I've Found The Most Fascinating Fact I Can About Every US State, And Folks, They're Good

Alabama
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1.Madison, Alabama is home to a Minor League Baseball team called the Rocket City Trash Pandas.

a picture of a shady street in Alabama, with caption: not pictured, the famed (?) Alabamian trash pandas
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Their noble mascot is named Sprocket, which according to AL.com is a local nickname for the US Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The other astronomical names considered included Apollo, Buzz, Cosmo, Crash, and Jetson.

Alaska
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2.Alaska's state flag was designed by a seventh-grader.

the downtown skyline of Anchorage, Alaska, with caption: Alaska: home to some exceptionally high-achieving middle schoolers
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His name was Benny Benson, and he submitted his design as a part of a 1927 statewide competition open to students in 7th through 12th grades. Benson included this explanation with his design: "The blue field is for the Alaska sky and the forget-me-not, an Alaska flower. The North Star is for the future of the state of Alaska, the most northerly in the Union. The dipper is for the Great Bear — symbolizing strenth [sic].”

the state flag of Alaska, with the big dipper and the north star
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Benson received a watch and a $1,000 scholarship for his efforts. He was living in an orphanage at the time, as his mother died when he was young. As the son of a Swedish fisherman and an Aleut-Russian, Benny was celebrated by his fellow Native Alaskans for designing the winning flag.

Benny holding his winning flag design
Arizona
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3.Arizona is home to the only McDonald's in the world where the Golden Arches aren't, well, golden.

a bunch of cacti with caption "not like other girls"
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Sedona, Arizona chose Turquoise Arches because residents were concerned that yellow wouldn't mesh with the city's famed red rock landscape when the restaurant was built in 1993.

the turquoise M
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Arkansas
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4.Arkansas is home to a state park where visitors are free to take home any precious gemstone they find...and there are a lot out there.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas with caption:
Jeremy Mason Mcgraw / Getty Images

Located in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, Crater of Diamonds State Park is exactly what it sounds like. You can bring along your own treasure-hunting equipment, or rent some from the park. Since 1972, more than 33,000 diamonds have been found there, and in October 2021, a woman found a 4.38-carat diamond during her visit.

The sign advertising Crater of Diamonds State Park
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California
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5.In 1918, the final year of World War I, California called upon its children to go to bloody battle against a new enemy: squirrels. According to Atlas Obscura, ground squirrels ate a hugely expensive amount of crops and were thought to carry diseases such as the bubonic plague. Therefore, they had to go (straight to hell).

  Matt Henry Gunther / Getty Images
Matt Henry Gunther / Getty Images

Leaflets advertised "Squirrel Week," and children were offered prizes for getting the most kills. In the leaflets, squirrels were depicted as suspiciously...German, with one poster showing "a Teutonic squirrel family wearing spiked helmets and Iron Crosses." By the end of the week, schoolchildren had amassed a bloody collection of more than 100,000 squirrel tails, which were the authorities' requested proof of kill. Despite all that blood lust, ground squirrels in the modern day are still "prolific, expensive pests." Maybe their desire to eat all our crops stems from their ancestors' harrowing tales of the time a bunch of children tried to murder them all?

a ground squirrel with a shocked expression
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Colorado
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6.You may have seen the shape of Colorado and thought, That's a rectangle if I've ever seen one! Well, I regret to inform you that this is an insidious lie propagated by Big Rectangle.

the map of colorado with caption: you won't trick me this time, basic geometry
Belterz / Getty Images

OK, so Big Rectangle doesn't exist (that we know of...), but according to the Big Think, Colorado doesn't have 4 sides — it has 697. This bumps it from "rectangle" all the way up to the way easier-to-say "hexahectaenneacontakaiheptagon."

sun setting over a mountainous area of Colorado
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Connecticut
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7.If you have the same appetite for bizarre information as I clearly do, you may have seen it floating around online that it is illegal in Connecticut to sell pickles that do not bounce. As it turns out, there isn't quite a law against it, but the bouncing ordinance did come about from a mid-20th-century tale of gherkin lawbreaking.

A row of seaside houses in Connecticut, with quote: "power to the pickle" - connecticut
Barry Winiker / Getty Images

According to the CONNector, the extremely well-named Connecticut State Library newsletter, two "pickle packers" in 1948 were fined $500 for selling pickles "unfit for human consumption." According to the Connecticut Food and Drug Commissioner at the time, one of the ways to test the integrity of a pickle was to "drop it one foot" and see if it bounced. When they didn't meet these exacting standards, the pickles were plucked from the pack and the prickly pickling pickle packers punished.

three jars of pickle on a picnic table
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Delaware
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8.Delaware's business is business, and, my friends, business is booming. According to the state website, Delaware is the "legal home" of more than 1 million businesses, not to mention 66% of Fortune 500 companies.

the skyline of Wilmington, with caption: lovely legal home you've got here
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Based on the most recent US Census, Delaware is home to only 989,948 people, meaning that individuals are outnumbered by businesses.

the state Capitol building in Dover
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Florida
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9.The Seminole Tribe of Florida, ancestors of whom have lived in and around Florida for 12,000 years, purchased the Hard Rock Cafe in 2007 for $965 million. Max Osceola Jr., a representative of the tribe, said at a press conference at the time, "Our ancestors sold Manhattan for trinkets. Today with the acquisition of the Hard Rock Cafes, we're going to buy Manhattan back one hamburger at a time." On its website, Hard Rock describes its relationship with the Seminole Tribe as "the perfect marriage of two kindred spirits."

