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Discovering Vermont: A Guide to the State’s Rich Symbols

Vermont is one of the most beautiful states in the U.S., full of scenic landscapes and over 220 green mountains which gave rise to its nickname the ‘Green Mountain’ state. Vermont also has numerous fertile valleys which support dairy, vegetable, crop and fruit production along with cattle, goats, horses and emu. A state rich in culture and heritage, Vermont is visited by nearly 13 million people from all over the world each year and tourism is one of its largest industries.

Vermont received its name from the French for green mountain which is ‘montagne verte’. It was initially an independent republic for 14 years before it finally joined the Union in 1791. It became the 14th U.S. state and has since then adopted several symbols to represent it. Here’s a list of some of the most important state symbols of Vermont, both official and unofficial.  

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State Flag of Vermont

The current flag of Vermont features the state coat of arms and motto ‘Freedom and Unity’ on a blue, rectangular background. The flag symbolizes the forests of Vermont, the agriculture and dairy industries and the wildlife.

Flag of Vermont
Flag of Vermont

Several versions of the state flag have been used throughout the history of Vermont. Initially, the flag was exactly the same as that of the Green Mountain Boys. Later on, it was changed to resemble the U.S. flag, with a blue canton and white and red stripes. Since there much confusion because of the similarities between the two flags, it was changed yet again.

The final design of the flag was adopted by the Vermont General Assembly in 1923 and has been used ever since.

Coat of Arms of Vermont

The state coat of arms of Vermont consists of a shield with a pine tree in its center, which is the state tree of Vermont. The cow signifies the state’s dairy industry and the sheaves on the left side represent agriculture. In the background is the Green Mountain range with Mount Mansfield on the left and Camel’s Hump on the right.

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Coat of arms of Vermont
Coat of arms of Vermont

The shield is supported by two pine branches on each side, symbolizing the state’s forests, while the stag’s head on the crest represents the wildlife. The emblem was first used in 1807 on the $5 banknotes of the State Bank. Today it’s featured on the great seal of the state as well as on the state flag.

Seal of Vermont

Vermont adopted its state seal in 1779 before achieving statehood. Designed by Ira Allen and carved by Reuben Dean, the seal depicts several symbols that were of great importance to the settlers, which are also found on the coat of arms. These include a cow and wheat which represent farming, and wavy lines and trees signifying lakes and mountains. 

Some say the pine tree in the middle of the seal symbolizes freedom from England while others say that it stands for peace, wisdom and fertility. On the lower half of the seal is the state motto as a reminder of protecting freedom and working together as one state.

State Gem: Grossular Garnet

Grossular garnets are a type of mineral composed of calcium and aluminium, ranging from bright pink and yellow to olive green to reddish brown.  

There are many mythical stories and interesting beliefs about grossular garnets. Some say they have certain healing properties with the ability to relieve skin conditions and provide protection against poisons. Around 500 years ago, it was believed to drive away demons and used to repel insects.  

Some of the best grossular garnets come from Mount Lowell, Eden Mills and Mount Belvidere in Vermont. In 1991, the grossular garnet was named the official gem of the state.

State Flower: Red Clover

Vermont red clover
Red Clover

The red clover (Trifolium pratense) is an herbaceous flowering plant native to Western Asia and northwest Africa, but it has been planted and naturalized in other continents like the Americas. It’s often planted for ornamental reasons due to its beauty but can also be used for cooking.

The flowers and leaves of the red clover are edible and make popular garnishes for any dish. They’re also ground into flour and used to make tisanes and jelly. The essential oils in these plants can also be extracted and its attractive and unique scent is often used in aromatherapy.

A popular flower in Vermont, the red clover was designated as the state flower by the General Assembly in 1894.

State Animal: Morgan Horse

Morgan horse

The Morgan horse is a horse breed known to be one of the earliest horse breeds developed in the U.S. It’s a refined, compact breed that’s generally black, chestnut or bay in color, known for its versatility. It’s also known and loved for its intelligence, strength and beauty. 

All Morgan horses can be traced back to one foundation sire, a stallion called ‘Figure’, born in Massachusetts in 1789. Figure was gifted as a debt payment to a man called Justin Morgan and over time he became popular known by the name of his owner.

