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Going Local / United States of America Seal / Montana, MT State Seal

Montana, MT State Seal

Montana, MT State Seal

The Great Seal of the State of Montana is a vivid symbol of all that is special about Big Sky Country.

The Great Seal of the State of Montana evolved from a basic design submitted by Francis McGee Thompson, a representative from Beaverhead County at the First Legislative Assembly at Bannack, the Territorial capital, during the winter of 1864-65.

Thompson's design contained the words "Oro el Plata, two of the riches that gave rise to the nickname Treasure State. This was changed to read "Oro y Plata," Spanish for gold and silver. Indeed, it is interesting to note that during the first Territorial legislative deliberations on this subject, consideration was given to using the word "Eldorado" instead of "Oro y Plata." This proposal of was voted down.

The seal also features a plow and a miner's pick and shovel above these words to illustrate the state's agricultural and mineral wealth. These are surrounded by the mountains for which Montana was named, as well as by the Great Falls of the Missouri River, which so dazzled explorers Lewis and Clark.

The Territorial resolution accepting Thompson's design was passed on February 9, 1865, and signed the same day by Territorial Governor Sidney Edgerton. The resolution read, "The Territorial seal shall as a central group represent a plow, a miners pick and shovel, upon the left mountain scenery, underneath as a motto the words Oro el Plata. The seal shall be two inches in diameter and surrounded by these words, The Seal of the Territory of Montana."

The original designers of the seal were members of a legislative committee chaired by Francis M. Thompson, in the days when Montana was still a territory. Thompson was not without some expertise he had engraved seals for Montana's first mining districts on the ends of ax handles. The committee wanted to incorporate into the design the essential elements of Montana's economy and its natural attributes. The first seal included bison and other animals, but later designers who thought the seal was too cluttered removed these. Thompson, who came to the Territory from Massachusetts in 1862, returned to his home state in 1865. His original hand drawn design for the seal is preserved in the Historical Society of Montana.

When Montana changed from a territory to a state in 1889, the seal changed, too. In 1891, shortly after Montana became a state, legislators debated the design of the seal at length and suggested adding Indians, settlers, miners, horses, sheep, cattle -- even a train or stagecoach. Recognizing that the seal could quickly become overpopulated, the lawmakers finally decided to leave well enough alone. Montana's first seal had a buffalo where the trees are now, and the falls and river were different, but it was very close to the original. They satisfied themselves with changing the word "Territory" to "State."

The Territorial seal was used until the Third Legislative Assembly that the basic design received sanction as The Great Seal of the State of Montana. The adopting resolution was passed March 2, 1893. Two years later the man who made the drawings for the State seal, based on the original Territorial design was paid $20 for his work. House Bill 178, official March 2, 1895, directed "That the sum of twenty dollars be, and the same is hereby appropriated out of any moneys in the State Treasury not otherwise appropriated, for the relief of G.R. Metten for services rendered the State in the year 1893, drawing designs for the Great Seal of Montana."




List of 50 State Seales of the United States

Alaska State Seal
Alaska State Seal

Alabama State Seal
Alabama State Seal

Arkansas State Seal
Arkansas State Seal

Arizona State Seal
Arizona State Seal

California State Seal
California State Seal

Colorado State Seal
Colorado State Seal

Connecticut State Seal
Connecticut State Seal

Delaware State Seal
Delaware State Seal

Florida State Seal
Florida State Seal

Georgia State Seal
Georgia State Seal

Hawaii State Seal
Hawaii State Seal

Iowa State Seal
Iowa State Seal

Idaho State Seal
Idaho State Seal

Illinois State Seal
Illinois State Seal

Indiana State Seal
Indiana State Seal

Kansas State Seal
Kansas State Seal

Kentucky State Seal
Kentucky State Seal

Louisiana State Seal
Louisiana State Seal

Massachusetts State Seal
Massachusetts State Seal

Maryland State Seal
Maryland State Seal

Maine State Seal
Maine State Seal

Michigan State Seal
Michigan State Seal

Minnesota State Seal
Minnesota State Seal

Missouri State Seal
Missouri State Seal

Mississippi State Seal
Mississippi State Seal

Montana State Seal
Montana State Seal

North Carolina State Seal
North Carolina State Seal

North Dakota State Seal
North Dakota State Seal

Nebraska State Seal
Nebraska State Seal

New Hampshire State Seal
New Hampshire State Seal

New Jersey State Seal
New Jersey State Seal

New Mexico State Seal
New Mexico State Seal

Nevada State Seal
Nevada State Seal

New York State Seal
New York State Seal

Ohio State Seal
Ohio State Seal

Oklahoma State Seal
Oklahoma State Seal

Oregon State Seal
Oregon State Seal

Pennsylvania State Seal
Pennsylvania State Seal

Rhode Island State Seal
Rhode Island State Seal

South Carolina State Seal
South Carolina State Seal

South Dakota State Seal
South Dakota State Seal

Tennessee State Seal
Tennessee State Seal

Texas State Seal
Texas State Seal

Utah State Seal
Utah State Seal

Virginia State Seal
Virginia  State Seal

Vermont State Seal
Vermont State Seal

Washington State Seal
Washington State Seal

Wisconsin State Seal
Wisconsin State Seal

West Virginia State Seal
West Virginia State Seal

Wyoming State Seal
Wyoming State Seal


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