Members of the Seminole tribe waving from atop the marquee of the Hard Rock cafe
Stephen Chernin / Getty Images

Sadly, Max Osceola Jr. died in 2020 from complications due to the coronavirus. The New York Times described him as "the public face of the Seminole Tribe and a father figure within it."

Max Osceola speaking at a Hard Rock event
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Georgia
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10.In Athens, Georgia, you can visit a tree that owns itself.

the city hall of Athens, Georgia, surrounded by trees, with caption: it's none of these trees. these trees are owned by people, like normal, boring trees
Sean Pavone / Getty Images / iStockphoto

The original Tree That Owns Itself — and I'm capitalizing it because that's its name, even though I personally would've named it something snappier, like Jeffrey — was given rights to itself by William H. Jackson, who wrote in his will, “For and in consideration of the great love I bear this tree and the great desire I have for its protection for all time, I convey entire possession of itself and all land within eight feet of the tree on all sides." Sadly, that tree toppled over in 1942, but Athens residents replaced it with a new tree, now called the Son of the Tree That Owns Itself. The tree isn't required to pay taxes, which I think we can all agree is fair.

a walkway at the University of Georgia in Athens
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Hawai'i
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11.The only royal palace in the United States is located in downtown Honolulu, Hawai'i. 'Iolani Palace was the home and seat of power for the Kingdom of Hawai'i's last monarchs: King Kalakaua and his sister, Queen Lili'uokalani.

the palace, an elaborate two storied building surrounded by palm trees
Gregobagel / Getty Images

Lili'uokalani became queen after her brother died in 1891, and she ruled until the monarchy was overthrown in 1893. This coup was "backed by the US government and [occurred] with the aid of the US military." Two years later, Queen Lili'uokalani was convicted of treason following a failed attempt to restore the monarchy, despite the fact that she protested that she had no knowledge of the plan; the trial took place in the throne room of 'Iolani Palace, where the queen was later held under house arrest for a year. She'd originally been sentenced to five years of hard labor.

The Queen in a formal portrait in court dress
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'Iolani Palace was restored in the 1970s and exists as a museum today. Queen Lili'uokalani died in 1917 at the age of 79, after trying and failing to convince the American government to not annex Hawai'i, and reinstate her to her rightful place on the throne.

The Queen of Hawaii in 1917, sitting on a porch
Underwood Archives / Getty Images
Idaho
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12.In Idaho, there's a 50-square-mile loophole known as the "Zone of Death," where you can murder someone without fear of anyone, including and most importantly a jury of your peers, saying, "Hey, stop that. You can't do that." Law professor Brian Kalt pointed out the loophole in a 2005 Georgetown Law Review article titled "The Perfect Crime."

Rivers and forests of Yellowstone with caption: guess there's one part of the wild west we forgot to un-wild
Wendy Stone / Corbis via Getty Images

According to Vox's summary of the loophole, the Zone of Death is the part of Yellowstone National Park that's located in Idaho, while the vast majority of the park is in Wyoming. Wyoming is in charge of all of Yellowstone, so if a murderer were to kill someone within those 50 Idahoan miles, they would have the right to a jury made up of people who live in both Idaho and "the District of Wyoming," aka the Zone of Death. But no one lives there, possibly because of the unwelcoming name, so it's impossible to form a jury. Therefore, you have a case that's impossible to try, not to mention the world's smuggest murderer.

the Welcome to Idaho sign on the side of the highway
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Illinois
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13.From 1923 until 1969, the official state language of Illinois wasn't English. It was "American."

Navy Pier in Chicago, with caption: relax, guys, we won the revolution already
Bob Krist / Getty Images

According to PBS, this law was changed because people in Illinois "continued to speak and teach English in defiance or ignorance of the statute." Also, and this is just speculation on my part, after 46 years they remembered that "American" isn't a language.

