50 Amazing Facts About America
We live in an amazing country, a place where all 50 states (plus Washington, DC) have fascinating stories to tell, from the inspiring to the impressive to the delightfully silly.
Discover the land of diamonds, the home of giants and the birthplace of space cadets — while learning about a headless chicken, the origin of PEZ dispensers and the story behind the Teddy bear — in this round-up of incredible, unique facts about states across the USA.
Feel free to use these to stump your friends at trivia night!
Alabama: The Original Home of Mardi Gras
New Orleans may have turned Fat Tuesday into the biggest party of the year, but the French settlers who brought the party to the Louisiana Territory were actually in what is now Alabama. It was Nicholas Langlois who threw the first fête in Mobile — the first capital of French Louisiana, now a city in Alabama — in 1703.
While it doesn't get the same press as NOLA's event, visitors can spend 2.5 weeks in Mobile to celebrate the nation's oldest Mardi Gras. Next year, 2020, the event will run Feb. 1 through Feb. 25.
Alaska: The 2-Cent-Per-Acre Laughing Stock
When William H. Seward purchased Alaska from Russia in 1867, it was considered such a mistake that the deal became known as "Seward's Folly." After all, the purchase cost a whopping $7.2 million.
However, at 375 million acres, the purchase price was actually a steal: 2 cents per acre.
Within decades of Seward making the purchase that grew America by 20 percent, gold was discovered and no one was laughing anymore!
Arizona: One of Two States Ignoring Daylight Savings Time
Residents of Arizona — and Hawaii — never have to "spring forward" or "fall back" for Daylight Savings Time. The two states chose not to follow the other U.S. states in implementing this practice, which became popular globally during World War I.
The reason for the clock change was to help make better use of daylight, especially for farmers rising early. Arizona can get pretty darn hot in the summer, with desert temps topping the 100-degree mark. They didn't want to have more sunlight.
However, just to make things more interesting, the Navajo Reservation in Arizona does observe the time change.
Arkansas: The Land of Diamonds
In 1977, a flawless yellow diamond known as the Kahn Canary was found in Arkansas' Crater of Diamonds State Park. Hilary Clinton wore the diamond to President Bill Clinton's inaugurals.
Crater of Diamonds is an 800-acre park where "finders keepers" has been the rule since diamonds were first discovered in the state in 1906. A 40-carat diamond known as "Uncle Sam" found here in 1924 remains the largest diamond ever discovered in America.
In 2007, a man found a 3.9-carat diamond, as well as 31 other diamonds, in just a week of shifting for them (though there have been suspicions that he planted foreign diamonds at the park). The same year, visitors to the park collected more than 1,000 "glittering pebbles."
You can seek diamonds yourself after paying the state park's $10 entry fee.
California: The Home of Giants
The tallest living tree in the world can be found in California's Redwood National Park. Here, giant redwood trees tower at heights of 300 feet. The biggest of them all? Hyperion, which stands proud at more than 379 feet.
The tree is taller than the Statue of Liberty, which measures "just" 305 feet.
The tree was discovered in 2006, but its exact whereabouts haven't been revealed to keep the 600-year-old treasure safe.
Colorado: Where You Can Celebrate a Headless Chicken
In 1945, a farmer chopped off the head of his chicken, Mike, to prepare him for dinner. But the chicken survived, living on without his head for the next two years.
Dubbed "Miracle Mike," the headless chicken is honored by the people of Fruita, Colorado with his very own festival — the 21st of which took place May 31 and June 1 of this year. The festival includes a poultry show, wing- and Peep-eating contests, live music, artisan markets and a black-and-white photo display outlining the history of a true legend.
Connecticut: Home to the Largest Collection of PEZ Dispensers
PEZ was first introduced to the world in Vienna, Austria in 1927 as a peppermint candy that could serve as an alternative to smoking. ("PEZ" comes from "Pfefferminz," meaning peppermint.)
Initially, PEZ candies were round and served in small tins. But they were eventually made in the shape of bricks and, in 1952, the company made the genius decision to serve them in character-shaped dispensers.
Since then, more than 1,500 of these dispensers have been created, many of which are on display at the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, Connecticut. The city is home to the first PEZ candy manufacturing facility in the U.S., and debuted its Visitor Center in 2011 to cater to people's obsession with the wacky dispensers.
Delaware: The State That Listens to Its 2nd Graders
In 1974, when Mrs. Mollie Brown-Rust's 2nd grade class at Milford's Lulu M. Ross Elementary School discovered Delaware had no state bug, they decided to do something about. So they lobbied the state to adopt the ladbyug as its state bug — and won.
