Illinois Hero Image

20 Facts
About Illinois

Illinois Trivia and Interesting Facts

The state of Illinois is home to the Windy City and one of our most famous presidents, Abraham Lincoln. However, there is much more to Illinois than meets the eye. Here are 20 facts about the Prairie State that may surprise you:

State Flag

Illinois State Flag

Location

Illinois Location

State Seal

Illinois State Seal
1 The Sears Tower in Chicago is the tallest building in America.
2 Illinois was the first state in the U.S. to ratify the Constitution's 13th amendment which abolished slavery.
3 The first McDonald's was built in Des Plaines, IL.
4 Illinois produces more nuclear energy than any other state in the country.
5 Twinkies were first invented in River Forest, IL in 1930.
6 Almost 80% of Illinois is farmland.
7 Illinois officially achieved statehood on December 3, 1818 making it our 21st state.
8 Nicknames for Illinois include the Prairie State and the Land of Lincoln.
9 Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the country, following Florida, New York, California and Texas.
10 The word Illinois originates from the word "Illini," which was once a confederation of several Indian tribes.
11 Illinois's state bird is the Cardinal and its state flower is the purple violet.
12 Chicago, IL is home to the world's largest public library.
13 Illinois's top industries include coal mining, oil production, agriculture and manufacturing.
14 While Illinois is known as the "Land of Lincoln," Abraham Lincoln was not actually born in Illinois. Ronald Reagan is the only president to have been born in Illinois.
15 Illinois is the largest producer of pumpkins in the country.
16 The tallest man ever documented was born in Alton, Illinois. Robert Pershing Wadlow was 8 feet 11 inches tall.
17 Illinois is a very flat state. In fact, its highest point is a mere 1,235 feet above sea level.
18 The Chicago River's direction of flow was reversed by man-made canals from 1892-1922. It was, and still is, considered an engineering marvel.
19 Chicago's nickname "The Windy City" actually came from an article describing long-winded politicians during a 1893 exhibition.
20 Famous Illinois natives include Ronald Reagan, Michelle Obama, Joe Mantegna, Buddy Ebsen and Bob Newhart.
Illinois Skyline
"Illinois suprasses every other spot of equal extent upon the face of the globe in fertility of soil…"
- Abraham Lincoln
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