The misty skyline of Chicago
Bob Krist / Getty Images
Indiana
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14.Santa Claus, Indiana receives "tens of thousands of letters" to Santa every Christmas season, and up to 25,000 receive responses from the employees/elves at the Santa Claus Museum & Village.

the post office at Santa Claus, with a giant statue of Santa out the front, with caption: Indiana > North Pole
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The town/holiday wonderland was renamed by its residents in the mid-19th century, because when they tried to establish a post office under their original name, Santa Fe, they discovered that another Santa Fe, Indiana had already beaten them to it. So they pivoted, and traded a "Fe" for a "Claus."

the highway sign for Santa Claus
Suesmith2 / Getty Images / iStockphoto
Iowa
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15.Iowa City, Iowa is the United States' sole UNESCO City of Literature, and was only the third city in the world to receive that honor, after Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia.

the main building of Iowa University, with caption: everyone inside this building is staring at an empty Word document
Jim Steinfeldt / Getty Images

The city has a long and storied (sorry) literary history, much of which centers around the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa, which has produced 17 Pulitzer Prize winners and 6 US Poet Laureates.

the skyline of Iowa City
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Kansas
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16.Lebanon, Kansas is home to the Geographical Center of the United States.

the welcome to Lebanon sign, with caption: literally middle America
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Its own website admits that there "really isn't very much to see or do," but hey, Bruce Springsteen filmed a Super Bowl ad in front of the itty-bitty chapel once.

Bruce Springsteen in front of the chapel
Jeep / youtube.com
Kentucky
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17.In November 2020, Rabbit Hash, Kentucky elected Wilbur, a French bulldog puppy, as their mayor. That may seem like a burn to all the humans who could've taken the job, but Wilbur's owner Amy Noland told NBC News, "Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, has never had an actual person or human as a mayor."

  Alissa Sanderson / Getty Images
Alissa Sanderson / Getty Images

Apparently, this has been a thing in Rabbit Hash since the 1990s. The community is home to around 500 people, who have been led by five dog mayors in total. The first dog mayor to break the Milk-Bone ceiling was named Goofy, and the one prior to Wilbur, Brynn, was a pit bull who was in charge from 2016 to 2020. Noland said of Wilbur's reaction to his newfound power, "He’s done a lot of interviews locally, he’s had a lot of pets, a lot of belly scratches, and a lot of ear rubs." Godspeed, Mr. Mayor.

The National Register of Historic Places plaque for Rabbit Hash General System
Education Images / Education Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Louisiana
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18.Robert Broussard, a congressman from Louisiana, proposed in the early 20th century that in order to utilize swampland effectively and provide enough meat for the growing nation, Americans ought to start farming hippos.

a Louisiana bayou, with caption: my god, it's just whimsical enough to work
Photo By Kristen Smith / Getty Images

Writer Jon Mooallem told Wired, "The idea was that you could harness land that wasn't productive for grazing cattle, like swamps and bayous. So you'd transplant the hippos into these environments that aren't totally unlike where they live in Africa." The hippos would also eat an invasive plant called water hyacinth, because if there's anything hippos are good at, it's multitasking. But the plan fell through, and hopes for hearty supplies of what newspapers called "lake cow bacon" faded.

a hippo rising out of the water
Image Source / Getty Images/Image Source
Maine
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19.Maine played host to America's most amusing military conflict: the Aroostook War.

A lighthouse on the water, with caption: "I know you're thinking that there's no such thing as an amusing military conflict, but just you wait"
Photography By Deb Snelson / Getty Images

According to the New England Historical Society, this "war" was fought between Mainers and Canadians over who had the right to which lumber. The ambiguous border between Canada and the US led to the first fight, 1838's Battle of Caribou. 'Twas a noble scene: American lumberjacks yelled at Canadian lumberjacks for taking their trees, Canadian lumberjacks got distracted by a bear and shot at it, the Americans were like, "Oh shit, they're totally shooting at us," the Americans shot back, and they missed. Then everyone went home, bear included.

A bear waving, with caption: "hey guys, why so mad?"
Getty Images

The Aroostook War ended in 1839, and its border conflicts were resolved with the signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty in 1842. During the war, not a single soldier perished in battle...though one did die of the measles.

a map of the Maine Boundary Controversy
Interim Archives / Getty Images
Maryland
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20.In 2014, a cardboard box containing vials of the virus that causes smallpox were found in a storage room in a National Institute of Health research lab in Bethesda, Maryland. This came as an unhappy surprise to everyone, since smallpox is a) the worst and b) only supposed to be stored in the two highest security biological labs in the world: the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta and the Vector Institute in Siberia.

an aerial view of a city in Maryland, with caption: if you were looking for a premise for your horror movie, here it is
Westend61 / Getty Images

The terrifying contents of the vials were protected with cotton balls and index cards, because safety. Tom Skinner, a CDC spokesperson, believed the vials dated back to the 1950s, well before smallpox was finally eradicated in 1979, thanks to a worldwide vaccination campaign.

the coastline of Maryland, with caption: in lieu of an image related to smallpox (which, and I cannot stress this enough, was the worst), here's another nice photo of Maryland
Matthew Cannon / Getty Images
Massachusetts
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21.Massachusetts is the greatest state in the Union.

a lighthouse on the shore with caption, hell yeah
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...OK, I only said that because I grew up there. Here's the real Massachusetts fact: On July 8, 1856, 75-year-old Hannah Jumper led a mob of 200 hatchet-wielding women through the fishing village of Rockport. They were looking to destroy the town's stores of liquor, since the fishermen kept spending all their money on it. Five hours later, they had done just that.

the coastline of Rockport, MA

Pictured is modern-day Rockport. Not pictured is the liquor that still runs in the streets. (Fine, you got me — I made that part up.)

