50 interesting facts about Ohio

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Ohio’s history is pretty unique. Everybody knows Ohio is "The Buckeye State," but you may not know that a buckeye is a nut-like seed from the official state tree. Did you know that Neil Armstrong was from Auglaize County and Steven Spielberg is from Hamilton. Clark Gable and Ted Turner are native Ohioans as well.

Here now are 50 other facts about Ohio to impress your friends or bring up during an awkward silence.

  1. The early early years

Ohio was first inhabited by the Clovis culture of the Paleo-Indian period in 13,000 BC.

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Welcome aboard!

    While Ohio's boundaries and constitution were approved by Thomas Jefferson in 1803, it wasn't officially granted statehood until 1953 when Dwight D. Eisenhower signed and backdated Ohio's admittance to the union.

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    First Ohio town

      Founded in 1788, Marietta was the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory. It was named after Queen Marie Antoinette of France.

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      A river runs through it

        "Ohio" is derived from the Iroquois word "oyo," which means "great river."

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        Fun with flag

          The burgee-shaped Ohio flag is the only non-rectangular state flag in the U.S. It was adopted in 1902, nearly a century after Ohio was granted statehood in 1803.

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          Put a bird on it

            The Cardinal, the state bird, can be found in all of Ohio's 88 counties. It's also the state bird for six other states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

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            Ohio's 88

              Ohio has 88 counties, which is a lot less than Texas' 254 and substantially more than Delaware's 3.

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              88 of 88

                Vinton is Ohio's smallest county by population with about 13,000 residents.

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                Down on the farm

                  2,367,313 people in Ohio live in rural areas. That's about 20 percent of the state's total population.

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                  Welcome to Columbus

                    Columbus didn't become the state capital until 1816. Chillicothe and Zanesville split that role during the first 13 years of statehood.

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                    Bustling C-Bus

                      Columbus is the 15th largest city in the U.S. with a population of 850,106. It's ahead of Cleveland (51st) and Cincinnati (66th), though both of those cities have metropolitan areas larger than the Columbus region.

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                      Cleveland's hey day

                        Cleveland's population reached its peak in 1950 when it was 914,808, nearly 2 1/2 times it is now. In 1920, it was the 5th largest city in the United States.

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                        All roads lead through Ohio

                          The Heart of It All isn't just a slogan. Columbus is located within 500 miles of 48 percent of the U.S. population.

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                          The Mother of Presidents

                            Of the eight U.S. Presidents to come from Ohio, only one (Ulysses S. Grant) served two full terms. Four died in office.

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                            Irony can be pretty ironic sometimes

                              Ohio's William Henry Harrison delivered the longest inauguration speech in U.S. presidential history only to die one month later. It's the shortest term of anyone to hold the office.

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                              Ohio in the electoral college

                                Ohio has 18 electoral votes in the 2016 election. At its peak, the state had 26 votes in the 1932-1940 and 1964-68 presidential elections.

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                                As Ohio goes, so does the rest of the country (usually)

                                  The last U.S. President to be elected without winning Ohio was John F. Kennedy in 1960.


                                  O-H! I-O!

                                    Ohio is the only state to have an official rock song. "Hang On Sloopy" was given that designation in 1985.


                                    THE Ohio State University

                                      Ohio State University is the third largest university in the country by enrollment, with about 55,500 students, trailing only the University of Central Florida and the University of Texas. It's also one of a handful universities in the country with the word "The" in its official name.

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                                      Come one, come all

                                        Oberlin College became the first college in the U.S. to admit women in 1833 and African-Americans in 1835.

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                                        Breaking the color barrier

                                          Cleveland's Carl Stokes became the first black mayor of a major city in 1967.

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                                          A pioneer in Paris

                                            DeHart Hubbard of Cincinnati was the first African-American athlete to win an Olympic gold medal. He won it in the long jump in Paris in 1924.

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                                            Take me out to the ballgame...

                                              Harry M. Stevens of Niles is credited with inventing the hot dog, baseball scorecard and drinking straw.

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                                              That's a big basket

                                                The world's largest basket is the former headquarters of the Longaberger Basket Company. The seven-story building is on the market for $5 million, but could be headed to foreclosure.

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                                                The birthplace of Superman

                                                  You probably know Superman was created by Cleveland high school students Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933. Perhaps you didn't know the first iteration of the character was a villain with psychic powers.

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                                                  You may also know him as Packy East

                                                    Actor, comedian, boxer Bob Hope was born in London, England but moved to the U.S. when he was four and grew up in Cleveland.