House Bill No. 667 calls out the students explicitly for their efforts: "WHEREAS, students in the Milford High School District have found that the State of Delaware has omitted from the Delaware Code the official designation of a State bug...The Lady Bug shall be the official State Bug for the State of Delaware."
District of Columbia: Where the Highest Court Is Above the Highest Court
If you think the Supreme Court is the highest court in America, you're wrong. That distinction actually belongs to the basketball court located on the fifth floor of the Supreme Court building — just above the official courtroom where our nation's nine top justices work.
Wonder if Ruth Bader Ginsburg ever shoots hoops?
Florida: Home of the Nation's Oldest City
Long before the Pilgrims landed in New England, and well before the English established their first American colony in Virginia, the Spanish founded St. Augustine, Florida.
In 1565, admiral Pedro Menéndez de Avilés was instructed by King Phillip II of Spain to explore and colonize the Florida territory. The first place he found was a Timucuan Indian village he named St. Augustine.
In the oldest city in the U.S., you can also visit the oldest fort in the country, Castillo de San Marcos, dating back 324 years.
Georgia: Where All 350 Homes in One Town Have Front Porches
In the town of Serenbe, south of Atlanta, a developer wanted to maintain Southern charm and inspire an active community. Every home built, from townhouses to bungalows to cottages, were constructed with a front porch and no backyard so neighbors would get to know one another.
Although the homes don't offer backyards, the town does feature 15 miles of trails with a wildflower meadow, communal organic farm and blueberry bushes, just in case you get hungry while exploring the outdoors.
Hawaii: Home to the Tallest Mountain in the World
Yes, Mount Everest is tall — above sea level. But when you factor in mountain heights below sea level, Hawaii's Mauna Kea is much taller.
While the peak's elevation is 13,800 feet, it continues to stretch 19,700 feet beneath the ocean to the sea floor. This gives the mountain a full height of 33,500 feet — nearly 4,500 feet taller than Everest.
All nine Hawaiian islands are, in fact, tips of the Hawaiian-Emperor seamount, an epic underwater mountain range.
Idaho: Where Hells Run Deep
The Grand Canyon may be wide, but it is Idaho that has the deepest canyon in America.
Hells Canyon, stretching along the border with Oregon, is 7,913 feet deep — the deepest river gorge in the country. (The Grand Canyon's depth reaches 6,093 feet.)
The Grand Canyon gets more accolades because it is 277 miles long and 19 miles wide, whereas Hells Canyon is only 10 miles wide and 125 miles long. But despite its relatively small scale, there's still plenty to enjoy at Hells Canyon, including white-water rafting along its Snake River.
Illinois: The State That Reversed a River
Fast-growing Chicago had a problem with its sewage system during the early 1900s. Human and industrial waste was being dumped into the Chicago River and polluting not only the city but Lake Michigan, which provided the city's drinking water.
The solution? Using a series of canals, the Army Corps of Engineers stepped in and reversed the river so it would flow backward into the Mississippi River.
We wonder if the cities along the Mississippi were happy with the reversal?
Indiana: The Home of Santa Claus
The North Pole may be the rumored home of Santa Claus, but it's a town in Indiana that goes by his name and handles his correspondence.
In 1856, a town called Santa Fe had to change its name when the U.S. Post Office wouldn't grant it a postal code because there was already a Santa Fe, Indiana. The moniker the town chose instead? Santa Claus.
Since 1914, the city named for the jolly old elf has received — and answered — letters addressed to Santa. Santa's Elves (volunteers) personally answer over 20,000 letters every year.
During the holiday season, thousands visit the town to explore Santa's Lodge, Candy Castle, Christmas Store, Museum and Village.
Iowa: Where the World's Most Crooked Street Winds (Sorta)
Cars line up in droves to drive down San Francisco's iconically twisty Lombard Street. But this isn't where you should go if you want to take a spin down the world's most crooked street.
In Iowa, Burlington's Snake Alley — which looks like it's covered in snake scales (actually bricks) — has been named the most-crooked street by Ripley's Believe It or Not! Just 275 feet in length, Snake Alley touts a total of five half-curves and two quarter-curves.
That said, this distinction is somewhat in dispute; Guinness World Records calls Lombard Street, which is 325 feet longer than Snake Alley, the most crooked.
Maybe try driving down both to decide for yourself?