John Greim / LightRocket via Getty Images

After its thorough hatcheting, which is indeed a real word, Rockport remained a dry town (i.e., one that didn't permit the sale of alcohol) until 2005. To which I say: Damn, Hannah.

an engraving of Rockport Harbor
Archive Photos / Getty Images
Michigan
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22.According to the BBC, in 1985, Michigan declared that the voice of legendary singer (and legend, in general) Aretha Franklin was a "natural resource."

a bunch of fall foliage around a river, with caption: whoever made that decision made the right one
Matt Anderson Photography / Getty Images

Franklin grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and when she was 75, the city named a street Aretha Franklin Way in her honor. The singer called this accolade "resplendent" and said, "Every time I drive or walk down it, I'm going to dance down it!"

Aretha Franklin performs in an orange gown
Kevin Winter / Getty Images
Minnesota
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23.Anoka, Minnesota calls itself the "Halloween Capital of the World" because in 1920, the townsfolk came up with the brilliant idea of throwing a Halloween celebration to distract the youngsters from all the festive mischief they were getting up to. According to the town's website, said mischief included, but was not limited to, "Cows roaming Main Street, windows soaped, and outhouses tipped over."

a road in Minnesota with caption: let's get spooky
Grant Faint / Getty Images

The celebrations included a costume parade, free food, and a bonfire. In 1937, a 12-year-old named Harold Blair took a proclamation to Washington, DC, declaring that while it may be the nation's capital, Anoka was its Halloween Capital. Today, the city holds two parades: the night parade and the Grande Day parade.

kids in costume march in a modern day Anoka Halloween parade
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Mississippi
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24.According to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, when Minnie M. Cox was named postmaster of Indianola, Mississippi in 1891, she was perhaps "the first African American woman to hold such a position." Cox served with distinction, even going so far as to personally pay "late rent on post office boxes for Indianola’s citizens."

the skyline of Jackson Mississippi
Sean Pavone / Getty Images / iStockphoto

But when Theodore Roosevelt became president, he reversed the Republican Party's stance on granting African Americans political appointments during post-Civil War Reconstruction, thus placing Cox in a perilous position. James K. Vardaman, a white supremacist who envied the high salary that came along with Cox's office, led the people of Indianola in threatening and cajoling Cox in the hopes that she would step down before her term was over.

Teddy Roosevelt working at his desk
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

She refused, but the situation became more volatile, and she was forced to flee her home in 1903. A few days prior to that, Roosevelt "suspended" the Indianola post office, explaining that he would continue to do so until they allowed Cox to resume her work. He also ordered the prosecution of anyone who threatened her, and according to Snopes, ensured that she was still paid the salary she was owed. In 2008, the Indianola post office was renamed the Minnie Cox Post Office Building, "in tribute to all that she accomplished by breaking barriers."

the entrance to the national postal museum
Robert Alexander / Getty Images
Missouri
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25.Walt Disney planned to open some sort of attraction in his hometown of Marceline, Missouri, and even had a local businessman purchase some land for the project. However, it fell through when Disney died in 1966.

the st. louis arch at night, with caption: "at least it made the shortlist for the Happiest Place on Earth™"
Mark Perry / Getty Images / 500px Prime

According to CNN, the Marceline park would've been a celebration of old-school, small-town American life. His ideas included "a barn dance attraction" and "re-creations of an old-time butcher shop, barbershop, [and] a general store," among other cozy bits and pieces of Americana.

Walt Disney at the drawing board
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Montana
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26.Butte, Montana is home to the Pekin Noodle Parlor, a restaurant that the New York Times described as the "oldest family-owned, continuously operating Chinese restaurant" in the nation.

main street of Butte, Montana with caption: the state of Montana itself is only 22 years older than this restaurant
Feifei Cui-paoluzzo / Getty Images

The restaurant opened its doors in 1911, and was run for many years by Danny Wong after he bought it from his grandfather Tam Kwong Yee; today, it is owned by his son Jerry Tam. Tam said, "My dad wanted to show people this isn’t rich people’s food. This is common man’s food. This is my father’s regional cuisine." Following Wong's death in 2020, the alley behind the restaurant was renamed Danny Wong Way in his honor.

an aerial view of Butte Montana
John Elk / Getty Images
Nebraska
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27.Monowi, Nebraska is home to only one person: Elsie Eiler. Naturally, she is the town's mayor, as well as its librarian, tavern keeper, and, well, go-to person.

