Colorado State Song

"Where the Columbines Grow"

Written by Arthur J. Fynn
Music by Arthur J. Fynn

Adopted on May 8, 1915.

In 1915, after legislative debate, "Where the Columbines Grow" was adopted as the official state song on May 8, by an act of the General Assembly. Citation: Senate Bill 308, 1915; Colorado Revised Statute 24-80-909.

Colorado State Song:
"Where the Columbines Grow"

"Where the Columbines Grow"

Where the snowy peaks gleam in the moonlight,
above the dark forests of pine,
And the wild foaming waters dash onward,
toward lands where the tropic stars shine;
Where the scream of the bold mountain eagle,
responds to the notes of the dove
Is the purple robed West, the land that is best,
the pioneer land that we love.


The bison is gone from the upland,
the deer from the canyon has fled,
The home of the wolf is deserted,
the antelope moans for his dead,
The war whoop re-echoes no longer,
the Indian's only a name,
And the nymphs of the grove in their loneliness rove,
but the columbine blooms just the same.


Let the violet brighten the brookside,
in sunlight of earlier spring,
Let the fair clover bedeck the green meadow,
in days when the orioles sing,
Let the golden rod herald the autumn,
but, under the midsummer sky,
In its fair Western home, may the columbine bloom
till our great mountain rivers run dry.


Tis the land where the columbines grow,
Overlooking the plains far below,
While the cool summer breeze in the evergreen trees
Softly sings where the columbines grow.

Origin of Song: "Where the Columbines Grow"

"Where the Columbines Grow" was adopted as the official state song on May 8, 1915, by an act of the General Assembly. Citation: Senate Bill 308, 1915; Colorado Revised Statute 24-80-909.

Arthur J. Fynn, creator of "Where the Columbines Grow," was born and educated in New York. During 1889, he relocated to Central City to further his career in teaching, and later to Alamosa. In 1898, he joined the Colrado University faculty, and later received his doctorate.

Inspiration and motivation for creating the song arose during an 1896 camping trip to the San Juans when glace upon a multitude of columbines at Schinzel Flats. Under pressure from his wife, Fynn started writing in 1909, and the song was first published and publicly performed in 1911.

"Where the Columbines Grow" received many favorable reviews and an endorsement from the DAR. In 1915, after legislative debate, "Where the Columbines Grow" became the official state song.

Many critics complained that its lyrics did not contain the word "Colorado." And in 1916, the Colorado Federation of Women's Clubs unanimously voted for repeal.

Consequently in 1917, the legislature held a competition before a joint session, with four other songs in the running. "Columbines" won with 34 votes; "Skies Are Blue in Colorado" by Jim Ramey of Salida was second with 17.

However, the controversy didn't stop then. In 1947, Sen. John J. Harpel proposed substituting a military march, "Hail Colorado." And in 1960, Sen. Allegra Saunders wanted to drop it, but the Daughters of Colorado protested and defend the song successfully. And then in 1969, Rep. Betty Ann Dittemore iniatiated a bill to have "Colorado," also known as "If I Had a Wagon" made the state song, the bill died in committee.

Colorado Law

The law designating the song  "Where the Columbines Grow", as the official Colorado state song is found in the COLORADO REVISED STATUTES reflecting changes current through all laws passed at the First Regular Session of the Seventieth General Assembly of the State of Colorado (2015)


C.R.S. 24-80-909 (2013)

24-80-909. State song

That certain song entitled "Where the Columbines Grow", the words of which were written by A. J. Fynn and the music of which was composed by A. J. Fynn, is hereby adopted as the official state song of Colorado to be used on all appropriate occasions.

HISTORY: Source: L. 15: p. 446, § 1.C.L. § 491.CSA: C. 152, § 9.CRS 53: § 131-8-9. C.R.S. 1963: § 131-8-9.

State Songs
US State Songs
Forty-nine states of the United States (all except New Jersey) have one or more state songs, selected by the state legislature as a symbol of the state.