Kansas: Home to the World's Largest Ball of Twine
America's renowned for being the home to oddities, and you'll certainly find one in Cawker City, Kansas. Here, the World's Largest Ball of Twine has been luring travelers since 1953.
When it was donated to the city by its creator, Frank Stoeber, in 1961, it stood 8 feet high and weighed 5,000 pounds. Since then, twine has been continuously added every August, when Cawker City hosts its twine-a-thon for residents and visitors.
Other balls of twine, notably ones in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Missouri, have come close to surpassing Kansas' in size. But none have been able to emerge victorious.
Kentucky: Where the Moon Dances on Water
Waterfalls can create rainbows when the sun hits the spray of the water. But did you know the moon can create a similar effect, called a moonbow?
The 125-foot Cumberland waterfall in Corbin, Kentucky, regularly features moonbows, making it one of the best places in the world to catch this unique phenomenon.
Witness a moonbow at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, home of the "Niagara of the South." Visit the park's website for dates and times when the moonbow will hit.
Louisiana: Where a Football Game Caused an Earthquake
In 1988, Louisiana State University was playing against Auburn University in a nail-biting game. More than 79,000 fans were on hand to witness the spectacle at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. With less than 2 minutes on the clock, and Auburn leading at 6-0, LSU scored a winning touchdown, sending the fans to their feet and into a frenzy so great, a seismograph registered the moment as an earthquake.
The game has since been dubbed "The Earthquake Game."
Maine: Home to the First Woman Presidential Candidate
Hillary Clinton may have been the first female to serve as a major party's official presidential candidate, but the very first female candidate to have her name entered into nomination at a major party's convention was Maine's Margaret Chase Smith. (Earlier female candidates attempted to run but were left off ballots.)
Chase Smith of Skowhegan was the first woman to serve as both a member of the House of Representatives and the Senate, fighting hard for women's rights during her career. She was nominated as a presidential candidate at the 1964 Republican National Convention, but was defeated by William D. Hathaway.
Chase Smith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1989.
Maryland: Birthplace of a Babe
The New York Yankees may claim Babe Ruth as their own (with the Boston Red Sox booing all the way), but the home-run hitter George Herman Ruth, Jr., also known as "The Babe" and "The Sultan of Swat," was actually born in Baltimore.
Ruth got his start playing for his home state's Orioles before he was traded to Boston. However, he never had a chance to play in Camden Yards' Oriole Park — it was built in 1992.
Massachusetts: The First to Go Underground
London was the very first city to offer an underground mode of transportation for its citizens, developing the first subway system back in 1863. It took 34 more years before Americans could commute and move across town in a series of tunnels below the city streets of Boston, which opened the very first U.S. subway in 1897.
On its opening day, more than 100 people got on the subway at 6 a.m. Today, the "T" (as it is commonly referred) averages 1.22 million trips every weekday.
Michigan: Home to the Saddest National Park in the Country
Poor Isle Royal National Park. Of the contiguous national parks, it is the least-visited, yet so beautiful.
The 894-square-mile island receives roughly 17,000 visitors each year — which is what Yosemite receives in one day in the summer!
Isle Royale in Lake Superior may be difficult to get to, but those who do visit discover its glory and stay longer than they do in other more-visited national parks.
Minnesota: Where a Lake Could Cover North and South America in Water
The greatest of the Great Lakes is Lake Superior, which holds 3 quadrillion gallons of water in 2,900 cubic miles. This is enough water to cover all of North and South America in 1 foot of water.
To drive around the entire lake would take you on a 1,300-mile road trip through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the Canadian province of Ontario.
Mississippi: Where a President Refused to Shoot a Bear
While hunting in Sharkey County, Mississippi, with Governor Andrew Longino, President Theodore (Ted) Roosevelt was the only one on the hunt who didn't spot a bear to shoot. To give him a chance to shoot a bear, the team cornered one and tied it to a tree. Roosevelt refused to shoot the animal, calling it unsportsmanlike.
As news spread of the president who wouldn't shoot a bear, Ted got the nickname "Teddy Bear."
"Teddy" later gave a New York entrepreneur permission to use his name when he created a stuffed toy bear and called it "Teddy's Bear." Ever since, the Teddy Bear has been one of the most popular toys in America. (Admit it, you had one, too!)
Missouri: Home to America's Most Fountain-Filled City
Boasting more fountains than any other city in America — and second in the world to Rome — Kansas City, Missouri features more than 200 fountains. This distinction gives KC its nickname, "City of Fountains."
