The Strangest Fact About Every State

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An airport hassle even more obnoxious than missing your flight is losing your bag, and lots of bags are never claimed at all. The Unclaimed Baggage Center in Scottsboro, Alabama, is a 40,000-square-foot store where lost luggage goes to be reborn. It is organized by department - women's, men's, formal wear, electronics, books, fine jewelry, footwear and, of course, luggage - to make it easier for customers to find what they're looking for.

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Alaska

In parts of Alaska, the sun can shine for up to 20 hours during the summer months, making it one of the best places to visit during the season. For this reason, plants in the state, particularly cabbage, can grow to be abnormally large. Examples of this freakishly large produce include a 138-pound cabbage, a 65-pound cantaloupe and 35-pound broccoli.

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Arizona

Supai and Phantom Ranch, both located deep in the Grand Canyon, are the only places left in the U.S. where mail is delivered by mule. At Supai, located near Havasupai Falls, postman Hank Delaney has been taking the 16-mile round trip to deliver the mail since 1999. The area is also home to one of America's beautiful secret swimming holes.

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Arkansas

If you find a diamond while scouring the 37-acre field at Murfreesboro's Crater of Diamonds State Park, you are allowed to keep the gem. White, brown and yellow diamonds have been dug up, along with amethyst, garnet and many other gems, rocks and minerals. More than 33,000 diamonds have been found there since 1972, including the largest diamond ever unearthed in America, the 40.23-carat "Uncle Sam." You're welcome to bring your own mining equipment or rent tools on-site, but they can't be battery-powered or motor-driven.

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California

Both the highest and lowest points in the contiguous United States can be found in California; Mt. Whitney soars to 14,500 feet and the Badwater Basin in Death Valley is 282 feet below sea level. Amazingly, the two are only about 88 miles apart as the crow flies.

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Colorado

The state of Colorado actually once had three governors in one day. Back in 1904, Democrat Alva Adams won the gubernatorial election, but his Republican opponent, James H. Peabody, contested the election after learning that Adams had used "repeaters," or people who voted more than once. Adams, in turn, countered that Peabody had enlisted mine owners to force their employees to vote Republican or risk losing their jobs. After an investigation verified both claims, Adams was forced out of office (after three months on the job) and replaced by Peabody, under the condition that Peabody would resign within 24 hours. After resigning, Peabody was replaced by Lieutenant Governor Jesse F. McDonald.

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Connecticut

An astonishing amount of things were invented in Connecticut; these include the toothpaste tube, the Colt revolver, the flycing disc, the tape measure, the can opener and the submarine. We can even thank Connecticut for the hamburger, which was created at Louis Lunch in New Haven - the original version of this favorite food is still one of the best burgers in America.

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Delaware

For a variety of reasons, Delaware is a great state to incorporate your business, and more than 1 million businesses (including Coca-Cola, DuPont and Google) have incorporated or reincorporated there. With a 2018 population of about 967,000, that's more businesses than people.

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Florida

Florida is known for many strange things - a list that seems to grow every day - but one of the weirdest facts about Florida is that the state is home to the Psychic Capital of the World, Cassadaga. This tiny town, about a half-hour from Orlando, is home to many mediums, psychics and healers. Shops selling crystals and tarot cards line streets named Spiritualist Street and Mediumship Way.

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Georgia

In Gainesville, Georgia, it's illegal to eat fried chicken with a fork. One of the weirdest laws in America says it is only legal to eat fried chicken with your hands, and it was passed as a sort-of public relations stunt in 1961. A 91-year-old woman was actually cited for breaking the law back in 2009, but she was quickly pardoned by the mayor after a few laughs with the police chief.

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Hawaii

Considering Hawaii, the happiest state in America, has an entire food festival dedicated to Spam, it may not shock you to know that Hawaiians eat more of this canned meat product than any other state in America. How much do Hawaiians eat? About 7 million cans annually, according to the company. With a population of about 1.4 million, that's five cans per resident.

