25 Fun Facts about Illinois State

Illinois, known as the “Prairie State,” has a rich history and numerous interesting characteristics. Here are some fun facts about Illinois:

  1. State nickname: Illinois is often called the “Prairie State” due to the vast expanses of prairie that once covered much of the state.
  2. The Land of Lincoln: Illinois is closely associated with the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. Though born in Kentucky, Lincoln moved to Illinois at the age of 21 and began his political career there. The state capital, Springfield, is home to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
  3. State symbols: The state bird of Illinois is the Northern Cardinal, and the state flower is the Violet. The state tree is the White Oak.
  4. Chicago: Illinois is home to Chicago, the third-largest city in the United States. Known for its deep-dish pizza, vibrant cultural scene, and impressive architecture, Chicago attracts millions of tourists each year.
  5. Route 66: The famous Route 66, also known as the “Mother Road,” begins in Chicago and stretches 2,448 miles across the United States, ending in Santa Monica, California.
  6. First skyscraper: The world’s first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was built in Chicago in 1885. It stood at 10 stories tall and was considered a marvel of engineering at the time.
  7. The Great Chicago Fire: In 1871, a massive fire destroyed much of Chicago, killing around 300 people and leaving over 100,000 homeless. The city was quickly rebuilt, and the event led to improved building standards and the development of modern firefighting techniques.
  8. Nobel laureates: The University of Chicago has produced more than 100 Nobel laureates, making it one of the top institutions in the world in terms of Nobel Prize-winning affiliates.
  9. Illinois River: The Illinois River, a major tributary of the Mississippi River, stretches 273 miles across the state, providing vital transportation and trade routes.
  10. Inventions: Illinois has been the birthplace of many notable inventions, such as the zipper (invented by Whitcomb L. Judson), the vacuum cleaner (invented by Ives W. McGaffey), and the cell phone (created by Motorola, a company founded in Chicago).
  11. Statehood: Illinois became the 21st state of the United States on December 3, 1818.
  12. Name origin: The name “Illinois” comes from the Algonquin word “ilinwe,” which was the name of a confederation of Native American tribes that lived in the area.
  13. Tallest building: The Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) in Chicago is the second-tallest building in the United States, standing at 1,450 feet (442 meters).
  14. State dance: The state dance of Illinois is the square dance.
  15. Largest population: Illinois is the sixth most populous state in the United States, with an estimated population of over 12.8 million as of 2021.
  16. Presidential connections: In addition to Abraham Lincoln, two other U.S. presidents were born in Illinois: Ulysses S. Grant and Ronald Reagan.
  17. The Great Migration: Between 1916 and 1970, around six million African Americans moved from the rural South to northern cities, including Chicago, in a movement known as the Great Migration. This demographic shift had a significant impact on the cultural and political landscape of the United States.
  18. Illinois State Fair: The Illinois State Fair, held annually in Springfield, is one of the largest agricultural fairs in the country.
  19. Cahokia Mounds: The Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site in Illinois is the location of the largest pre-Columbian settlement north of Mexico, dating back to around A.D. 600-1400.
  20. State fossil: The state fossil of Illinois is the Tully Monster (Tullimonstrum gregarium), a mysterious aquatic creature that lived over 300 million years ago.
  21. First nuclear reaction: The world’s first controlled nuclear chain reaction took place at the University of Chicago in 1942, under the leadership of physicist Enrico Fermi.
  22. Largest cookie factory: The largest cookie factory in the world, operated by Nabisco, is located in Chicago.
  23. First Ferris wheel: The world’s first Ferris wheel was built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. It was designed by George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and stood 264 feet (80 meters) tall.
  24. Music history: Chicago has a rich music history, particularly in blues and jazz. Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, and Howlin’ Wolf are just a few of the blues legends who have called the city home.
  25. Four U.S. Interstate Highways converge in Illinois: Interstates 55, 57, 80, and 90 all meet in Illinois, making the state a key transportation hub in the United States.