The abundance of pink and white Mountain Laurel dotting the mountainsides of Pennsylvania in Mid-June give the appearance of a pastel watercolor. The flower was chosen as the official State Flower on May 5,1933 over Governor Pinchot's choice of the azalea. Seems Mrs. Pinchot and the Senate preferred the Mountain Laurel and they prevailed upon the Governor to change his mind.
On June 23, 1931 the Ruffed Grouse was designated the State Bird because early settlers relied on this plump, red-brown bird with the feathery legs as part of their food supply. Sometimes called a Partridge, the Ruffed Grouse is still a familiar sight in Pennsylvania's forest.
This patriarch of Pennsylvania's forest was chosen as the State tree on June 23, 1931, along with the State Bird, the Ruffed Grouse, since early settlers relied on both for survival. Many pioneer families felt protected from the elements living in log homes made from this sturdy tree.
Pennsylvania's flag shows its coat of arms, dating back to 1770. Supported by rearing black horses on either side and adorned with the American eagle on top, the shield's ship symbolizes Pennsylvania's history of worldwide trade; the plow and sheaves of wheat represent its abundant harvests. The state motto "Virtue, Liberty, and Independence" appears on a red banner below.
" . . . our nation rests on public opinion and can never be cemented by the blood of its citizens shed in civil war."
Buchanan was born on April 23, 1791 in Mercersburg at his family's 300-acre estate. He graduated from the prestigious Dickinson College at the age of 18 and went on to study law. When he was still a young bachelor he built his dream home, a mansion which he called Wheatland. He became a respected Congressman, Senator, a minister to Russia and Great Britain and Secretary of State under Polk. But by the time he was elected President, he was tired of the pull of politics. Like Fillmore and Pierce before him, Buchanan got caught in the slavery crossfire. He tried desperately to appease both proslavery and antislavery Americans, and ended up angering both. His Secretary of State resigned when Buchanan didn't reinforce troops in South Carolina; his Secretary of War resigned when he did. At the end of his term Buchanan gladly handed over the office to Lincoln, saying "If you are as happy about coming to live here as I am about returning to Wheatland, you are a happy man, indeed."