Omaha, with caption: Omaha wishes it had an Elsie to run the joint
Diana Robinson Photography / Getty Images

Unsurprisingly, Monowi claims the distinction of being the least populated incorporated town in the US. Once a year, Eiler re-elects herself as mayor, as well as pays herself $500 in taxes. Eiler told the BBC, "I’m happy here. I grew up here, I’m used to this and I know what I want. It’s just hard to change after so many years." She lived with her husband Rudy until he died in 2004; it was his final wish to have his private book collection turned into the town library, which Eiler now runs, in addition to her tavern.

a rock formation in Nebraska
Joseph Sohm-visions Of America / Getty Images
Nevada
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28.Las Vegas, Nevada was almost home to a life-size recreation of the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek. The project, which would've cost somewhere around $150 million, was killed by an executive at Paramount, the studio that owns the Star Trek franchise, at the very last minute.

the bright lights of the Las Vegas strip, with quote: just as I feared...not a single spaceship
Westend61 / Getty Images

In the hopes of winning back tourists who had been lost to the Strip, business owners in downtown Las Vegas solicited ideas for attractions. The one that got the furthest was the Starship Enterprise, designed by Gary Goddard. Goddard told the Hollywood Reporter that when he pitched the idea to Paramount, he said, "It’ll become a monument like Mount Rushmore or the St. Louis arch. When people talk about man-made, incredible things around the world, this will be there."

the starship enterprise flying over a red planet
Cbs Photo Archive / Getty Images

According to Goddard, the Paramount executive who turned them down said, "You know, guys, in the motion picture business I can put out a couple bombs. I’ll take a little heat in the press for a few weeks and then the next movie comes out and everything’s fine. But this, if this comes out and it’s a white elephant, it’s going to be up there forever." And thus, the dreams of a Starship Enterprise died.

Spock gives the Vulcan salute
CBS Photo Archive / CBS via Getty Images
New Hampshire
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29.One of New Hampshire's most adored landmarks, a gravity-defying granite outcropping named the Old Man of the Mountain, collapsed in May 2003.

the old man of the mountain prior to its collapse, with caption: at least they didn't take him for granite (sorry)
Buyenlarge / Getty Images

Today, you can visit the Old Man of the Mountain memorial at Profiler Plaza, where you'll find a small museum, a gift shop, and an interactive sculpture that allows visitors to "see" the Old Man as he once was. The memorial plaque reads in part, "From its discovery in 1805 through 2003, when the Conway Granite of the profile finally submitted to nature and crumbled, the Old Man was a beloved icon of New Hampshire. It remains a cherished symbol of the state and its people."

the state coin of New Hampshire, with the Old Man of the Mountain
Gaussian_blur / Getty Images / iStockphoto
New Jersey
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30.New Jersey was once home to an anarchic theme park called Action Park, where the regular injuries suffered by patrons earned it the nicknames Class Action Park and Traction Park. According to History, a combination of free-flowing alcohol, a nearly supervision-free environment, and some dangerous attractions like a water slide with a 360-degree loop and a very intense wave pool, resulted in six deaths and countless injuries by the time the park closed in 1996.

the 360 water slide

In the trailer for the documentary Class Action Park, comedian, New Jersey native, and Action Park alumnus Chris Gethard says, "Nobody should ever be the second person to die in a wave pool. Close the fucking wave pool!"

the wave pool at Action Parl
New Mexico
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31.In 1950, Ralph Edward, the host of a popular radio game show, asked towns in America to consider renaming themselves in honor of the show. One town in New Mexico answered the call.

A river running through New Mexico, with caption: the "call your bluff" state
Teresa Kopec / Getty Images

And that's how Hot Springs, New Mexico became Truth or Consequences, New Mexico. You have to admit, it is much catchier.

the exist sign for Truth or Consequences
Erik Von Weber / Getty Images
New York
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32.On June 28, 1970, New York City, New York became home to the nation's first gay Pride parade. Exactly one year after the beginning of the Stonewall Riots, thousands of demonstrators gathered to march in what was then called Christopher Street Liberation Day. (Christopher Street is where the Stonewall Inn is located.)

a protestor holding a sign reading: I am a lesbian and I am beautiful
Pictorial Parade / Getty Images

In "Thousands of Homosexuals Hold a Protest Rally in Central Park," a New York Times article written about the event, Michael Brown, the founder of the Gay Liberation Front, said, "We have to come out into the open and stop being ashamed, or else people will go on treating us as freaks. This march is an affirmation and declaration of our new pride." According to the same article, people marched while chanting, "Say it loud, gay is proud." The reporter noted there was "little open animosity" toward the protestors, though some were "obviously startled."

