Special Report

One Strange and Fun Little-Known Fact About Every State

FoxysGraphic/ Getty Images

The United States is a large and diverse country with many traditions and laws varying from state to state. It’s no surprise then that some citizens look at people living in far-off states as if they were from another planet.

Sometimes questions like “They think what?” or “They eat what?” are asked. The many ways in which states and their residents differ are part of the charm of the U.S.

To celebrate the country’s uniqueness, 24/7 Tempo compiled a list of some cool and some crazy little-known facts about every state. We researched a slew of sources, including the official state government sites, biographies, tourist guides, public media outlets, and the online library FactRetriever.

Whether it’s a story about its official drink, legislature, or flag, every state has some strange history that most people don’t know about. There are some refreshingly silly facts about the U.S. that people should know, even if it’s just for the purpose of winning trivia games.

To test how much you know about America, see you if you can answer these real Jeopardy! clues about each state.

Click here for some of the strangest facts about every state.

Source: Courtesy of Clyde May's

> Fact: Alabama is the only state to have an alcoholic beverage as its official drink: Conecuh Ridge Alabama Style Whiskey.


> Fact: Alaska, including islands, has more coastline than the rest of the U.S. combined — roughly 34,000 miles.

> Fact: The original London Bridge — all 10,000 tons — was shipped stone-by-stone and reconstructed in Lake Havasu City.

Source: PaaschPhotography / Getty Images

> Fact: Arkansas is the only place in the U.S. where diamonds are actively discovered and mined.


Source: NeilLockhart / Getty Images

> Fact: In the1850s, many gold miners sent their clothes to Honolulu, Hawaii, to be cleaned because laundry services were too expensive in California.

Source: beklaus / Getty Images

> Fact: Colorado is the only state in history to turn down the Olympics — the 1976 Winter Olympics — to protect the environment.


Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

> Fact: In 1901, Connecticut passed the first automobile law in the country — the speed limit was only 12 miles per hour.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

> Fact: There are more businesses incorporated in Delaware than there are people living in the state. Non-resident businesses don’t pay corporate income, property, or sales taxes.

Source: atomimage / Getty Images

> Fact: Highway patrol officers lose their annual $500 performance bonuses if they are 15 pounds overweight.


Source: DragonImages / Getty Images

> Fact: It started as a stunt to promote the town, but it’s an actual law: In Gainesville, the Chicken Capital of the World, it is illegal to eat chicken with a fork.

Source: usgeologicalsurvey / Flickr

> Fact: The Big Island is getting bigger every year because of lava flow from the KÄ«lauea Volcano. It has increased 570 acres since 1983.


Source: ViewApart / Getty Images

> Fact: The people of Idaho drink more wine per capita than any other state in the country.

Source: Mlenny / Getty Images

> Fact: The Chicago River flows backwards. It was reversed on purpose in 1900 so the state doesn’t dump its sewage north into Lake Michigan, its drinking water source.

Source: anjanettew / Wikimedia Commons

> Fact: The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis has one of the world’s largest Batman memorabilia collections — 3,252 items


> Fact: Iowa — not Florida — has more golf courses per capita, than any other state, with a total of 440.

> Fact: Kansas is, scientifically, flatter than a pancake.


Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

> Fact: More than half of U.S. gold is in Fort Knox, where 147.3 million ounces of the precious metal is held in underground vaults, worth $6 trillion.

> Fact: The pelican almost became extinct in the “Pelican State” because of pollution. It is back now thanks to conservation efforts.

Source: WoodysPhotos / Getty Images

> Fact: Most of the country’s lobster supply — 90% or 40 million pounds a year — comes from Maine.


Source: Courtesy of Maryland State Archives

> Fact: In the U.S. today, only judges on the Maryland Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, wear scarlet or red robes when hearing arguments, a throwback to the state’s British roots.

Source: Bettmann / Getty Images

> Fact: Both basketball and volleyball were invented in Massachusetts: basketball by James A. Naismith, a Canadian, and volleyball by William G. Morgan, a New Yorker.


Source: Sara Hattie / Wikimedia Commons

> Fact: Michigan is the only place in the world with a floating post office — the J.W. Westcott II. It delivers mail to other boats and ships.

Source: Comstock / Getty Images

> Fact: The climate-controlled Metrodome is the only facility in the country to host a Super Bowl (1992), World Series (1987, 1991), MLB All-Star Game (1985), and college basketball’s Final Four (1992, 2001).

