State moves to - officially - have a nickname - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

State moves to - officially - have a nickname

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Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2009 6:46 pm | Updated: 1:22 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Quick: What's Arizona's official nickname? Think you know? You're probably wrong.

Templar: Let’s call it ‘Land of the Saguaro’

Truth be told, it's a trick question. Arizona has no official nickname, as state historian Marshall Trimble said he learned. But state lawmakers took the first steps Tuesday to change all that.

Trimble told members of the House Government Committee that he gets queries from around the world about the state. One of those, he said, came from a child inquiring about Arizona's nickname.

It's not, as he found out, "The Grand Canyon State," even though that's what's on license plates.

Nor, he found out, were some of the other names used for Arizona.

"Until 1959 we were the Baby State," Trimble said, having been 48th in admission to the union in 1912. That lasted until 1959 when Alaska - and a year later, Hawaii - became states and "spoiled that."

Arizona also has been called the Valentine State, Trimble said, because it became a state on Feb. 14.

"We were the Copper State," Trimble continued, as well as the Sunset State and the Apache State.

"And, believe it or not, the Sand Hills state," he said, something that "might have come from Yuma County."

Trimble brought the gap to the attention of Rep. Sam Crump, R-Anthem. He used his position as chairman of the House Government Committee to craft a measure to plug that hole, putting "The Grand Canyon State" into statute.

That panel went along unanimously, sending HB2019 to the full House.

If the bill becomes law, the nickname would join with the ridgenose rattlesnake as the state's official reptile, the cactus wren as state bird, turquoise as the state gemstone and the bola tie as the official state neckwear.

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