strange facts
Shutterstock

Illinois from The Strangest Facts About Every State Slideshow

The Strangest Facts About Every State Slideshow

Can you guess a strange fact about your state?
strange facts
Shutterstock

The Strangest Facts About Every State

The Strangest Facts About Every State
Shutterstock

We’ve recently shared with you the prettiest towns in every state and the weirdest laws each state has on the books, but there is still so much to discover about the wildly diverse local histories and cultures unique to each state. Things are always happening in every corner of the country and we rarely find out about some of the more unique happenings until much later, if at all. For instance, did you know that thieves continuously stole mile marker 420 in Colorado until, after much frustration and probably many eye rolls, the state decided to place a mile marker 419.99 in its place instead? Well played, Colorado.

The United States is riddled with random facts that likely won’t serve much purpose outside of winning trivia games, but it’s still interesting to discover that Wisconsin is responsible for splinter-free toilet paper (how scary would paper with splinters be?); that a coal mine has been burning below the surface of a town in Pennsylvania for 50 years, driving out almost all residents, save for seven; and that Louisiana is home to the world’s longest continuous bridge over water at 24 miles long. Check out the rest of our list to find out what strange facts lurk in the history of the remaining 46 U.S. states.

Alabama

Alabama
istockphoto.com

The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, is where lost luggage goes to be reborn. It is organized by department — women’s, men’s, formal wear, electronics, books, fine jewelry, footwear, and of course luggage — to make it easier for you to find what you’re looking for in the 40,000-square-foot store.

 

Alaska

Alaska
Shutterstock

In Alaska, the sun can shine for up to 20 hours during the summer months. For this reason, plants in the state, particularly cabbage, can grow to be abnormally large. According to NPR, the longer exposure to sunlight contributes to the sweetness of produce.

Arizona

Arizona
istockphoto.com

If you live in the small towns of Supai and Phantom Town deep in the Grand Canyon, a mule will bring you your mail. The Havasupai tribe lives in this area, and visitors are allowed (upon acceptance) to stay with the tribe overnight. The area is also home to one of America’s beautiful secret swimming holes.

Arkansas

Arkansas
Shutterstock

If you find a diamond while scouring the field at the Crater of Diamonds, you are allowed to keep the gem. If you are serious about your search, the center rents out mining tools that you can use. The colors of the diamonds you’ll likely find here include white, brown, and yellow. This is the only diamond mine in the country.

California

California
Shutterstock

It may surprise many to discover that fortune cookies were actually invented in the Golden State. There has been much debate over whether or not it was created by Bekyodo Bakery in San Francisco or by David Jung’s Hong Kong Noodle Company in Los Angeles. Although the Court of Historical Review sided with San Francisco on the matter, LA denounced the ruling. Regardless of which side you’re on, it’s safe to note the cookie was indeed invented in California.

Colorado

Colorado
istockphoto.com

After the continuous theft of Colorado’s mile marker 420, the state decided to thwart thieves by replacing it with a mile marker of 419.99.

Connecticut

Connecticut
istockphoto.com

The lollipop (originally “Lolly Pop”) received its name in New Haven, Connecticut, from inventor George Smith, who trademarked the name in 1931. Reports claim the name was inspired by the name of a race horse, Lolly Pop.

Delaware

Delaware
Shutterstock

Delaware is the only state in the U.S. that doesn’t have a National Park, or any site included in the National Park Service domain. This fact may surprise travelers, but Senator Thomas Carper is working to change that.

Florida

Florida
istockphoto.com

Florida is known for many strange things — a list that seems to grow every day — but one of the weirdest facts about Florida is that the state is home to the Psychic Capital of the World, Cassadaga.

Georgia

Georgia
Shutterstock

In Gainesville, Georgia, you can be arrested for trying to eat fried chicken with a fork. The law says it is only legal to eat fried chicken with your hands, and at times it is indeed enforced.

Hawaii

Hawaii
Shutterstock

Considering Hawaii has an entire food festival dedicated to spam, it may not shock you to know that Hawaiians eat more spam than any other state in America.

