elements have stayed the same since its original design. However, many think the flag’s design is difficult to see and is not aesthetically pleasing. Flag experts agree, saying it does not follow the guidelines for a well-designed flag.

Feeling a new, well-designed flag that symbolizes state pride and identity will aid in promoting Utah, former political candidate Richard Martin founded The Organization for a New Utah Flag in February 2018.

The organization’s proposed design prominently features the beehive, thereby graphically depicting Utah’s historical and continued connection to the beehive as symbolic of the state. This design was presented as House Bill 292 during the 2019 Utah legislative session, where it failed.

Should the flag be redesigned? How would you redesign it? Would you include the beehive?