You can even celebrate with Missourians every April on Fountain Day, when fountains are turned back on after winter's freeze has passed.
But Kansas City doesn't just compete with Rome. KC has another nickname, "Paris of the Plains," because there are more miles of boulevards here than anywhere else in the U.S. — again, second in the world only to a major European city, in this case Paris. There are 132 miles of boulevards in Kansas City; most of them, of course, are tree-lined.
Montana: Where There Are More Cows Than People
For every person in Montana, there are 2.5 cows — Montana has 2.6 million cattle and just 1 million people.
Most of the cattle in the state is sold for beef, although there are also 18,000 dairy cows.
Amazingly, the state isn't even the largest in the country when it comes to breeding beef cattle. That honor belongs to Texas.
Nebraska: Home to the World's Only Fur-Trading Museum
You read that right: Nebraska is the only place to go for an official look at the history of fur trading in America. The Museum of the Fur Trade can be found in Chadron, Nebraska, at the very site where trading was once popular, the Bordeaux Trading Post.
Fur trading took place in North America for 500 years as a form of currency and the continent's earliest form of business. You can visit May through October, with the Fur Trade Days celebration taking place annually the second weekend of July.
Nevada: The Driest State Covered in Snow
Often when we think of Nevada, we picture its deserts, especially where Las Vegas forms a mirage in the midst of the heat. And it's true that the state, which averages only 7 inches of rainfall each year, is very dry. But there's one part of the state that actually welcomes an abundance of snow.
Lake Tahoe, which straddles California and Nevada, is covered in snow during the winter, and is even home to some of the best ski resorts in the country.
In fact, Nevada got its name from Tahoe's Sierra Nevada mountains; in English, the Spanish term "Sierra Nevada" means "snowy mountain range."
New Hampshire: Windier Than the Windy City
Chicago may claim to be the Windy City, but it's New Hampshire that takes the cake for having the windiest location in the United States. Peaking at 6,288 feet, the state's Mount Washington Observatory recorded the fastest winds at ground level in 1934: 231 miles per hour!
Although not the fastest wind in the world (Australia claimed that distinction in 1996 when it recorded winds at 252 miles per hour), the U.S. record far exceeds a Category 5's wind speeds, which begin at 156 miles per hour.
Mount Washington's weather observatory remains active today, and visitors — under good weather conditions — can visit the mountaintop on hikes, via the Cog rail or by car.
New Mexico: Its Capital Stands Above the Rest
Of the 50 states in America, which is heads and shoulders above the others? That would be Santa Fe, the highest capital in the country. With a population of more than 70,000 people, Santa Fe is just shy of 7,200 feet above sea level — sorry Denver, but that's more than a mile high!
Visitors who enjoy the city's missions and museums, like the exemplary Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, may experience mild altitude sickness when dealing with its height for the first time.
New Jersey: Where You Can Bust a Gut Eating a Burger
It may be the Garden State, but New Jersey is also the place to grab a burger and a milkshake at a counter while swiveling on a faux-leather stool. As the "Diner Capital of the World," New Jersey has more diners than any other state — or country — in the world.
With upwards of 600 diners within 8,721 square miles, you can grab a late-night bite or early bacon and eggs at popular diners from the seashore to the mountains to the Hudson River.
Want to sample the ultimate diner? Visit Clinton Station Diner on I-78; if you can finish the Atlas 3-pound burger in 45 minutes, it's free. (Really want to press your luck? Grab nine friends and try to eat the 105-pound 8th Wonder in an hour and you'll win $2,000 to split.)
New York: The Home of America's First Capital
Before Washington, D.C., became the capital of the United States, New York held the honor. George Washington gave his last address as commander of the Continental Army at Fraunces Tavern and was sworn in as our first president at Wall Street's Federal Hall in 1789.
The District of Columbia wasn't even the second capital. Philadelphia became the capital from 1790 through 1800, while Washington was being built.
Federal Hall is now a National Memorial operated by the National Park Service.
North Carolina: Home to the Largest House in the Country
The Biltmore Estate, built as a summer property for the wealthy Vanderbilt family in 1895, is the largest privately owned home in America. Featuring 35 bedrooms, 43 bathrooms, an underground pool and 65 fireplaces, the home is built on more than 8,000 acres of land.
Located outside Asheville, North Carolina, the home's gardens and lands were designed by Central Park's landscape designer, Frederick Law Olmsted.
