25 Fun Facts About Illinois

04/03/2014 09:32 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

What do I love most about Illinois? It's rich history. So many world-changing events have happened in our state, and I don't think many people realize it! We did some research and put together 25 fun facts about Illinois' history and culture. Are we missing any good ones? Share them with us in the comments below!

25. Illinois is home to the world's largest bottle of catsup.

24. Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th amendment to abolish slavery.

23. Illinois had two other state capitals before Springfield, Kaskaskia and Vandalia.

22. Only two buildings survived the great Chicago fire, the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station.

21.  Ronald Reagan's famous childhood home is in Dixon, IL, but his birthplace is Tampico.

20. The Ice Cream Sundae originated in Evanston, IL.

19. The Chicago Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through.

18. The Nabisco factory in Chicago is the world's largest bakery in the world at 1,800,000 square feet!

17. Elzie Crisler Segar, the creator of Popeye the Sailorman cartoon, was born in Chester, Illinois.

15. Illinois' highest point is Charles Mound at 1,235 ft.

14. Illinois' is home to the world's only river that flows backward.

13. Aurora is known as the  City of Lights because it was the first U.S. city to use electric street lighting throughout the entire city

12. There is a fire-breathing dragon in Vandalia, IL known as the Kaskaskia Dragon.

11. The term "jazz" was coined in Chicago in 1914 by Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa.

10. The Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is one of only three major free zoos in the county, and is the nation's oldest public zoo.

9. Twinkies were invented on April 6, 1930 in River Forest, Illinois

8. Morton, IL is the "pumpkin capital of the world." More than 85% of packaged pumpkin comes from here.

7. The world's tallest man was born in Alton, IL. Robert Pershing Wadlow was 8'11", weight 491 lbs and wore a size 37 shoe.

6. The first public office that Abraham Lincoln took was as postmaster in New Salem, IL.

5. The first farming Tower Silo was created in Spring Grove, Illinois.

4. The first all-color TV station debuted in Chicago (Channel 5).

3. Nearly 80% of the state's land area is farm land.


2. April 1st was officially named "Cheap Trick Day" in Illinois.

1. Here's Illinois' official state song.

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