State Nicknames and their Explanation

[Alabama - Georgia]   [Hawaii - Maryland]   [Massachusetts - New Jersey]
  [New Mexico - South Carolina]   [South Dakota - Wyoming]

Massachusetts
Early settlers were responsible for nicknaming the “Bay State” because of its proximity to several large bays. The “Old Colony State” refers to the original Plymouth colony.
source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer, Barbara S. Shearer ISBN 0313288623 1994

Michigan
Some people believe that Ohioans gave Michigan the nickname “The Wolverine State” around 1835 during a dispute over the Toledo strip, a piece of land along the border between Ohio and Michigan. Rumors in Ohio at the time described Michiganians as being as vicious and bloodthirsty as wolverines. This dispute became known as the Toledo War.

Another reason given for the nickname is a story that has Native Americans, during the 1830s, comparing Michigan settlers to wolverines. Some native people, according to this story, disliked the way settlers were taking the land because it made them think of how the gluttonous wolverine went after its food.

Another nickname for Michigan is the “Great Lake State.” Michigan's shores touch four of the five Great Lakes, and Michigan has more than 11,000 inland lakes. In Michigan, you are never more than 6 miles from an inland lake or more than 85 miles from a Great Lake. From 1969 to 1975 and from 1977 to 1983 Michigan's automobile license plates featured the legend, GREAT LAKE STATE.
source: http://www.sos.state.mi.us/history/michinfo/michfaq/michfaq.html

Minnesota
“L'Etoile du Nord” or “The Star of North” is the state motto of Minnesota. The “North Star State” has given people a sense of direction over the course of time.
Minnesota is known on its license plates as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” but Minnesota actually has 12,000 lakes.
source: http://www.state.mn.us/aam/aamp1-6.html

Mississippi
The “Magnolia State” is named because of the abundance of magnolia flowers and trees in the state. The magnolia is the official state flower and the official state tree.
source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer, Barbara S. Shearer

Missouri
“Show Me State” A name attributed to Representative Willard Van Diver. It connotes a certain self-deprecating stubbornness and devotion to simple common sense.
source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer, Barbara S. Shearer

Montana
“Treasure State” refers to the importance of mining in Montana.
source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer, Barbara S. Shearer

Nebraska
The 1945 Legislature changed the official state name to the
“Cornhusker State”. The name is derived from the nickname for the University of Nebraska athletic teams - the "Cornhuskers" - which was coined in 1900 by Charles S. "Cy" Sherman, a sportswriter for the Nebraska State Journal in Lincoln. "Cornhuskers" replaced earlier nicknames, such as "Golden Knights", "Antelopes", and "Bugeaters". The term "cornhusker" comes from the method of harvesting or "husking" corn by hand, which was common in Nebraska before the invention of husking machinery.
source: http://visitnebraska.org/nefacts/

Nevada
Called the “Silver State" because of its large silver mine industries. Named as the “Sage State” and the “Sagebrush State” for the wild sage that grows there prolifically.
source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer, Barbara S. Shearer

New Hampshire
Granite is the traditional rock in New Hampshire. It gave New Hampshire its nickname of “The Granite State.” New Hampshire once had a large industry surrounding the quarrying of granite.
source: http://www.state.nh.us/nhinfo/rock.html

New Jersey
A distinguished citizen of Camden, Hon. Abraham Browning , stirred the pride of Jerseymen by telling them, at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia, on New Jersey Day, August 24, 1876, that our “Garden State” is like a huge barrel, with both ends open, one of which is plucked by New York and the other by Pennsylvania.
source: http://www.state.nj.us/njfacts/garden.htm