It’s easy to see the United States as the cradle of mainstream pop culture and the leading superpower in the economy, politics, technology, and the military.
But is it all there is to the United States? Of course not. With its vast land area, diverse landscape and climate, colorful history, arts and architecture, cultures, and folks of different backgrounds, you’d find there is much more to Land of the Free than what you see in films and television.
Not to mention that the USA has 50 states, so the country has 50 different faces. These facts about each of the 50 states may shed some light on the preconceived notions about the USA.
New Orleans, Louisiana, immediately comes to mind when you’re talking about Mardi Gras. But this tradition actually began in Mobile, Alabama.
Alaska is the biggest state in terms of land area (more than twice the size of Texas). Besides oil, mining, and fishing, Alaska prides on its latest big moneymaker: peonies.
Arizona is one of the only two states that don’t observe daylight savings time (the other is Hawaii).
Arkansas is the only place in America where you can find an active diamond industry. It’s home to the country’s sole operational diamond mine, the Crater Diamonds State Park.
The Sequoia National Park in California is home to “General Sherman,” a 3,500-year-old tree. It measures 83.8 meters (275 feet) high, 11 meters (36 feet) in diameter, and a volume of 1,487 cubic meters (52,500 cubic feet).
If you want to figure out how high is “one mile above sea level,” the Colorado State Capitol will provide you the answer. The 13th step leading to the entrance of the capitol is precisely just that.
America’s first cookbook and phonebook were first published in Colorado, in different circumstances. The cookbook, American Cookery by author Amelia Simmons, was published in Hartford in 1876. The phonebook was published in New Haven in 1878 and had only 50 entries.
Delaware, the second smallest state in the US, is home to 200 million chickens every year, outnumbering its human residents by over 200 to 1.
South Florida is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles can be found in the wild.
Georgia takes pride in its reputation as the poultry capital in the world, so much that it passed a law in 1961 making eating chicken using a fork illegal.
Hawaii is the home of the country’s only royal palace, the ‘Iolani Palace. Built in 1879, it was the royal residence of the rulers of the then-Kingdom of Hawaii.
Potatoes are the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Idaho. Around 13 billion pounds of Idaho potatoes are harvested every year. And yes, Idaho has its own potato museum!
The town of Morton, Illinois, is dubbed as the “Pumpkin Capital of the World,” as it is the location of Libby’s canning plant, which coughs up 82% of the world’s canned pumpkins.
You already know the Indy 500 race. But let’s go from the asphalt roads to the sand dunes. The Indiana Dunes, on Lake Michigan’s shores, is home to various interesting plants, including more than 20 varieties of orchids. Mount Baldy, the largest dune, moves a few feet from the shore each year.
You know the best corn is in Iowa. But what may not know in Iowa is that it has a “twisty” street comparable to San Francisco’s Lombard Street — the Burlington Snake Alley. It measures only 275 feet long and has a total of five half-curves and two quarter-curves. It’s not as nearly as crooked as Lombard, but driving there is just as hair-raising.
Cawker City, Kansas is home to the world’s biggest ball of twine. It measured eight feet high and weighed 5,000 pounds when it was presented to the city by its creator, Frank Stoeber. Since then, the twine has been added continuously.
Kentucky is the home of bourbon, yet about a fifth of its 120 counties ban the sale of liquor.
A nail-biting last-second touchdown by the home team at the Louisiana State University sent the fans into a frenzy so great that a seismograph registered this incident as an earthquake!
Maine has nearly 60 lighthouses along its coast, all of them fully operational.
Maryland was the home of the first Ouija Board, a tool that people use to communicate with the spirits. It was invented and patented by businessman Elijah Bond in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1891.
Massachusetts is the home of the Lake Chargo-ggagoggm-anchaug-gagoggcha-ubunagun gamaugg, the longest place name in the United States. The name is of Algonquian origin, which is often said to mean “Fishing Place at the Boundaries—Neutral Meeting Grounds.”
Michigan is the home of the “Superman ice cream,” the state’s unofficial ice cream flavor. It’s a tri-color, three-flavored ice cream which is widely believed to have originated in Detroit. The red, blue, and yellow swirls are definitely Instagram-worthy and flavors can vary from one ice cream shop to another.