Bill Cecil Jr., the great grandson of the home's original Vanderbilt owner, opened nearly 2,200 acres to the public, so you can tour portions of the house and gardens. The property also encompasses restaurants and hotels.
North Dakota: Where an Enchanted Highway Runs Long
Follow the two-lane road off of I-94 and you'll discover 32 miles of scrap-metal art on what has been called North Dakota's Enchanted Highway.
The largest collection of such art in the world is located between Gladstone and Regent, where visitors can spend the night in the Enchanted Highway Hotel.
The sculptures first appeared in 1989 when local artist and metal sculptor Gary Greff started to add them for tourists to see — his own way of stopping the small towns he lived near from going extinct.
Ohio: Home to Space Cadets
As the world recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of man landing on the moon, Neil Armstrong made his hometown state proud. Born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, Armstrong wasn't the first spaceman to hail from the Buckeye State: John Glenn beat Armstrong to it in 1962, as the first American to orbit the earth.
Glenn went back to space in 1998, at age 77, making him the oldest man to venture beyond our stratosphere.
Apollo 13's damaged mission also included an Ohio native, Jim Lovell.
Oklahoma: The State That Shakes, Rattles and Rolls
Think California is the only earthquake-prone state? Oklahoma has sure given it a run for its money. Between 1978 and 2008, the state averaged just 20 earthquakes registering at a 3.0 or higher on the Richter Scale per year. By 2015, there were 903.
Sadly, the U.S. Geological Society uncovered that the earthquakes stemmed from oil drilling causing pressure on fault lines.
Oregon: The Eerie State of Ghosts
Drive across our great country and you'll see cities from the present and the past, including those that have been abandoned. And, if you're looking for a fright, Oregon is host to the most ghosts.
The state has nearly 70 ghost towns, including 13 within an hour of Keizer. Oregon has even created roadmaps to help travelers explore its past through these Frontier towns, some of which feature Wild West-themed attractions.
Pennsylvania: The State Misspelled in the Constitution
Named for the state's founder William Penn, who clearly had two "N's" in his name, Pennsylvania was a tough name to spell even for our Founding Fathers. When drafting the Constitution, Pennsylvania is spelled using one "N" in Article 1, Section 2.
It is said both spellings were acceptable in the 1700s, which explains why the Liberty Bell also had the misspelling.
Then again, "Brittish" was also misspelled in the Declaration of Independence. Remember, they didn't have spellcheck in those days!
You can see the Constitution and Independence Hall, where it was signed, in Philadelphia today.
Rhode Island: The State That Snubbed Prohibition
It was a sad day in 1917 when states began to push toward the ratification of the 18th Amendment in an effort to ban alcohol production, sale and transport.
By the time the votes were needed to enter the country into Prohibition in 1920, all but New Jersey and Rhode Island had refused to sign. New Jersey caved in 1922, making Rhode Island the only state not to ratify the amendment.
Cheers to Rhode Islanders!
South Carolina: Where Residents Monkeys Abound
Monkeys don't need a jungle when they have South Carolina's Morgan Island. There are plenty of trees to swing upon and climb on this island, where more than 4,000 wild rhesus monkeys live. It is estimated 750 monkeys are born on Morgan Island every year, which is why locals have dubbed it "Monkey Island."
The monkeys were originally a colony used for research in Puerto Rico. When a virus outbreak infected the monkeys, 1,400 were transported to South Carolina.
Visitors can't get near the island located between Hilton Head and Charleston, unfortunately. The only people allowed on the island are researchers from the National Institute of Health.
South Dakota: Shoulda Been Named the Sunflower State
Both North and South Dakota lead the U.S. in the production of sunflowers, with South Dakota providing more than 975 million pounds of the bright yellow flowers.
Forget driving through Tuscany — just drive along 1-90 during the summer and you'll see all the beautiful flower-filled farms you could ever hope to take in.
Tennessee: The State That Lost a Sea
The extensive 4.5-acre cave system beneath the ground in Tennessee holds the remains of a melted glacier: a lake. Discovered by a 13-year-old who was playing in the woods more than 100 years ago, the Lost Sea is the world's second-largest underground lake (after Namibia), and the largest in the U.S.
The lake is part of the National Park Service's Craighead Caverns in Sweetwater. More than 13 acres of lake have been explored, but no end to the lake has yet to be discovered.
Guided tours of the caverns include boat rides on the Lost Sea.
