Date of Statehood: July 3, 1890
Population: 1,567,582 (2010)
Size: 83,568 square miles
Nickname(s): Gem State
Motto: Esto perpetua (“Let it be perpetual”)
Tree: Western White Pine
Bird: Mountain Bluebird
- Meriwether Lewis and members of the Corps of Discovery entered Idaho for the first time in 1805, making it the last of the U.S. states to be explored by European-Americans. Along with a reconnaissance team, William Clark attempted to find a passage across the Salmon River in August, but was deterred by the churning rapids and steep rock walls. The river is often referred to as “The River of No Return.”
- The state seal of Idaho is the only state seal in the United States designed by a woman. In 1891, Emma Edwards Green, who had previously attended art school in New York, entered and won a competition sponsored by the First Legislature for the State of Idaho with her depiction of a miner, a woman signifying justice and various state natural resources.
- Carved by the Snake River, Hell’s Canyon is North America’s deepest river gorge—even deeper than the Grand Canyon—with a width of ten miles and a depth of 7,913 feet below He Devil Peak in the Seven Devils Mountains.
- Idaho’s State Capitol, constructed between 1905 and 1920, is the only capitol building in the nation to be heated by geothermal water from a source 3,000 feet below the ground. In operation since 1982, the water system currently heats about 1.5 million square feet within the Capitol Mall complex.
- Author Ernest Hemingway, who won a Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man in the Sea in 1953 and who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature the following year, died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound in his home in Ketchum on July 2, 1961. A memorial, exhibit and festival held near Sun Valley pay tribute to the renowned author’s accomplishments and time spent in Idaho.
- Rigby, Idaho, is known as the birthplace of television. Inventor Philo Farnsworth, who grew up in the tiny town, reportedly sketched out the principle behind the technology for a high school science paper.