Pictured is Marsha P. Johnson, a legendary activist for the rights of queer and trans people. (The

Pictured is Marsha P. Johnson, a legendary activist for the rights of queer and trans people. (The "P." stands for "Pay It No Mind.) According to the New York Historical Society, Johnson was on the "front lines" of the Stonewall Riots, and was arrested "over 100 times" in the course of her work.

Netflix / courtesy Everett Collection
North Carolina
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33.North Carolina is home to a bald cypress tree that is "at least 2,624 years old," according to Smithsonian Magazine. Scientist David W. Stahle, who led the team that discovered and dated the tree in 2019, said, "It was like walking back into the Cretaceous. It was essentially a virgin forest, an uncut old-growth forest of 1,000 to over 2,000-year-old trees cheek to jowl across this flooded land."

a birds-eye view of the swamp
David Stahle / youtube.com

These elderly trees are particularly useful when it comes to collecting climate data, with researcher Dave Meko telling Smithsonian, "We don't have many spots where we can sample tree rings to pick up variations over 2,000 years of climate. So where we can, we try to take advantage of them. Bald cypress is definitely a gold mine of climate information from the Southeast."

A crossection of a tree

Pictured is a cross-section of a bald cypress that is around 375 years old.

AArterra / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

And now, for an incomplete list of things that happened while this tree was chilling in North Carolina: the birth of Jesus Christ (somewhere around 2,026 years ago), the publication of Sir Isaac Newton's seminal work Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica (335 years ago), and the release of Oscar-nominated film Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius (21 years ago).

Jesus, Newton, and Jimmy Neutron

I am willing to bet these three have never been in the same sentence before.

GraphicaArtis , Hulton Fine Art Collection / via Getty, Nickelodeon / Courtesy Everett Collection
North Dakota
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34.The first mosque in the United States was built in the prairie town of Ross, North Dakota, which today has a population of 97. The mosque was rebuilt after the first version was neglected and then torn down following the Great Depression.

the small mosque in the North Dakota prairies
KVRR News / youtube.com

Nicole Mattson, a descendent of the people who built the first mosque, told NPR, "A lot of people are made to feel like they are coming here and they are something different, someone different than anybody who has been here before. And the history out on the prairie shows that that's not true. People like them have been here for more than 100 years."

The mosque in the snow from a further distance
KVRR News / youtube.com
Ohio
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35.According to Insider, Columbus, Ohio is the preferred testing ground for fast-food restaurants looking to try out new products.

the skyline of Columbus at dusk, with caption: if McDonald's brings back pizza, they'll be the first to know
Holly Hildreth / Getty Images

The people of Columbus became fast-food trailblazers through a combination of factors, including the fact that the demographics of the city roughly reflect those of the country at large. Also, a lot of college students live there, along with a large population of people with the right amount of disposable income to test out McDonald's latest.

three containers of burger king fries
Sky Cloud Pics / Getty Images / iStockphoto
Oklahoma
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36.Oklahoma has an official state meal, and it sounds absolutely goddamn delicious.

a road in Oklahoma at sunset, with caption: I hope this road leads straight to Oklahoma City, because I'm moving
John Elk / Getty Images

First approved by the state government in 1988, the meal consists of barbecued pork, chicken-fried steak, sausage, biscuits and gravy, fried okra, corn, squash, black-eyed peas, grits, cornbread, strawberries, and for dessert, a slice of good old-fashioned pecan pie.

a tray of barbecue with caption:
Kevin Trimmer / Getty Images
Oregon
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37.Have you ever carved a jack-o'-lantern and stopped to think, "I could ride this gourd across the sea in a race to glorious victory?" Well, does Oregon have the event for you.

a point of view of someone racing pumpkins, with caption: POV - you're having the time of your life
KGW News / youtube.com

Since 2004, the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta has seen adults in costume climb into hollowed-out "1,000 pound pumpkins" that they then race around a lake. Naturally, the event is hosted by the Pacific Giant Vegetable Growers.

a birds-eye view of the pumpkin racing
KGW News / youtube.com
Pennsylvania
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38.On May 23, 2019, Pennsylvania held its first-ever "143 Day," or the "statewide day of kindness," in honor of one of its most beloved citizens: children's television host and cardigan enthusiast Mister Rogers.

Mr. Rogers in his famous red cardigan
Bettmann Archive / via Getty

According to CNN, Fred Rogers would tell his friends "143," because that's the number of letters in each word of the phrase "I love you." May 23 was chosen because it's the 143rd day of the year. When Governor Tom Wolf announced the day via his Twitter account, he wrote, "As governor, I’ve met countless Pennsylvanians. And I know we’re genuinely nice people. Join me in spreading love today and seeing just how far a little kindness can go."

