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One Weird, Random Fact About Each U.S. State

See what one interesting fact we found out about your home state.

1. Alabama

Stock photography - Royalty-free
Travelers’ suitcases on conveyor belt at arrival terminal in airport

Scottsboro is home to the only Unclaimed Baggage Center
in the U.S. The center covers a city block and collects baggage from every state.

2. Alaska

Cat - Stubbs
The late Mayor Stubbs. Image: Marc-Andre Runcie-Unger/Flickr

In 1997, citizens of Talkeetna elected a cat as mayor. Dubbed Stubs for his
short tail, the political feline held the mayoral position until his death in July 2017.

3. Arizona

Women’s rights are a hot topic, but Arizona has always been ahead of the pack. The Copper State granted women the right to vote in 1912, eight years before the 19th Amendment was enacted.

4. Arkansas

Diamond - Stock photography

This state is home to the country’s only active diamond mine. Crater of Diamonds State Park in Murfreesboro claims the world’s most perfect diamond, the 3.03-carat Strawn-Wagner Diamond; and North America’s largest diamond, a 40.23-carat stone named the Uncle Sam Diamond.

5. California

Large redwood trees in a forest in California
Hyperion’s location is a closely kept secret to preserve the area’s delicate ecology.

The third largest state is home to the world’s largest tree. Hyperion is the name of the 379-foot, record-holding redwood. But don’t plan on visiting—the tree’s location is a closely kept secret to preserve the area’s delicate ecology.

6. Colorado

Alligator floating in the swamp

Colorado claims one of the largest gator parks in the nation, featuring reptile-wrestling lessons for brave visitors. The 80-acre sanctuary sits on a geothermal well that keeps the cold-blooded animals nice and toasty all year long.

7. Connecticut

The world’s first submarine, Turtle, was invented and built by David Bushnell, the son of a Connecticut farmer. The underwater vessel was launched in 1776 and used in combat.

8. Delaware

Breakwaters with lighthouse

Built in 1828, the 1700- and 2800-foot breakwaters on Cape Henlopen were the first in the Western Hemisphere. They established a shipping haven on a coastline that lacked safe harbors, and in 1976, were listed as a National
Register of Historic Places.

9. Florida

A jar of Red Veterinary Petrolatum

Miami Beach pharmacist Benjamin Green was the first to use red veterinary petrolatum, brand name Red Vet Pet, as a sunscreen during WWII. After the war, he mixed it with cocoa butter and coconut oil. Coppertone® bought the patent for the sticky, frighteningly red substance.

10. Georgia

People filming on location in neighborhood.

Nowadays, more movies and TV shows are filmed in Georgia than in Hollywood (think Walking Dead), although 1939’s Gone with the Wind was actually filmed in Hollywood, and other California locales.

11. Hawaii

Great white shark in the ocean

Not that long ago Hawaiians considered sharks (mano) family—gods even—to be treated with honor and respect.

12. Idaho

Heavens Gate - Riggins
Image courtesy of Visit North Central Idaho.

To get to the Heaven’s Gate Lookout tower, you have to travel through Seven Devils Campground. Atop, you will enjoy a bird’s-eye view of four states: Idaho, Oregon Washington, and Montana.

13. Illinois

Abraham Lincoln’s first public office was as postmaster of New Salem, where he served from May 7th, 1833 until May 30th, 1836, when the post office was relocated to Petersburg.

14. Indiana

Letters addressed to Santa in a pile

Every year, a team of three hundred “elves” write personal replies to the over 20,000 letters sent to Santa from around the world, all of which end up in the small Indiana town of Santa Claus.

15. Iowa

Collection of gemstones on white table

The Shrine of the Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend is the largest man-made cavern in the world and boasts the biggest trove of precious stones and gems.

16. Kansas

Helium was detected for the first time on Earth, in 1903, in Dexter’s Hugoton Gas Field, now the largest helium reserve in the nation.

17. Kentucky

18. Louisiana

Poverty Point is the site of a 3,500-year-old village, now listed as a UNESCO
World Heritage Site.

19. Maine

Bailey Island Cribstone Bridge - Orr's Island
Bailey Island in Casco Bay, Maine.

Maine (our home state!) has more than 4,600 islands, only a handful of which are inhabited.

20. Maryland

Map drawing of Boring, MD
Image courtesy of TownMapsUSA.com

The town of Boring, named after its 19th-century postmaster David Boring, consists of only one church, one post office, one volunteer fire department, and 40 houses.

21. Massachusetts

Snoring - Sleep apnea

Snoring, “unless all bedroom windows are closed and securely locked,” is prohibited in this state by an old law still technically on the books.

22. Michigan

Communication - Stock photography

Detroit was the first city in the United States to get individual phone numbers. By 1879, the city had grown so large, operators could no longer route calls by a resident’s name alone.

23. Minnesota

Ralph Samuelson waterskiing on the lake.
Ralph Samuelson. Image By Scinauticando.com, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1831612

In 1922, Ralph W. Samuelson invented the first functional water skis—two eight-foot pine boards pulled by a motorboat on Lake Pepin in Lake City.

24. Mississippi

Root beer in a frosty mug on blue background

Biloxi is the birthplace of root beer. Edward Adolf Barq, Sr. invented the iconic soda, which he bottled and sold in 1871.