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                                                    Filmed in Ohio

                                                      The 1994 film "The Shawshank Redemption" was filmed at the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield. Fans can take a tour of the filming sites, though the famous Shawshank tree was knocked down by high winds earlier in 2016.

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                                                      Ohio's most famous radio station

                                                        While the sitcom "WKRP in Cincinnati" was set in Ohio, there is no actual WKRP radio station. There is now, however, a Cincinnati TV station with those call letters.


                                                        Your favorite TV characters were from Ohio too

                                                          Other TV shows set in Ohio include "Family Ties," "3rd Rock from the Sun," "Glee," "Clarissa Explains It All," "The Drew Carey Show" and "Hot in Cleveland."


                                                          Our favorite reality show is...

                                                            Don't bother Ohioans on Mondays from 8-10 p.m. We're busy watching "Dancing with the Stars," our favorite reality show, according to cabletv.com. The site looked at search trends for the most popular reality shows in each state. People in the Buckeye state also enjoy "Hoarders" and "The Apprentice."

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                                                            It's kinda like Valentine's Day

                                                              Sweetest Day was started by a committee of candy makers in Cleveland in 1921. It is celebrated in about a dozen states, mostly in the midwest and northeast.

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                                                              The birthplace of football

                                                                The first pro football league was the American Professional Football Association, formed in Canton in 1920.

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                                                                Ice ice hockey, baby

                                                                  The Columbus Blue Jackets are Ohio's only NHL team. The team's name, which was chosen over the Columbus Justice, refers to the fact that Ohio sent more soldiers to the Union army during the Civil War than any other state.

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                                                                  State of champions

                                                                    Ohio sports teams have won 17 major pro sports championships: Browns (8), Reds (5), Indians (2), Cavaliers (1), Rams (1).

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                                                                    Fast food capital of the U.S.

                                                                      Two of the most successful fast-food chains, Wendy's (Columbus) and Arby's (Boardman) were founded in Ohio. Though White Castle was founded in Wichita, Kansas in 1921, the company moved its headquarters to Columbus in 1936.

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                                                                      Now that's a bar!

                                                                        At nearly 406 feet, the bar at Beer Barrel Saloon in Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island has been recognized by Guinness as the world's longest permanent continuous bar.

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                                                                        Our favorite ice cream flavor is...

                                                                          Cookie Dough is Ohioans' favorite flavor of ice cream, according to Twitter.

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                                                                          The birthplace of aviation

                                                                            Ohio is known as the "Birthplace of Aviation" because the Wright Brothers hailed from Dayton, where they conceived their airplane. The Wright Bros. actually took their first flight, however, in North Carolina, which is why that state's slogan is "First in Flight."

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                                                                            Move over, horses

                                                                              Akron became the first city in the U.S. to use a police car in 1899. It cost $2,400.

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                                                                              Bellefontaine cements its place in history

                                                                                The world's oldest concrete street is located in Bellefontaine. Court Ave. was paved in 1891.

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                                                                                Have car, will travel

                                                                                  John William Lambert invented the first gasoline powered American automobile in Ohio City in 1891. He was also involved in the world's first automobile accident, as you might expect.

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                                                                                  Stop, pay toll

                                                                                    The Ohio Turnpike opened in 1955. The 241-mile road was constructed between 1949-55 at a cost of $326 million.

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                                                                                    CMH has a new name

                                                                                      Port Columbus International Airport was renamed John Glenn Columbus International Airport in 2016. Glenn is both the first U.S. astronaut to orbit the earth (in 1962) and the oldest person to ever fly in space (77 in 1998).

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                                                                                      Get to The Point

                                                                                        Founded in 1870, Cedar Point is the second oldest amusement park in the country, behind Lake Compounce in Bristol, Connecticut.

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                                                                                        It's snow joke

                                                                                          Cleveland is the 8th snowiest major city in the U.S. with 68.5 inches of snow annually according to The Weather Channel. Syracuse, New York, by the way, is No. 1.

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                                                                                          No duels for you

                                                                                            It is prohibited to participate or conduct a duel in Ohio.

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                                                                                            Don't poke the bear

                                                                                              Ohio is home to about 50-100 bears, according to the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources.

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                                                                                              Sweet invention

                                                                                                Life Savers candy was invented in Cleveland by Clarence A. Crane in 1912. He was originally from Garrettsville.

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                                                                                                The birthplace of breakfast

                                                                                                  Quaker Oats was trademarked by Akron company General Mills as the first breakfast cereal in 1877.

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                                                                                                  Chew on this!

                                                                                                    Amos Tyler oF Toledo received the first patent for chewing gum in 1869.

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                                                                                                    Laurel Pfahler for My Dayton Daily News