Mr. Rogers being interviewed in Pittsburgh
NBC Newswire / NBCUniversal via Getty Images
Rhode Island
Sarinra Yimcharoen / EyeEm / via Getty

39.Rhode Island is home to a roadside attraction known as the Big Blue Bug, and folks, it's exactly what you think it is. Built in 1980 as a way to advertise New England Pest Control, this massive termite became so iconic that in 2012, the company changed its name to Big Blue Bug Solutions.

the giant blue bug himself
Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Bug is "58 feet long, 9 feet tall, and weighs 4,000 pounds," and his formal name is Nibbles Woodaway, which is just the best.

the bug looming over the highway
Jason Allard / youtube.com
South Carolina
Mansoreh Motamedi / via Getty

40.There is an island off the coast of South Carolina that is home to zero humans, and around 3,500 rhesus monkeys.

A marsh in South Carolina, with caption: you can't visit the island but you can make up ridiculous theories about how the monkeys got there (my best guess is pumpkin boat) (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go read the Oregon fact)
Teresa Kopec / Getty Images

Morgan Island is closed to the public and owned by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources; according to WCSC, some of the monkeys are used for "public health research by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases." The NIAID told WCSC, "Government researchers work with approximately 400–600 rhesus macaques from Morgan Island annually for research that helps develop life-saving prevention tools and treatments for diseases affecting public health. ... The maintenance of the colony is conducted in accordance with all federal laws, regulations and policies, and the animals are provided food, water, and veterinary and other care both on and off the island. No research is conducted on the island."

A group of Rhesus monkeys in the woods
Istvan Kadar Photography / Getty Images
South Dakota
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41.Spearfish, South Dakota holds the world record for the fastest temperature change: On January 22, 1943, the temperature changed from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to 45 degrees within the span of two minutes.

the landscape of Spearfish, with caption: Pictured: 1. Spearfish, ND2. Wind? Maybe?
Vw Pics / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

What's called a "Chinook wind" was responsible for the dramatic shift. According to the National Centers for Environmental Information, Chinook winds "often bring extreme increases in temperatures to the region as they move from west to east" across the Rocky Mountains. The strength of these winds can be "devastating" to surrounding areas.

the landscape of South Dakota, with bison graving
David Mcnew / Getty Images
Tennessee
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42.Jack Daniel, of the famed Tennessee whiskey brand, learned to distill his wares under the tutelage of his mentor, a slave named Nathan "Nearest" Green; in 2016, Jack Daniel's (the company) recognized Green as its first master distiller. Fawn Weaver, who has extensively researched the life of Green, told the New York Times that he met Daniel when he was rented out to work on a farm where Daniel was employed. Following the war, Green worked with Daniel as a free man.

a line of Jack Daniels bottles
Larry French / via Getty

Weaver said, "It was jarring that arguably one of the most well-known brands in the world was created, in part, by a slave." Green's sons and grandsons also worked as distillers for the company. Weaver later debuted several whiskeys named for Green, including Uncle Nearest 1856 Premium Aged Whiskey.

the old office at the modern day Jack Daniels HQ
Picture Alliance / picture alliance via Getty Images
Texas
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43.San Antonio, Texas is home to Morgan's Wonderland, a theme park specially designed to be "ultra-accessible" to all guests. Its attractions include a wheelchair-accessible carousel and Ferris wheel and "Rainbow Reef," which features only warm water for "guests that may be unable to tolerate cooler water temperatures." The water park where you can find Rainbow Reef, Morgan's Inspiration Island, offers guests three different types of waterproof wheelchairs to switch into, free of charge, in case they don't want to or can't get their personal ones wet.

the accessible ferris wheel
KENS 5 / youtube.com

Gordon Hartman was inspired to build the park when he saw his daughter Morgan, who was born with cognitive and physical special needs, be ignored by other children at a hotel swimming pool in 2006. The park opened its doors in 2010, and offers free entry to everyone living with a disability. In 2018, Time included Morgan's Inspiration Island in its list of the World's 100 Greatest Places.

a statue of two hands touching a butterfly at the center of the park
KENS 5 / youtube.com
Utah
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44.The official state snack of Utah is Jell-O, and according to Thrillest, residents eat more of the jiggly stuff per capita than anywhere else in the USA. It's associated with the large Mormon population in the state, though according to Slate, the origins of this stereotype are "less a reflection of the values of Mormon subculture than of the ascendance of processed foods."

a red rock formation in a Utah national park, with caption: you had me at hello (hello crossed out and replaced with jell-o)
Mark Brodkin Photography / Getty Images

One person the LA Times interviewed about the trend made her Jell-O with vegetable broth. But apparently, the "classic" Utah approach to the lime flavor is to add shredded carrots.

Cups of red and green jell-o

If you're from Utah and you've had this delicacy, please describe its flavor/general vibe in the comments below, because I am desperately curious.