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Idaho

Why watch the ball drop in Times Square when you can watch the potato drop in Boise? Since 2013, thousands of "spec-taters" have gathered at the Idaho State Capitol for a fireworks display, live entertainment, food trucks and, as the clock strikes midnight, the lowering of a giant, illuminated "GlowTato." If you can't make it to Idaho to see this, don't worry; every state has an ideal place to ring in the New Year.

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Illinois

Until 1969, the official language of Illinois was technically "American" as opposed to English. This was set into law in 1923 when State Senator Frank Ryan proposed the bill, which aimed to punish "American Tories... who have never become reconciled to our republican institutions and have ever clung to the tradition of King and Empire."

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Indiana

In 1897 there was a bill introduced by the state's legislature to round up the lengthy decimal value of pi (generally shortened to 3.14) to 3.2, after physician Edward J. Goodwin discovered what he believed to be a new way of solving the old mathematical riddle of "squaring the circle" by tweaking the figure. Squaring the circle was already a proven impossibility, though. The Indiana Pi bill never became law - close call - but the Hoosier pie remains one of the most iconic desserts in America.

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Iowa

Iowa is home to more pigs than any other state: 22.7 million as of June 2018. And with a population of only about 3.2 million as of July 2018, this means that there are a lot more pigs (and bacon) than people there.

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Kansas

Pizza lovers may be interested to learn that Pizza Hut was born in Kansas. Brothers Dan and Frank Carney opened the very first Pizza Hut in downtown Wichita in 1958 after borrowing $600 from their mother, and the first franchise opened in Topeka a year later. They decided on "Pizza Hut" because the sign had room for only eight letters. And if you didn't know that, you may not know these other facts about Pizza Hut.

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Kentucky

When people think of Kentucky, most will think bourbon. But it's one of those states you didn't know made wine. Surprisingly, Kentucky is home to America's first commercial winery, fittingly named First Vineyard. It was founded in 1798 by John James Dufour in what is known today as Nicholasville and was entered into the National Historic Register in 2015.

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Louisiana

Louisiana is home to the longest bridge over a body of water in the world. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is nearly 24 miles long and connects the towns of Metairie (just outside New Orleans) and Mandeville. It's one of the most breathtaking views in America and something you need to see to believe.

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Maine

By World War II, Strong, Maine, became known as The Toothpick Capital of the World, producing 95% of all wooden toothpicks manufactured in America - more than 75 billion annually. The final mill closed down there in 2003, though, so now the number's been whittled down to zero.

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Maryland

In 2004, Maryland instituted a "flush tax" of $30 per year on residents in order to improve sewage treatment plants. The amount was increased to $60 in 2012, so if you live in Maryland, you're paying $5 a month for the privilege.

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Massachusetts

Webster Lake in Massachusetts has another name, but it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. The name? Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg. The name (which has 45 letters and 14 syllables, for those keeping count) dates from when it was a gathering place for the local Nipmuc Indians, and it loosely translates to "Fishing Place at the Boundary." Lake Chaubunagungamaug, as it's sometimes shortened to, is a place only East Coasters know about.

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Michigan

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. It's also the only state that borders four of the five Great Lakes. Due to this unique geography, it has the longest freshwater coastline in the world and the longest shoreline of every state except for Alaska, extending for 3,288 miles. That makes for some great underrated beach towns.

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Minnesota

In the mid-1950s, a major Minneapolis property owner named Leslie Park proposed connecting buildings via covered pedestrian bridges as a way to revitalize Downtown and protect residents against the harsh winter elements. The first one was built in 1962, and the idea took off. Today, Minneapolis is home to the world's largest "skyway" system, connecting 80 blocks spread out over 8 miles.

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Mississippi

Ever wonder where the term "Teddy Bear" came from? In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt was hunting near Onward, Mississippi, with the state's governor, and was the only one in the group who hadn't shot a bear. When one was found and tied to a tree for him to shoot, Roosevelt refused to do so. A cartoon satirizing the event appeared in the Washington Post later that year, leading a candy shop maker to make and sell a stuffed bear in his honor which he dubbed "Teddy's Bear."