Source: ZU_09 / Getty Images

> Fact: The 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery in 1865, was not ratified by Mississippi until 2013. Lawmakers voted on it in 1995, but a copy was never sent to the U.S. archivist.


Source: iip-photo-archive / Flickr

> Fact: The Gateway Arch, which is 630 feet high and is also 630 feet wide, is the tallest man-made monument in the country. The arch is also known as the “Gateway to the West.”

> Fact: In Montana, the word “ditch” is what they say when water is added to an alcoholic drink. If you want a Jack Daniel’s ditch, you will get a Jack Daniel’s and water.


Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

> Fact: Nebraska is the only state with a single-house legislative system. It is also nonpartisan — a candidate’s political party is not listed on the election ballot.

Source: KiskaMedia / Getty Images

> Fact: Nevada is the driest state in the country, getting less than 10 inches of rain a year.

New Hampshire
> Fact: Until 1996, the state held the record for the fastest wind gust ever recorded on Earth: 231 mph, recorded April 12, 1934, by the Mount Washington Observatory staff. It’s still the highest surface wind speed ever observed by man.


Source: littleny / Getty Images

New Jersey
> Fact: Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world.

Source: Courtesy of Los Alamos Public Schools via Facebook

New Mexico
> Fact: New Mexico has more PhDs per capita than any other state.


Source: Courtesy of Library of Congress

New York
> Fact: Until 1941, the so-called West Side Cowboys rode on horseback ahead of freight trains in New York City to warn people to get out of the way.

Source: Tim Boyle / Getty Images

North Carolina
> Fact: In 1893, New Bern pharmacist Caleb Bradham developed a carbonated drink he called “Brad’s Drink,” which later came to be known as Pepsi-Cola.

Source: usfwsmtnprairie / Flickr

North Dakota
> Fact: At 2.3%, North Dakota has the lowest unemployment rate in the U.S. Historically, unemployment has always been low in the state. Most jobs are in agriculture, petroleum, and food processing.


Source: Derek Brumby / Getty Images

> Fact: Ohio is the only state with a flag that is not a rectangle. It is a swallow-tail shape known as a “burgee.”

Source: NASA / Ken Thornsley / Wikimedia Commons

> Fact: An Oklahoman woman, Lottie Williams, is the only known person to have ever been hit by falling space junk. It was small falling debris from the U.S. Delta II rocket.


Source: Oleksii Liskonih / Getty Images

> Fact: Oregon’s flag is the only state flag in the country that has different designs on each side — the escutcheon from the state seal on one and a gold figure of a beaver on the other.

Source: dszc / Getty Images

> Fact: The word “Pennsylvania” is misspelled on the Liberty Bell. It’s written as “Pensylvania.” At the time, the founders hadn’t yet agreed on a single acceptable spelling.

Source: diane39 / Getty Images

Rhode Island
> Fact: Rhode Island’s full and official state name is “Rhode Island and Providence Plantations” — the longest state name in the United States.


Source: Golf Club at Wescott Plantation / Wikimedia Commons

South Carolina
> Fact: In the late 18th century, the first game of golf played in the U.S. took place in Charleston, South Carolina, though the game may not have been referred to as golf then.

South Dakota
> Fact: Sue, the largest Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found — at 42 feet long and 12 feet high at the hips — was discovered near the Badlands in 1990.


Source: CaronB / Getty Images

> Fact: Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion is the most popular residential home visited by tourists, after the White House.

Source: Jphill19 / Wikimedia Commons

> Fact: Texas uses its own electric grid — ERCOT — separate from the two others used by the rest of the U.S.

Source: jetcityimage / Getty Images

> Fact: The first-ever KFC wasn’t in Kentucky. It was 1,500 miles west in Salt Lake City, Utah.


Source: United States Mint

> Fact: Vermont was a republic with its own coinage from 1777 to 1791.

Source: Sean Pavone / Getty Images

> Fact: Virginia has had 3 capital cities: Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Richmond. And Richmond was also the capital of the Confederate States during the Civil War.


> Fact: Long Beach Peninsula is the longest contiguous beach in the U.S. — 28 miles.

Source: designer491 / Getty Images

West Virginia
> Fact: West Virginia was the first state to have a sales tax. It was 0.4% and went into effect in 1921.

Source: Hulton Archive / Getty Images

> Fact: The Republican Party was founded in Ripon in 1854. Former members of the Whig Party met to establish a new party that opposed slavery.


Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

> Fact: The Wyoming territory became first in the nation to grant women over the age of 21 the right to vote in 1869.

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