25. Missouri

1904 Summer Olympics - Olympic Games
Tug of War, Olympic Games. Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=124824

St. Louis is the site of the first Olympics held outside Europe. The 1904 summer games ran from August 29 until September 3.

26. Montana

Sapphire on white background

Yogo sapphires, found only in Yogo Gulch in the Little Belt Mountains, are generally less than two carats. But the largest ever cut, a 10.2-carat cut stone, is proudly displayed in the Smithsonian. There are more than 28 million sapphires still waiting to be mined.

27. Nebraska

An apple tree on the University of Nebraska Lincoln campus originated from the ancient tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s law of gravity.

28. Nevada

Gold nugget - Gold

Nevada is the greatest gold-producing state in the United States—Goldstrike mine has reserves of over 8.1 million ounces, with annual yields of close to 950,000 ounces.

29. New Hampshire

Woman browsing through library books on a shelf

In 1833, the oldest public library was opened in Peterborough. New Hampshire was also
the first state to pass a law authorizing towns to raise money for public libraries.

30. New Jersey

Hoboken is home to the first professional baseball game. On June 19, 1846, the New York Nine beat the Knickerbockers 23–1 in four innings.

31. New Mexico

Road sign for Truth or Consequences, NM

On March 31, 1950, the town of Hot Springs changed its name to Truth or Consequences after Ralph Edwards, host of the radio quiz show with
the same name, promised he would air the 10th anniversary program from the first town to rename itself in the show’s honor.

32. New York

In New York City, there are fake buildings designed to blend
in with their surroundings and hide subway emergency exits, and maintenance and ventilation points.

33. North Carolina

White Lake with visitors
White Lake, North Carolina. Wikimedia Commons Image-Cubby61.

White Lake is called the “nation’s safest beach” for its clear water, sandy
bottom, and lack of dangerous currents

34. North Dakota

Thermometer towering towards a sunlit sky.

Home to some of the harshest winters and hottest summers, in 1936, locals
saw temperature records on both ends at -60°F in February and 121°F in July.

35. Ohio

Street light - Lighting
By Erik Drost – Cleveland, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79366422

On April 29, 1879, Cleveland became the first city in the nation, and second in the world, to use electric streetlights.

36. Oklahoma

Telephone with the word Voice Mail on it

Tulsan native Gordon Matthews invented and patented voicemail in 1979.

37. Oregon

Mill Ends Park - Urban park
World’s Smallest Park. By Duk, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=220305

The world’s smallest park resides in Portland. Designated in 1948, Mill Ends Park is a circle, two feet in diameter, with a total area of 452 square inches.

38. Pennsylvania

George Washington

Founded in 1771, The Pennsylvania Packet (now The Philadelphia Inquirer)
was the first daily newspaper in the U.S. and the first to publish George Washington’s Farewell Address.

39. Rhode Island

Erected in 1676, Nine Men’s Misery monument in Cumberland, which honors the colonists lost during King Philip’s War, is the oldest known monument to veterans in the country.

40. South Carolina

Archaeologists unearthed artifacts in Allendale County along the Savannah
River, suggesting humans inhabited the area more than 20,000 years ago, long before the Ice Age.

41. South Dakota

USS Alabama - Battleship North Carolina

The USS South Dakota (a.k.a. Battleship X) was one of the most decorated battleships in U.S. history, seeing action in every major naval battle during
World War II from 1942-1945.

42. Tennessee

Rows of freshwater pearls on a black background
A collection of Tennessee Freshwater Pearls. all different shapes and sizes. Image courtesy of TN History for Kids.

Camden, famous for pearls cultured in Tennessee River mussels, boasts the only freshwater pearl farm in North America.

43. Texas

Purple Heart - Stock photography

Fort Worth’s brave Calvin Graham joined the U.S. Navy at just 12 years old following the attack on Pearl Harbor, and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart at only age 13.

44. Utah

Fjord - Great Salt Lake

In 1824, when famed trapper James Bridger first discovered the Great Salt Lake, he believed it to be the Pacific Ocean, due to its size and saltiness. The close to 4.9 billion tons of salt it contains makes the lake almost nine times saltier than the ocean!

45. Vermont

Snowflakes fallen on the ground

In 1885, Jericho farmer Wilson Alwyn “Snowflake” Bentley took the first snowflake photograph, proving no two are alike.

46. Virginia

horses traveling in water

Assateague Island is home to the Chincoteague ponies, one of the last herds of wild horses.

47. Washington

Mount St. Helens with a plume of smoke
Mount St. Helens in Washington State

The state contains 10 volcanoes and 3,101 glaciers.

49. West Virginia

In 1824, Ladies’ Garland, one of the first women’s publications in the U. S., was printed in Harpers Ferry.

49. Wisconsin

Sheboygan (a.k.a. the Malibu of the Midwest) has the best freshwater waves in the country. Hundreds of surfers swarm to the annual Corona Dairyland Surf Classic on Labor Day weekend.

50. Wyoming

Coin depicting Nellie Tayloe Ross

Nellie Tayloe Ross served as the first female governor in the US from 1925 to 1927. She went on to become the first female director of the United States Mint in 1933.

Head - Hair coloring
Cynthia McMurray

Cynthia McMurray is a freelance writer and journalist, and publisher of a national health magazine. She has written books for leading health professionals and is the owner of Write Words, a consulting business for writers. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her article, Animals' Amazing Sense of Direction  appears in the 2021 Farmers' Almanac.

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