Idaho

Idaho
istockphoto.com

While most of the country is watching the ball drop in Times Square through their televisions on New Year’s Eve, Idaho drops a huge potato when midnight strikes.

Illinois

Illinois
Shutterstock

Until 1969, the official language of Illinois was technically “American” as opposed to English. This was set into law in 1923 when Representative Washington J. McCormick was trying to make “American” the country’s official language, and even though it failed as a bill on the national level, he was able to convince the congressmen of Illinois to make the change.

Indiana

Indiana
istockphoto.com

In 1897 there was a movement by the state’s legislature to round up the lengthy decimal value of pi to 3.2, for convenience of course. The Indiana Pi Bill never became law — close call — but the Hoosier pie (with three letters) remains the official state dessert.

Iowa

Iowa
istockphoto.com

Iowa has several facts one might view as strange, but the one that’s truly the best is the fact that there are roughly seven times more pigs in the state than there are people — with slightly more than 20 million pigs in the state and only about 3 million people. Did someone say bacon?

Kansas

Kansas
Jonathan Weiss/Shutterstock.com

Pizza lovers will be interested in learning about Kansas’ history (or may already know this tidbit). The Pizza Hut franchise was born in Kansas, with their very first restaurant having opened in Wichita in 1958 and the first franchise location opening in Topeka in 1960.

Kentucky

Kentucky
Shutterstock

When people think of Kentucky, most will think bourbon — but do people think of wine? Surprisingly, Kentucky is home to America’s first commercial winery, fittingly named First Vineyard.

Louisiana

Louisiana
pisaphotography/Shutterstock.com

Louisiana has the longest continuous bridge over water in the world, according to the Guinness World Records. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is nearly 24 miles long and connects the towns of Metairie and Mandeville.

Maine

Maine
istockphoto.com

Until 2003, Maine’s town of Strong was the Toothpick Capital of the World, creating 90 percent of the country’s supply. However, all factories have since closed down, and the town no longer makes any toothpicks.

Maryland

Maryland
istockphoto.com

If you own a toilet in Maryland (and we really hope you do) you’re being taxed $2.50 a month for that luxury.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts

Lake Webster in Massachusetts has another name that doesn’t exactly stick as easily, and is mouthful to say. The name? Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. Try saying that in one breath.

Michigan

Michigan
Shutterstock

Michigan is the only state in the country made up of two peninsulas — the Upper Peninsula and Lower Peninsula — with the Straits of Mackinac separating the two. Due to this unique geography, it also has the longest freshwater coastline in the world.

Minnesota

Minnesota
istockphoto.com

You might think a state notorious for retirees, like Florida, would be where you’d find the most golfers, but you’d be wrong. Apparently that title is saved for Minnesota, which has more golfers per capita than any other state in America.

Mississippi

Mississippi
istockphoto.com

The world can thank Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor in Mississippi for making the already difficult process of buying shoes somewhat easier by selling them in pairs. What now seems obvious to most was not the norm before 1884.

Missouri

Missouri
Shutterstock

Missouri is home to over 6,000 caves, so it’s no wonder why it’s also known as the Cave State.

Montana

Montana
Shutterstock

If the cows in Montana ever wanted to rebel against humans, they’d likely win, considering they outnumber the amount of people living in the state.

Nebraska

Nebraska
istockphoto.com

Nebraska may have the koolest state drink in the country. Since Kool-Aid was invented here, the drink became the official beverage of Nebraska.

Nevada

Nevada
istockphoto.com

It’s doubtful that many will be shocked by strange facts about Nevada (home of Sin City), but it should be noted that there’s a slot machine for every eight residents.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire
istockphoto.com

When you wake up to those pestering alarm clock sounds every morning, you can roll over and thank Levi Hutchins for getting you up. In 1787 he invented the first alarm clock in New Hampshire

New Jersey

New Jersey
istockphoto.com

Those from New Jersey may already know that their state has the most diners of any state in the U.S., but it’s also home to the longest boardwalk in the world, located in Atlantic City.

New Mexico

New Mexico
istockphoto.com

The first atomic bomb was tested in the Jornado del Muerto desert of New Mexico in 1945. Years later the site where this turning point in history took place became a National Historic Landmark.