Nicole Guhse / Getty Images / EyeEm
Vermont
Sarinra Yimcharoen / EyeEm / via Getty

45.Some Vermont homes feature a peculiar architectural idiosyncrasy known as a "witch window." Historian Devin Colman told Vermont Public Radio, "The story is that a witch on a broomstick can’t fly through a crooked window opening, which I guess physically is true. But, it’s the only crooked window in the whole house. And if I were a witch, I would just use one of the other vertical windows." Which is a solid point if I've ever heard one.

A yellow house with two diagonal "witch windows", with caption: a witch - ah well, guess not
Kirento / youtube.com

Because Vermont is home to the most metal architects in the nation, nay, the world, witch windows are also referred to as "coffin windows." Says Colman, "The idea being that it’s difficult to maneuver a coffin with a body from the second floor down to the first floor in these narrow staircases, so slide it out through the window and down the roof — which does not seem any easier." You can find these angled windows in other parts of New England, but they're most common in Vermont; the name "witch window" and its origin story do seem to be unique to the state.

a rustic farm in vermont, with caption: there are over 100 witches hidden in this photo of Vermont farmland
Getty Images
Virginia
Mansoreh Motamedi / via Getty

46.In Smithfield County, Virginia, you, too, can live the American dream and visit the World's Oldest Ham (not to mention the World's Oldest Peanut) at the Isle of Wight County Museum.

the skyline of Richmond Virginia, with caption: your move, every other ham
Sky Noir Photography By Bill Dic / Getty Images

This pork of lore was cured by P.D. Gwaltney Jr. in 1902, and after it was forgotten about for over two decades, he started showcasing it to prove the "preservative powers of his smoking method." Gwaltney Jr. even made his pet ham its very own brass collar. Naturally, the museum maintains a 24/7 livestream of the ham known as the "Ham Cam." It also has its own Twitter account.

Washington
Jasmin Merdan / via Getty

47.During World War II, a Boeing plant in Washington needed to disguise itself, in case it was identified as a target for bombing. The solution? A fake, tiny neighborhood designed to make people in enemy planes think, That's clearly suburbia, not a beating heart of the American war effort.

if the towns are factories, what's this mountain? a nuclear research facility? a TGI Friday's? or...is this mountain...a town? no, that doesn't make sense. sorry, carry on.
Aaaaimages / Getty Images

According to the Seattle Times, what I've decided to call Boeing-ville was built in 1944 and removed following the end of the war. The buildings were only 4 feet tall, and the urban design featured "lawns and trees [made with] chicken feathers and spun glass."

a modern-day Boeing factory in Washington
Stephen Brashear / Getty Images
West Virginia
Jasmin Merdan / via Getty

48.A West Virginia hotel called the Greenbrier Resort is home to a secret apocalypse bunker that was built during Eisenhower's administration.

the giant door to the bunker
Alex Wong / Getty Images

At 112,544 square feet, it was designed to be large enough to hold all of Congress (and, presumably, Eisenhower). However, thanks to all that nuclear war we didn't have, it was never used, though it was kept secret (and upgraded with modern technology, because you never know) for more than 30 years, until 1992.

the seats inside of the fallout shelter
William Campbell / Getty Images
Wisconsin
Maryna Terletska / via Getty

49.You can make cheese anywhere, but only in Wisconsin can you win the coveted title of Master Cheesemaker.

A madison street, with caption: I'd call it an honor, but I'm not that cheesy (winking face), plus below: look, there are 48 states that come before Wisconsin, I'm not not going to take the easy joke
Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

To qualify for the unique program, you must have 10 years of experience as a cheesemaker. It takes about three years to graduate, and classes offered include "Wisconsin Advanced Cheese Technology" and "Applied Dairy Chemistry." Proudly Cheese Wisconsin describes it as "basically a PhD in cheese," and notes that there's nothing else like it in the US.

A Wisconsin dairy farm
Lightstalker / Getty Images / iStockphoto
Wyoming
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50.And finally: According to NPR, there are a grand total of two escalators in Wyoming.

The mountainous landscape of Wyoming, with caption: Official State Motto: Equal Rights. Unofficial State Motto: We'll see you and your moving stairs in hell.
Danny Lehman / Getty Images

However, Jeremy Fugleberg, assistant managing editor of the Casper Star-Tribune, argued that there are in fact four escalators, since each of the two has both "an up escalator and a down escalator." He added, "Wyoming is very proud of its ability to get from floor to floor in some form other than escalators. Believe it or not, Wyoming is jam-packed with stairs and elevators that are very popular and used all the time." I, for one, believe him.

an escalator, with caption: you hear that? you're not wanted here.
Longhua Liao / Getty Images

Of course, a single fact can't sum up every facet of a place's history and inhabitants, so in the comments, you tell me what I should know about your home state/home country/home planet.

Also, Utahans, I was serious before: What is the shredded carrots and Jell-O dish like? Is it savory? What do you serve it with? Is it a dessert or a side dish?