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Missouri

Missouri is home to more than 6,000 caves, so it's no wonder why it's been dubbed "The Cave State."

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Montana

The greatest temperature change in 24 hours took place in Browning, Montana, on Jan. 23 and 24, 1916, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. During that span, the temperature fell from 44 degrees F to minus 56 degrees F, a drop of 100 degrees.

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Nebraska

Nebraska may have the koolest state drink in the country. Kool-Aid was invented in Hastings, Nebraska, by Edwin Perkins in 1927, and the drink became the official beverage of Nebraska in 1998. There's even an annual festival held there each August to honor the drink mix, called Kool-Aid Days. And if you didn't know that, you probably didn't know these other facts about Kool-Aid.

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Nevada

In 1940, a human skeleton was discovered in a small cave in the foothills of Nevada's Stillwater Mountains that was dubbed the Spirit Cave Mummy. In the 1990s, radiocarbon dating revealed that it was in fact 9,400 years old, making it the oldest human mummy found in North America.

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New Hampshire

If you're over the age of 18, there's no law in New Hampshire mandating that you buckle your seatbelt. That makes it the only state in the country that doesn't require adults to buckle up.

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New Jersey

The very first official organized baseball game took place on June 19, 1846, on grounds in Hoboken, New Jersey, called Elysian Fields. The teams were forced across the Hudson River by New York laws enacted to prevent broken windows. The original diamond is believed to have been located at the present intersection of 11th and Washington Streets, and if you visit, there's a plaque on the corner as well as white stone "bases" embedded in each corner of the intersection.

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New Mexico

Quick: name the oldest state capital in the U.S. Boston? Richmond? Nope. It's Santa Fe, which was founded by the Spanish between 1607 and 1610 - the Pilgrims didn't even arrive in Plymouth until 1620. It's America's second-oldest city, and also the highest capital in the country at an elevation of about 7,000 feet.

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New York

We tend to think of zip codes as being the domain of neighborhoods, and for much of New York City that's the case. But 42 of the city's buildings actually have zip codes of their own, including the Empire State Building (10118), 30 Rockefeller Plaza (10112), the MetLife Building (10166) and the Woolworth Building (10279).

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North Carolina

The Venus flytrap is one of the most famous and intriguing plants on earth, but it's actually only native to the coastal plains around Wilmington, North Carolina. For this reason, it's been dubbed the North Carolina State Carnivorous Plant.

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North Dakota

One of the tiniest towns in America, Ruso, North Dakota, has a population of just 4. There were only three inhabitants when its longtime mayor, Bruce Lorenz, passed away at age 86 in 2018, which caused a problem: In order to be incorporated, a community needs at least three residents. Thankfully, a nearby couple, Greg and Michelle Schmaltz, moved to the town later that year, saving it from disincorporation.

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Ohio

Cleveland's Cuyahoga River was so polluted that it was essentially covered with a permanent oil slick, and between 1868 and 1969 the river actually caught fire a whopping 10 times, at least. The 1969 fire proved the most consequential, though, as the uproar it caused finally spurred the city to clean it up and it served as an inspiration for the founding of the Environmental Protection Agency the following year.

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Oklahoma

The town of Boise City, Oklahoma, has the unique distinction of being the only city in the continental United States to be bombed during World War II. In the wee hours of July 5, 1943, four B-17 bombers took off on a practice bombing run armed with 100-pound practice explosives, each with four pounds of dynamite. The navigator mistook the lights of the town's courthouse square for their intended target (which was actually 45 miles away), and the pilots dropped their bombs right into the heart of the town. Thankfully it caused no injuries and only minimal damage, but it was enough to give the 1,200 residents a major scare.