The ‘Justin Morgan horse’ later evolved into a breed name and became a legend, known for its skills and capabilities. In 1961, the Morgan horse was named the official animal of the state of Vermont.

The Robert Frost Farm

Also known as Homer Noble Farm, the Robert Frost Farm is a national historic landmark in Ripton town, Vermont. The farm consists of 150 acres of property in the Green Mountains where Robert Frost, the famous American poet, lived during the fall and summer months and wrote until 1963. He did most of his writing in a modest little cabin there and he kept a huge collection of literature that was later donated to the Jones Public Library in Massachusetts by his family. The farm is now the property of Middlebury College and is open to the public during daylight hours.

Randall Lineback

The Randall or Randall Lineback is a purebred cattle breed developed in Vermont on a farm belonging to Samuel Randall. It’s an extremely rare breed that’s said to have descended from the local cattle in New England back in the 19th century. The Randall’s had a closed herd for more than 80 years.

The Randall Cattle originally served as meat, draft and dairy cattle. Today, they’re mostly found in the Eastern U.S. and Canada. The Randall lineback breed was designated as the official state heritage livestock breed in Vermont in 2006.

State Mineral: Talc

Talc is a type of clay mineral that’s composed entirely of hydrated magnesium silicate. It’s used as baby powder, a.k.a. talc, when in powdered form and usually mixed with corn starch. Talc is also used as a lubricant and thickening agent and it’s also an important ingredient in paint, ceramics, roofing material and cosmetics.

Talc is metamorphic and formed within the thin slivers of the ocean crust left after the continents collided. It’s green in color, very soft and is commonly found in the state of Vermont. In 1990, Vermont was one of the main talc-producing states and in 1991 talc was adopted as the official state mineral.

Naulakha (Rudyard Kipling House)

Naulakha, or the Rudyard Kipling House, is a historic house located on Kipling Road in the town of Dummerston, Vermont. Built in 1893, the house is a shingle-style structure, strongly associated with author Rudyard Kipling who lived in it for three years.

During this time, Kipling wrote some of his best works ‘The Seven Seas’, ‘The Jungle Book’ and did some work on ‘The Just So Stories’. He named the house ‘Naulakha’ after the ‘Naulakha Pavilion’ which is situated in Lahore Fort. Today, the house is owned by the Landmark trust and is rented out to the public.  It remains a much-loved destination for people from all over the world, especially fans of Kipling.

Beluga Whale Skeleton

Beluga whale

The Beluga whale is a small aquatic mammal also known as the white whale. Beluga whales are highly social, living and hunting in groups of 2-25 whales per group. They enjoy singing and do it so loudly to one another that they’re sometimes referred to as ‘sea canaries’. Today, the beluga can be found only in the Arctic Ocean and its adjoining seas.

Beluga skeletons were found near Charlotte, Vermont back in 1849 and in 1993, the beluga was adopted as the official state marine fossil of Vermont. Vermont is the only U.S. state that has a fossil as a symbol from a species which still exists today.

State Quarter of Vermont

Released as the 14th coin in the 50 State Quarters Program in August 2001, the coin displays Camel’s Hump Mountain and some maple trees with sap buckets in the foreground. The maple trees were the nation’s biggest sugar source until the 1800’s when cane sugar was introduced. Vermont’s nickname as the ‘Green Mountain State’ is due to its magnificent mountains covered entirely in evergreen trees which are featured on the state quarter. The obverse features the bust of George Washington, the first president of the U.S.A.

Check out our related articles on other popular state symbols:

Symbols of Indiana

Symbols of Wisconsin

Symbols of Pennsylvania

Symbols of Montana

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Dani Rhys
Dani Rhys

Dani Rhys has worked as a writer and editor for over 15 years. She holds a Masters degree in Linguistics and Education, and has also studied Political Science, Ancient History and Literature. She has a wide range of interests ranging from ancient cultures and mythology to Harry Potter and gardening. She works as the chief editor of Symbol Sage but also takes the time to write on topics that interest her.