50 States, 50 Facts

Fun facts

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The US is a vast and interesting place. Here’s one weird fact about each of the 50 states…

In the Alabama town of Magnolia Springs, residents get their mail delivered by boat.

Alaska considers it — quite rightly! — an offense to push a live moose out of a moving aircraft.

Moose crossing a road in Alaska Moose crossing a road in Alaska — Shutterstock

A bridge built in 1831 across the Thames in London was disassembled and sold in 1967. It now crosses part of the Colorado River at Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

Despite Arkansas being one of the poorest states in the US, it’s one of the most generous, with residents giving, on average, $736 to charity in 2020.

Los Angeles county, California, has a larger population on its own than 40 other US states.

Colorado is home to the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival. It honors Grandpa Bredo, a Norwegian man whose dead body is stored in a home-made cryonics facility… in a shed.

On 21 February 1878, the first-ever telephone directory was published. A single sheet of cardboard, it listed 50 numbers of businesses, offices, and individuals in New Haven, Connecticut.

In Delaware, chickens outnumber people by about 200 to 1.

Wallace, Idaho is the center of the universe

Winter in Downtown Wallace, Idaho Winter in Downtown Wallace, Idaho — Shutterstock

Ochopee, Florida is home to the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters, investigating sightings of the “around seven to nine” Bigfoot-like creatures that apparently live in the Everglades.

There are 71 streets in Atlanta, Georgia alone that have the word Peachtree in their name.

The state fish of Hawaii is the Humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (or the reef triggerfish if you prefer).

Wallace, Idaho is the center of the universe. It was declared to be so by the town’s mayor in 2004, with his argument being that if people didn’t agree they simply had to “prove that it isn’t”.

Illinois has over 9,500 fast-food restaurants and was the site of the first Dairy Queen (Joliet, 1940) and the first McDonald’s franchise (Des Plaines, 1955).

Creator Jim Davis says he wants people “to think that he lives next door”, but in fact Garfield the cat is from Muncie, Indiana.

Beware of Iowa’s suicidal deer

To make motorists more aware of the dangers of deer appearing in the road in Iowa, officials erected a series of signs stating “Suicidal Deer — Next 2 Miles”.

Kansas is often described as “flat as a pancake”, so in 2003 geographers tested this theory using a digital model of an IHOP pancake. Turns out Kansas is even flatter!

You can thank Kentucky for 30 seconds of grinning embarrassment every year: originally known as Good Morning to All, the song Happy Birthday to You was written in Louisville by sisters Mildred and Patty Hill in 1893.

Louisiana is the only state whose legal system is based on the Napoleonic Code. All others follow English common law.

Maine is the closest US state to Africa.

Where do you live? In Boring, Maryland

 

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Maryland is home to a number of towns with unusual names, including Accident, Hurry, Fair Play, Secretary, Mattawoman, Boring, and Crapo. 

Beginning May 17, 2004, Massachusetts was the first US state to legalize same-sex marriage.

Arcadia, Michigan, was the birthplace of Harriet Quimby, the first woman to fly across the English Channel. Her feat went almost unnoticed by the media due to the Titanic sinking the day before.

Known as the Land of 10,000 Lakes, Minnesota actually has 11,842 of 10 acres or more, and there’s one pleasure boat for every six people.

The University of Mississippi’s Marijuana Research Center is the only federally-funded project devoted to growing cannabis to investigate its medical applications.

Kansas City, Missouri claims to have more fountains than any other city in the world apart from Rome.

Going for a drink in Montana? If you ask for a drink “ditch”, it means with water (for example “whiskey ditch” will get you a whiskey and water).

It will take you 288 years to stay in all of Las Vegas’ hotel rooms

Las Vegas strip in the eveningLas Vegas strip in the evening — Shutterstock

The Memorial Stadium, home to the Nebraska Cornhuskers football team, sees crowds of over 90,000. On game days it becomes the third most-populated place in the state after Omaha (434,000) and Lincoln (268,000).

Las Vegas, Nevada, has so many hotel rooms that if you slept in a different one every night, it would take you approximately 288 years to stay in them all.

New Hampshire has a perennial presidential candidate named Vermin Supreme. He’s known for wearing a boot on his head, and his campaigns are run on a platform of zombie apocalypse awareness, a free pony for every American, and a law requiring people to brush their teeth.

Joseph Bonaparte — King of Naples and King of Spain — moved to Bordentown, New Jersey after his younger brother Napoleon was toppled from power.

Deming, New Mexico is home to the Great American Duck Race, not to mention the Duck Parade, and the Duck Royalty Pageant.

To prove to residents of New York (City and State) that Brooklyn Bridge was safe, in 1884 showman and circus founder PT Barnum marched 21 elephants and 17 camels from one end to the other.

Brooklyn Bridge, New YorkBrooklyn Bridge, New York — Marivi Pazos / Unsplash

Pepsi was invented in North Carolina by drugstore clerk Caleb Bradham. He originally gave it the less-inspiring name of “Brad’s Drink”.

Not a single second of the movie Fargo was shot in Fargo, nor in the other North Dakota town of Brainerd that features strongly in the plot.

Ohio’s Oberlin College became the first in the US to admit women (1833) and African-Americans (1835).

Oklahoma is home to the American Pigeon Museum. It invites “pigeon-fanciers and non-pigeon people alike” to learn about “man’s oldest feathered friend”.

Want to buy a ghost town? Go to Oregon

 

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Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was named after William Pitt the Elder. Debate still rages about whether he or Lord Palmerston was England’s greatest Prime Minister.

In 2012, Rhode Island became the first state to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights, legally ensuring homeless people equal access to jobs, housing, and services.

South Carolina’s Lake Murray claims to be home to a creature similar to the Loch Ness Monster. It’s called, somewhat predictably, Messie.

Wessington Springs, South Dakota is the site of a replica of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, the house where Shakespeare’s wife lived as a child. It’s the only thatched building in the Midwest.

Lynchburg, Tennessee is where Jack Daniel’s whiskey is made. However, you can’t actually buy it there, as Moore County, where Lynchburg is located, is a dry county.

King Ranch, Texas covers 1,289 square miles. This single ranch is larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Some restaurants and bars in Utah have what’s known as a Zion Curtain, a partition designed to keep minors from seeing alcohol being poured. Establishments without must ensure that minors are at least 10 feet from anywhere alcohol is served.

Vermont, where the pigs like Ben&Jerry’s ice cream

Ben & Jerry’s give their ice-cream waste to a local Vermont farmer to help feed his pigs. Apparently the pigs like every flavor except Mint Oreo Cookie.

Virginia handles around 70% of the world’s internet traffic via data centers in what’s known as the Dulles Technology Corridor.

There is a 5m tall statue of Lenin in Seattle, Washington. Originally intended for the town of Poprad in what is now Slovakia, it was installed in the Fremont district in 1995.

In 1949, residents of Mole Hill, West Virginia, changed the name of their town to Mountain, thus making a mountain out of a molehill. Ba-dum, tsh.

The Dairy State takes its produce very seriously, banning the production and sale of margarine from 1895 to 1967. Even now, it’s illegal to serve margarine in place of butter in Wisconsin unless the customer requests it.

Due to the number of fossils found there, in 1994 Wyoming declared that there would be an official state dinosaur. Elementary school kids were asked to choose and plumped for the Triceratops.

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