Arkansas the Natural State Bet You Don’t Know the Other Names
Every state across this great American country has a catchy slogan, motto, or nickname that defines its region. Most of the time those mottos find their way onto license plates or water tanks.
Land of Opportunity
For example, before Arkansas became known as the Natural State, Arkansas was known as the "Land of Opportunity." In 1941, the popular slogan was seen all over the state on the bottom of license plates up until 1995 when Representative Dennis Young from Miller County (Texarkana) introduced formal legislation to begin calling it the "Natural State" because of the state's plush landscape, resources, and natural beauty. The Natural State slogan caught on like wildfire and it still remains the state's name.
However, did you know before we were known as the "Land of Opportunity" and the "Natural State" there were several other slogans that Arkansas was named?
Let's take a look.
The Bear State
One of the earliest nicknames given to Arkansas was the "Bear State" early settlers chose this name because of the many black bears living in the forested regions of the state during that period. Research has shown there were at least 16 types of bear species roaming the land, however, the number of bears roaming the hills has dwindled today. According to the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission around 3,000 black bears are still out there at last report.
The Wonder State
A group of Arkansas businessmen in 1923 was working to attract economic investments to the state, the men were able to garner some political backing from the Arkansas General Assembly to adopt the "Wonder State" as its slogan. Former Arkansas Governor Charles H. Brough was the one that came up with the name as he traveled around the state.
The Toothpick State
This rather bizarre name was given to Arkansas by early pioneers and trappers who were exploring the land and because of the many black bears in the state, the pioneers would carry a double-edged knife called a "dink or "dagger." During that time Arkansas' reputation was a little rough side, thus the name toothpick state.
This one is just plain strange, it's not really certain where it came from and exactly what it meant other than the fact that Arkansas has always been portrayed as the hillbilly state, and when the cartoon strip "Lum and Abner" came out it didn't help matters at all. The origin looks to have been started in the Mountain Home area by Arkansas native Jimmy Driftwood of the Rackensack Folklore Society for which he started. During that period, Arkansas bluegrass folk music was born which led to the Ozark Folk Center where today they still have music festivals every year to celebrate the occasion. Jimmy's most famous song he wrote was the "Battle of New Orleans," recorded by Johnny Horton in 1959.
So, there you go, you should all be caught up on Arkansas' nicknames and slogans. Hopefully, you learned something you didn't know and when someone asks, now you know.
I'm still waiting for someone to adopt "Razorback Country" as a state slogan. The good news is that the state allows personalized plates on the front of your vehicle in Arkansas.