While Minnesota is dubbed as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” there are actually more than 11,000 of them. But if you’re talking about the state with the most lakes, it’s not Minnesota. The other is Wyoming, with over 15,000 lakes. But both of them pale in comparison to Alaska, which has over three million lakes!
The first Coca-Cola was first bottled in Vicksburg, Mississippi in 1894.
The St. Louis World Fair in 1904 introduced some of America’s now-beloved snacks: cotton candy, waffle cones, frankfurters, Dr. Pepper, and iced tea.
Looking for the best place to live with your furry friends? Montana has got to be the place! Pets in the “Treasure State” enjoy the highest average lifespan, according to a 2013 report from Banfield Pet Hospital. In Montana, cats live two years longer than the national average 12-year lifespan, while dogs live a year and a half longer than the average 11 years.
A fan of roller skating? You can visit the world’s only roller skating museum in the city of Lincoln. It contains the world’s largest collection of historical roller skates, roller skating costumes, and other memorabilia.
Nevada is home to the very rare Devil’s Hole pupfish, which is considered a critically endangered species. It’s found in Devil’s Hole, a geologic formation that is the fish’s only habitat.
When in New Hampshire, don’t forget to check out America’s free library, the Peterborough Town Library. Established in 1833, this tax-supported library now has a collection of 43,000 books from its original 100.
New Jersey seems to be the ideal place for married couples to settle in! It has the lowest divorce rate of any other state in the country. And New Jersey has more horses than any of the other 49 states, and it’s not surprising that the US Equestrian Team’s headquarters are located there.
Did you know that New Mexico has an “official state question”? That question is: “Red or green?” referring to the various chili sauce you’d like for your food. If you want both, just answer, “Christmas.”
George Washington held his presidential inauguration, while out-of-office, in New York, on April 30, 1789.
Fayetteville, North Carolina, earns the distinction of being the location where Babe Ruth hit his first home run. Reportedly, it was also here in North Carolina where he got his famous moniker “Babe.”
Sweet fact about North Dakota – the Peace Garden State is the country’s top honey producer.
Ohio’s flag is the only burgee-shaped state flag in the country. It’s like a pennant but with the missing triangular tip.
Shopping carts were invented in Oklahoma in 1937 by the owner of the Piggy Wiggly grocery chain. So the next time you use a shopping cart, thank Oklahoma for that!
Oregon is home to the world’s smallest park, the Mill Ends Park, located in Portland. Measuring 452 square inches in total, it is a small circle in the middle of SW Naito Parkway. The park was created on St. Patrick’s Day for leprechauns and snail races.
The small town of Indiana, Pennsylvania, is dubbed the Christmas Tree Capital in the World as it is the number one supplier of Christmas trees in the country.
The smallest state is also home to the oldest tavern in the country, the White Horse Tavern, founded in 1673.
The country’s first tea farm was founded in Summerville, South Carolina, in 1890.
While South Dakota is known for the iconic Mount Rushmore, it will be soon the home of an even bigger monument! The Crazy Horse Memorial in Cluster County, South Dakota, has been in the works since 1948. While it’s still far from complete, you can see the plaster replica of what the finished sculpture will look like.
The Grand Ole Opry, based in Nashville, hosts the longest continuous live radio program in the world. Since 1925, it broadcasts every weekend.
Pecans are abundant in Texas, so it’s no big wonder that its official state dessert is pecan pie. Lady Bird Johnson brought her own pecan pie recipe to the White House when she was First Lady.
In Utah, you can find the largest stone bridge in the world, the Rainbow Bridge. It measures 290 feet in height and 275 feet across.
Only in Vermont: The Green Mountain State is the only US state to have an official flavor, the maple syrup. It has the largest production of maple syrup in the country.
During Virginia’s colonial years, silk was initially meant to be its cash crop. However, a mulberry disease spread shifted the colony’s focus on tobacco instead.
You can find the world’s largest building by volume in Washington — Boeing’s final assembly factory, located in Everett. It spans 98.3 acres and 472 million cubic feet. It’s so large that seventy-five full-sized football fields could fit inside it.
Paradoxically, West Virginia’s New River is actually one of the oldest rivers in the world. Another thing unique about this river is that it flows from south to north (unlike the usual north to south in most rivers), as it was formed long before the mountains.
The typewriter was introduced in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1867.
The Cowboy State loves its stairs. But escalators? Not so much, and Wyomingites are fine with that. Wyoming is the only US state with only two sets of escalators.