New York

New York
istockphoto.com

There are few buildings in the country large enough to have their own ZIP code, and in New York there’s only one — the Empire State Building. This 102-story skyscraper was given its own unique postal code in 1980, as if it needed more reasons to stand out.

North Carolina

North Carolina
istockphoto.com

North Carolina has long been deemed the Furniture Capital of the World. The High Point Market furniture exhibition is held here twice a year, bringing thousands of industry professionals from all over the world.

North Dakota

North Dakota
Shutterstock

Although North Dakota has 13 state parks, the state is the least visited of all in America. Most of those who do end up traveling to the state are in the oil industry.

Ohio

Ohio
Shutterstock

Due to the high levels of chemical pollution in Ohio’s Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, the river has caught fire a total of 13 times since 1868.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma
istockphoto.com

Thanks to Sylvan Goldman of Oklahoma, we don’t have to struggle walking around with our groceries balancing in our arms. He introduced one of the first shopping carts to the Humpty Dumpty supermarket in 1937, and shopping has been easier ever since.

Oregon

Oregon
Shutterstock

Leave it to Portland to have the world’s smallest park. At two feet wide and only 452 square inches, Mill Ends Park is part of a median strip in the city’s downtown area.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania

Photo Modified: flickr / Peter & Laila / CC 2.0

In the town of Centralia, a coal mine fire from 50 years ago is still burning underground. Due to the fire — which has been burning through the town for all of these years — Centralia has lost a majority of its residents, with only 7 people remaining as of 2013. This Pennsylvania ghost town even lost its postal ZIP code in 2002.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

Adam D./Yelp

For a slice of American history, you must stop by the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island. Built in 1673, this tavern is said to be the oldest one in the U.S.

South Carolina

South Carolina
istockphoto.com

When taking a road trip along the East Coast, most would stop in Georgia for their fill of peaches. However, South Carolina produces more peaches than its southern neighbor and is only second in production to California among U.S. states.

South Dakota

South Dakota
istockphoto.com

To celebrate the potato crop, the small town of Clark, South Dakota hosts Potato Day. On this day guests can take part in events such as a Mashed Potato Wrestling Contest and a Potato Dish Cooking Contest.

Tennessee

Tennessee
dean bertoncelj/Shutterstock.com

The bubbly beverage Mountain Dew was invented in Tennessee by two bottlers. The name was once a term referencing whiskey, but was eventually trademarked as the official name for this carbonated beverage.

Texas

Texas
Shutterstock

You’ll find the highest posted speed limit in the country as you drive through Texas from San Antonio to Georgetown. With a posted limit of 85 miles per hour, Texas State Highway 130 is the only road you’ll legally be able to travel at such a high speed.

Utah

Utah
istockphoto.com

The residents of Utah consume so much Jell-O, and clearly enjoy it so much, that the dessert became the official state snack in 2001.

Vermont

Vermont
Yaoinlove/Shutterstock.com

Vermont’s capital, Montpelier, is the smallest capital in the country, with a population of roughly 7,705 residents. Even more shocking is that it is the only capital city in the U.S. that does not have a McDonald’s.

Virginia

Virginia
Shutterstock

In Virginia, amusement parks determine the academic calendar for summer. In 1986 the Kings Dominion Law was passed that says schools cannot begin before Labor Day. It was created to bring more money to the state by way of the tourism industry.

Washington

Washington
Shutterstock

Mount St. Helens is likely the most well-known volcano in Washington, but it is actually only one of 10 that line the western part of the state.

West Virginia

West Virginia
Shutterstock

Although they may not be home to best pizza in the country — a title currently held by New YorkWest Virginia does prioritize the pie; there are more pizza shops than gyms in the entire state.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin
istockphoto.com

background:white">Three men from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, can be credited for producing the first commercially successful typewriter in 1868. If you don’t find that fact interesting enough, you should know that the first splinter-free toilet paper was also created in Wisconsin.

Wyoming

Wyoming
Shutterstock

Although Vermont’s capital might be the smallest of any state (in terms of population), Wyoming as a whole is the least populated state in the country. The estimated population of Wyoming is said to be around 585,501 residents.