New Jersey State Nickname
The Garden State
A distinguished citizen of Camden, Honorary Abraham Browning, stirred the pride of Jersey-men 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.
In 1954, the state legislature passed a bill to have “The Garden State” added to license plates. Before signing the bill into law, Governor Robert Meyner investigated the origins of the nickname and found “no official recognition of the slogan Garden State as an identification of the state of New Jersey.” He added, “I do not believe that the average citizen of New Jersey regards his state as more peculiarly identifiable with gardening for farming than any of its other industries or occupations.” Governor Meyner vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the veto. The slogan was added to license plates soon after.