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Oregon

Leave it to Portland to be home to the world's smallest city park according to Guinness World Records. At 2 feet wide and only 452 square inches, Mill Ends Park is part of a median on SW Front Avenue, and was created in 1948 by local journalist Dick Fagan as a colony for leprechauns. If you're looking for a true park experience, you should probably visit one of these underrated parks instead.

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Pennsylvania

In the town of Centralia, a coal mine fire from 1962 is still burning underground. Due to the smoke and ongoing danger from the fire - which began in a coal seam and remains fueled by abandoned mine tunnels - the state forced out all the town's residents and condemned all its buildings, although a handful of holdouts remain in this ghost town.

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Rhode Island

Ever hear of coffee milk? Unless you live in Rhode Island, probably not. It's similar to chocolate milk, but instead of adding chocolate syrup to milk, it's coffee syrup (usually made by Autocrat) that's stirred in. It's so popular that it's been dubbed the official state drink, and it's a regional item you really need to try.

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South Carolina

Believed to be the oldest living thing east of the Mississippi River, the Angel Oak is located on John's Island outside Charleston. It stands 65 feet tall and provides 17,000 square feet of shade, and some of its branches are so heavy that they rest on the ground. It's estimated to be 1,500 years old.

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South Dakota

South Dakota and its capital, Pierre, are the only state and capital in the U.S. that don't share any letters.

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Tennessee

Mountain Dew can trace its roots to Tennessee. It was invented in Knoxville in 1932 by brothers Barney and Ally Hartman as a chaser for low-quality whiskey, and the name itself is an old slang term for moonshine.

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Texas

You'll find the highest posted speed limit in the country as you drive through Texas east from San Antonio. The speed limit on Texas State Highway 130 is 80 miles per hour along its tolled section, but between Austin and Seguin the limit is 85 - making it the only road you'll legally be able to travel at such a high speed in the country.

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Utah

The residents of Utah consume so much Jell-O, and clearly enjoy it so much, that the dessert became the official state snack in 2001.

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Vermont

Vermont's capital, Montpelier, is the smallest capital in the country by population, with only about 7,436 residents. Even more shocking is that it is the only capital city in the U.S. that does not have a McDonald's; the nearest one is located just outside of the city, in Barre.

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Virginia

Want to visit Stonehenge, one of the most mysterious places on earth, but aren't able to travel all the way to England? Then head to Cox Farms in Centreville, Virginia, and pay a visit to Foamhenge. Constructed by artist Mark Cline as an April Fools stunt in 2004 and moved to its current home in 2017, this faithful replica is open to visitors from late April to late December and is one of the weirdest roadside attractions in America.

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Washington

Mount St. Helens may be the most well-known volcano in Washington, but it is actually only one of five major volcanoes in the state, including Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Adams and Mount Rainier, which is the highest mountain in the state and considered to be one of the most dangerous volcanoes on earth.

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Washington, D.C.

The nation's capital might seem like a good place to bury the country's presidents, but in reality only one president is interred within the city's borders. Woodrow Wilson is entombed at Washington National Cathedral. Two are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, located just outside of the district: John F. Kennedy and William Howard Taft.

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West Virginia

The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the most iconic West Virginia landmarks; it's the longest steel span in the Western hemisphere and was featured on the state's commemorative quarter. It's also notable in another way: On the third Saturday of every October, BASE jumpers are invited to parachute off of it.

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Wisconsin

San Diego, Maui ... Sheboygan? Believe it or not, The Wisconsin city is renowned for its great surfing, so much so that it's been dubbed "the Malibu of the Midwest." Surfers take to Lake Michigan year-round, but peak surf season runs from fall through early spring.

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Wyoming

There are only two escalators in the entire state of Wyoming (technically four, because they both have ascending and descending sides), and they're both located in Casper, one in Hilltop National Bank and the other in First Interstate Bank. Apparently, they're such a novelty that they're considered something of a tourist attraction. But why line up to ride the escalators when Wyoming has some of the most stunning natural wonders in America?

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