Utah, the Beehive State: The Beehive as State Emblem
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.
As the official emblem of Utah, the beehive is still an element of the Great Seal of the State of Utah, as initially designed in 1896. The beehive also appears on the seals of Utah’s various governmental branches, offices, and positions. Additionally, counties, cities, and towns around the state frequently incorporate the beehive into their seals.
State entities, such as Utah Highway Patrol and Utah Army National Guard, along with municipal emergency services, likewise employ the beehive on their badges and other institutional materials.
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.
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.