In 1993, handweaver Ralf Hartwell, of Newton decided that the state needed a tartan for the 20th Anniversary of the New Hampshire Highland Games in 1995. Hartwell designed a tartan with unique color tones, which require special dye lots to be prepared for the coloring process. The Tartan Educational and Cultural Association and the International Association of Tartan Studies reviewed and verified the tartan design as original and authentic.
State Representative Stephen Avery arranged for Governor Stephen Merrill to proclaim the Tartan as the State Tartan of New Hampshire in June 1994. In January 1995, Avery introduced a bill in the New Hampshire General Court for permanent recognition of the tartan, which was signed into law May 1995.
The colors represent the following:
- Purple represents the purple finch and the purple lilac, the state bird and the state flower;
- Green represents the green of the forests;
- Black represents the granite mountains
- White represents the snow; and
- Red represents all state heroes.
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