Texas: Where Things Can Get a Little Batty
Austin, Texas' motto is "Keep Austin Weird," and certainly one of the weirdest things you can do is enjoy bat-themed cocktails at sunset as you watch nearly 1.5 million bats wake and set off to the skies for their nightly feeding from the Congress Avenue Bridge between March and October.
The largest colony of bats in an urban city attract more than 100,000 people to witness their flight, while also ridding the city of up to 20,000 pounds of bugs every night!
You can watch the flight from the Statesman Bat Observation Center at the bridge, but nearby hotels like the Four Seasons make it a bit more fun with bat cocktails, such as "El Murcielago" (the Bat), a sunset-hued mezcal concoction with a bat stamped into its ice cube.
Utah: A Hell of a Place to Lose a Cow
In the late 1970s, when Ebenezer Bryce was a pioneer grazing cattle in the badlands of Utah, he had to contend with 56 square miles of labyrinthine canyons and spire-shaped rock formations known as hoodoos. His iconic quote about the area? It was a "hell of a place to lose a cow."
Years later, in 1928, the U.S. turned his canyon into Bryce Canyon National Park.
During the winter, the red hoodoos can get covered in snow, and during the summer, the setting sun enriches the canyon's crimson color, making it one of the most beautiful and unique parks in America's collection.
Vermont: Where Neighbors Need a Passport to Visit Each Other
In 1791, the sleepy village of Derby Line was established in northern Vermont. Nearly 50 years later, residents learned the land had been incorrectly surveyed and part of their village was actually in Canada.
In 2007, it became a requirement that anyone passing over the border from Canada into the United States and vice versa needed a passport, which forced family members and neighbors to have to submit passports at border control just to visit each other.
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House, built in 1904, rests on both soils. As a historic site, visitors are allowed to cross the border within the building without going through border control.
Virginia: Guarding the Unknown Soldiers
For the brave American soldiers who have lost their lives, yet somehow go unrecognized, President Warren G. Harding created a Tomb for the Unknowns on Veterans Day, 1921. The first soldier interred died in World War I. Three more unknown soldiers were eventually interred in the tomb at Virginia's Arlington National Cemetery, one from WWII, one from the Korean War and one from the Vietnam War.
In 1998, using new DNA testing, the soldier from Vietnam was identified as Michael Joseph Blassie, an Air Force pilot shot down in 1972. Blassie was moved to St. Louis to be near his family. Rather than replacing him with another unknown soldier from the Vietnam War, an inscription was added to honor the servicemen missing between 1958 and 1975.
Since 1937, the Tomb of the Unknowns, most commonly called the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, has been guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, by members of "The Old Guard" (3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment).
Washington: Spinning You Right Round
Seattle's iconic Space Needle isn't just a symbol of the city, it is the site of the first revolving restaurant in the contiguous United States. Spinning on a 14-foot carousel, the Eye of the Space Needle restaurant opened with the tower during the 1962 World's Fair, modeled after the world's first such restaurant, La Ronde, which served food with a twist in Germany.
Renamed SkyCity, the restaurant upped the game by adding a glass floor in 2018, becoming the first rotating restaurant with one.
The entire Space Needle began a full piece-by-piece renovation in 2017. The restaurant portion of the renovation has rendered it temporarily closed, but it is slated to reopen in late 2019.
West Virginia: Following the Brick Road
Thank the people of Charleston, West Virginia, for doing away with dirt roads.
In 1870, Mordecai Levi grew tired of them, especially when they turned into mud during spring rains and snow thaws — his horse literally had to trudge through mud dragging a carriage. Using his own money, Levi laid brick down Summers Street, creating the first brick-paved road in the country.
Wisconsin: The Water Park Capital of the World
It may be a self-proclaimed distinction, but Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin does have more water parks and pools per capita than any other state.
Opening its first water park resort in 1989, today the city boasts more than 200 waterslides and 16 million gallons of water fun. The largest water park in the country, Noah's Ark Waterpark, spreads across 70 acres of the Dells, alongside the largest indoor water park in the state, Kalahari Resort.
Wyoming: Monumentally First
Teddy Roosevelt didn't just give us the teddy bear. He turned our landscape into national monuments.
On Sept. 24, 1906, President Roosevelt established Wyoming's Devils Tower as the very first national monument; today, there are 129 such monuments protected for their historical, scientific and/or cultural significance.
Serving as an eerie setting for alien contact in Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of a Third Kind," Devils Tower is a 900-foot-tall monolith that you can visit any day of the year.
By the way, the reason there isn't an apostrophe in the name? A clerical error. Oops!