October 29, 2022 | Last updated Apr 3, 2024

Nebraska’s Gold, the Goldenrod

This souvenir postcard featuring Nebraska’s state flower is postmarked July 17, 1910, HN 11055-2966.

April 4 marks the anniversary of the designation of the goldenrod as Nebraska’s state flower in 1895. A legislative resolution giving the state a floral emblem was introduced by Representative L. P. Judd of Cedar Rapids and later signed into law by Governor Silas A. Holcomb on April 4, 1895. The measure was supported by University of Nebraska botanist Dr. Charles Bessey.

An article by Ida Brockman, daughter of Representative John M. Brockman of Stella, said: “There is probably not a nook or corner of the state where one or more of the numerous species of goldenrod are not found. It is a native and only a true native should be our representative. It has a long season, and nothing could better represent the hardy endurance of Nebraska’s pioneers.”

The designation of the goldenrod as Nebraska’s state floral emblem was not without some opposition. The Omaha Daily Bee reported on April 3, 1895, that if one legislator had had his way, the violet would have become our state flower. During debate in the upper house of Nebraska’s then two-house legislature, “Senator [John C.] Sprecher [of Schuyler] sought to substitute the violet for the golden rod, and in support of his motion made what is by unanimous consent conceded to be the address of the session. It had evidently been carefully prepared, and was as eloquently expressed as it was beautiful in conception. Senator [Charles H.] Sloan [of Geneva] championed the golden rod in an argument worthy of comparison, but evidently delivered on the spur of the moment. The golden rod triumphed, in spite of the poetic eloquence of Senator Sprecher.”

Nebraskans were proud of their new state floral emblem. September 17 was declared “Golden Rod Day” at the Nebraska State Fair in 1895. The Bee said on September 12: “A wagonload of the handsome plant has been secured and everyone within the gates of the fair upon that day will be presented with a spray, which he will be expected to wear as a boutonniere.”

– Patricia C. Gaster, Assistant Editor / Publications

Become a Member!

Our members make history happen.

Join Now

You May Also Enjoy

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

Nebraska’s Japanese American History

The Blacksmith Shop

The Blacksmith Shop

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Marker Monday: Long Pine – A Railroad Town

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

Fred Astaire’s Omaha Origins

How much is a teacher worth? What Nebraska paid teachers in the 1920s

How much is a teacher worth? What Nebraska paid teachers in the 1920s

About History Nebraska
History Nebraska was founded in 1878 as the Nebraska State Historical Society by citizens who recognized Nebraska was going through great changes and they sought to record the stories of both indigenous and immigrant peoples. It was designated a state institution and began receiving funds from the legislature in 1883. Legislation in 1994 changed History Nebraska from a state institution to a state agency. The division is headed by Interim Director and CEO Jill Dolberg. They are assisted by an administrative staff responsible for financial and personnel functions, museum store services, security, and facilities maintenance for History Nebraska.
Explore Nebraska
Discover the real places and people of our past at these History Nebraska sites.

Upcoming Events

View our new and upcoming events to see how you can get involved.

Become a Member

The work we do to discover, preserve, and share Nebraska's history wouldn't be possible without the support of History Nebraska members.

History Nebraska Education

Learn more about the educational programs provided at our museums, sites, and online.

History Nebraska Programs

Learn more about the programs associated with History Nebraska.

Latest Hall of Fame Inductee

The Nebraska Hall of Fame was established in 1961 to officially recognize prominent Nebraskans.

Listen to our Podcast

Listen to the articles and authors published in the Nebraska History Magazine with our new Nebraska History Podcast!

Nebraska Collections

History Nebraska's mission is to collect, preserve, and open our shared history to all Nebraskans.

Our YouTube Video Collection

Get a closer look at Nebraska's history through your own eyes, with our extensive video collections.

Additional Research Resources

History Nebraska Research and Reference Services help connect you to the material we collect and preserve.

Support History Nebraska
Make a cash donation to help us acquire, preserve, and interpret Nebraska’s history. Gifts to History Nebraska help leave a legacy and may help your taxes, too! Support the work of History Nebraska by donating to the History Nebraska Foundation today.

Volunteers are the heroes of History Nebraska. So much history, so little time! Your work helps us share access to Nebraska’s stories at our museums and sites, the reference room, and online.