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7 Incredible Facts About Illinois That You Should Know

Ashley Parada

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Every state across the U.S. has interesting facts that only locals and historians are aware of. Illinois is not an exception, with plenty of incredible facts from over the years that are not commonly known. Illinois small towns and big cities alike share some historical facts and fun facts as well. Read through this list of facts about Illinois and enjoy the advantage you will have at your next midwestern trivia night.

1. Springfield Was Not The First State Capitol

huffpost.com
huffpost.com

Much to the chagrin of elementary school students that have spent so much time memorizing each state’s capitol, Illinois actually had two others prior to settling on Springfield. At one point, both Kaskaskia and Vandalia were once the state capitol.

2. The Chicago River Flows Backwards

wikimedia.com
wikimedia.com

That’s right, the Chicago River is the only river in the world that flows backward. Wondering what might have caused this unique, interesting function? The river was actually manually reversed back in the early 1900s. The less than fun reason for it being to reduce the prevalence of waterborne diseases that were running rampant at that time.

3. Illinois Is Mostly Farmland

ilfarmandrecland.com
ilfarmandrecland.com

For those that live in Illinois, this might not be too much of a surprise. But with iconic cities like Chicago for example, visitors might be surprised to know that about 80% of Illinois land is actually farmland. Much of the United States can thank Illinois for their corn, as that is the largest crop grown in the state.

4. Abraham Lincoln Was Once A Postal Worker

incimages.com
incimages.com

If you could not tell from the aptly nicknamed ‘Land Of Lincoln,’ Illinois has so much pride regarding Abraham Lincoln. From the namesake restaurants to the endless historic and memorial sites, those living in Illinois continue to have such pride for its historical roots. Many would be surprised to know that our 16th president once worked for the U.S. Postal Service long before his presidency.

5. Birthplace Of The World’s Tallest Man

greatriverroad.com
greatriverroad.com

The record-holding world’s tallest man, Robert Pershing Wadlow, was born on February 22, 1918, in Alton, Illinois. Robert Pershing Wadlow stood at almost 9 feet high, 8’11 to be exact, and weighed almost five hundred pounds. Robert was beloved in Illinois and is also memorialized to this day in the form of a charming life-sized statue located on College Avenue in Alton, Illinois.

6. Halloween, Brought To You From Morton

pineridgehills.com
pineridgehills.com

Okay, so not exactly, but Morton, Illinois is likely best known for their pumpkin production and is widely considered the pumpkin capital of the world. This informal title comes from the fact that Morton produces more than 85% of the world’s packaged pumpkin. Fans of pumpkin pie, as well as other delicious pumpkin recipes, have likely eaten some of Morton’s pumpkins already.

7. The Nation’s Oldest Zoo Is In Chicago

inetours.com
inetours.com

Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo is also the oldest zoo in the United States. The Lincoln Park Zoo is not only impressive due to its exciting exhibits and family-friendly activities, but its ability to sustain its no cost admission. That’s right, this epic zoo is special because it does not charge its visitors admission.

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