Illinois’s ties to Scotland are deep, including several Scottish Societies as well as North America’s only Scottish Nursing Home located near Chicago.
The State of Illinois has its own official Scottish Tartan (plaid pattern). Designed by Frances Gillan of or for, the State of Illinois and the Illinois St. Andrews Society – a philanthropic body founded by Scots in 1854. The tartan was designed to mark the 150th anniversary in 1990. The colours represent the State of Illinois Flag, the Chicago Sports Teams, and the St Andrew’s flag. Sometimes regarded as the State Tartan, but it has never been adopted as such until June 2012.
Accepted as the Illinois State Tartan in June 2012 through House Bill 4492 in the Illinois Senate where it was unanimous (44 – 0). The final step was the signing in summer 2012 by Illinois State Governor Quinn.
The Chicago St. Andrew’s Society and the Chicago Scots are the oldest not-for-profits in Illinois. Established in 1845, the Illinois Saint Andrew Society, known today as the Chicago Scots, is the oldest 501(c)3 charity in Illinois. They represent one of the world’s largest Scottish cultural organizations. They also host the Highland Scottish Games every June.
Another large population of Scottish members are located in Central Illinois. This group provides Scottish Culture and Education to its members and has its own Saint Andrew Society Bag Pipe Band.
There are an estimated 6 million people in the US who claim Scottish descent. National Tartan Day in the United States is celebrated on April 6th. From the early colonial times, the predominance of Scots among the Founding Fathers was strong and claimed that the American Declaration of Independence was “modeled on” the Declaration of Arbroath.
The US Senate Resolution 155 to recognize National Tartan Day was passed on March 20, 1998. On March 9, 2005, the United States House of Representatives unanimously adopted House Resolution 41, which designates April 6 of each year as “National Tartan Day” and was signed into law by President Bush.
From that point onward, National Tartan Day was designated as a day for all Americans, particularly those of Scottish descent, to celebrate Scottish traditions and heritage.