The Strangest Fact About Every State
The Strangest Fact About Every 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. Your state (and even your charming small town) probably has some really weird history that you don’t know about. Whether it’s a story of how it got its name over 200 years ago or how they chose your state’s official bug, every state in America has something pretty strange about it.
The Active Times has searched the internet for the strangest, weirdest, and wackiest fact about every state in America, plus the District of Columbia. Some of them are attractions you can visit, and some are just thought-provoking wonders that you can’t see, but can imagine from the annals of history.
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 your state has the largest produce because it gets the most sun, or that it’s exclusively just your tradition to drop a potato instead of a silver ball on New Year’s Eve. They’re all weird and they’re all true. Read on to learn the strangest fact about every state.
Left: SusanMcAnnally/istockphoto.com;Right: USDA/Wikimedia Commons
Alabama has an entire museum dedicated to a bug. The Boll Weevil Monument in Enterprise, Alabama honors the invasive species of insect that forced the state’s farmers to grow other crops instead of cotton. The monument depicts a woman holding a large weevil over her head.
Alaska has larger and sweeter produce than anywhere else in America. The sun can shine for up to 20 hours during this far northern state’s summer months. For this reason, plants in Alaska, particularly cabbage, can grow to be abnormally large. According to NPR, the longer exposure to sunlight contributes to the sweetness of Alaskan produce.
Left:istockphoto.com; Right: Dreamstime
It’s not a major fashion statement here. The bolo tie has been recognized as the official state neckwear of Arizona since 1971, according to NPR.
Find a diamond. pick it up, all the day you’ll have….a diamond! 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 Arkansas 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 United States, so if you’re looking to find something shiny and free, this is your best bet!
There has never been a U.S. president or vice president born in Colorado.
Left:istockphoto.com; Right: Songquan Deng/Dreamstime.com
Florida’s Brevard County has the area code is 321 in recognition of the countdown to each launch from the Kennedy Space Center. So if you get a call from 321, it might be NASA calling.
Boston Public Library/Wikimedia Commons
The Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backwards. In 1900 a reversal technique diverted sewage away from Lake Michigan (where Chicagoans were getting their drinking water) and dumped it into the Mississippi watershed. The engineering feat has been recognized as one of the largest public earth-moving projects ever completed.
Left: csfotoimages/istockphoto.com; Right:istockphoto.com
Left: Dreamstime; Right: istockphoto.com
According to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, there are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people. There are 4.7 million barrels of bourbon and 4.3 million people! That’s a barrel per-person with a little left over!
Angola Prison/Wikimedia Commons
In Louisiana you can play golf inside a prison. The Louisiana State Penitentiary has a public golf course on its grounds, called the Prisonview Golf Course. As you might expect, it’s got pretty tight security — guests have to submit information for a full background check 48 hours in advance, cameras are not allowed, all vehicles are subject to search, and play may be suspended any time at the warden’s discretion.
If you own a toilet in Maryland (and we really hope you do), you’re being taxed $2.50 a month for that luxury.
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.
This haunting Mississippi story is still told today. In 1942, a phantom barber terrorized the town of Pascagoula by cutting the hair of sleeping people. Newspapers at the time reported that he would occasionally only snip a lock or two, but would sometimes cut off a whole head of hair. He particularly liked blonde women. There have not been any reported copycats of this crime, so blondes, you’re safe — for now.
Left:gnagel/istockphoto.com;Right: Debbi Smirnoff/istockphoto.com
Aunt Jemima pancake flour was first invented in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1889.
Your pet will probably live a longer life in Montana. This state has the highest average lifespan for pets according to one report from a national veterinary chain. Cats in Montana live two years longer than the national average, while dogs live a year and a half longer than the national average.
Left: istockphoto.com; Right:Kool-Aid_Kool-Aid/itemmaster
Kool-Aid has been the official state soft drink of Nebraska since 1998.
A six-person group of do-gooders were sued in the city of Keene for paying random people’s tickets for expired parking meters in 2013. The charges were later dropped by the judge.
Left:istockphoto.com; Right: David Edelman/Dreamstime.com
In the city that never sleeps, pinball was illegal in New York City until 1976.
The first ever traffic light in America was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, on August 5, 1914.
Portland, Oregon, is home to 68 breweries. That’s more breweries than any other city in the United States!
Left:istockphoto.com; Right: Jaguarps/Dreamstime.com
Though it’s a hub for country performers, Music City’s other artists were once thought to suffer from the “Nashville Curse.” According to Nashville Scene, the hex began in the early ‘80s, when next-big-thing rockers Jason & the Nashville Scorchers took the word “Nashville” out of their name to get a record deal — but then never hit it big. No non-country artist from the city scored a platinum record until the pop-emo band Paramore did it with their album “Riot!” in 2007.
This state once accidentally honored the Boston Strangler. On April 1, 1971, Texas state Rep. Tom Moore proposed a bill that would honor the Boston Strangler, a man who allegedly murdered 13 women. He did this to prove that his colleagues did not read the bills that they were voting on. He later retracted the bill after it passed, but could you imagine? National Boston Strangler Day!
Left: Pureradiancephoto/istockphoto.com;Right: istockphoto.com
Jell-O is the official state snack of Utah.
Planners for the town of Winooski once proposed covering the whole town with a giant dome to solve the winter energy conservation problem. Though the proposal received worldwide media attention, it received little political support and never began construction or planning.
Left: istockphoto.com; Right: deborahkr/istockphoto.com
The Washington state dance is the square dance.
National Cathedral Darth
In a competition for “gargoyle” designs to raise money for the construction of the National Cathedral’s west towers in the 1980s, one child’s Darth Vader design took third place and earned the right to be carved in stone. Darth Vader has sat atop the National Cathedral ever since.
While known for their football team, the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, is also known as the “Toilet Paper Capital” of the world because of the large number of toilet paper manufacturers based there.
Left:Dreasmtime.com; Right: USGS/Wikimedia Commons
One Wyoming town was built on top of an abandoned airport. The town of Bar Nunn exists where Wardwell Field airport used to be, and the town’s more than 2,000 people use the original runways as streets. One of the town’s two restaurants is actually located in a repurposed hangar.
More From The Active Times: