Interesting Facts About Illinois

The State of Illinois is a state of the United States of America, the 21st to be admitted to the Union. Illinois is the most populous and demographically diverse Midwestern state and the fifth most populous in the nation.

  • The state motto is: State Sovereignty, National Union
  • The world’s first Skyscraper was built in Chicago, 1885.
  • Abraham Lincoln’s first public office was as postmaster of New Salem, Illinois.
  • Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery. 1865
  • On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi and a small band of scientists and engineers demonstrated that a simple construction of graphite bricks and uranium lumps could produce controlled heat. The space chosen for the first nuclear fission reactor was a squash court under the football stadium at the University of Chicago.
  • Metropolis the home of Superman really exists in Southern Illinois.
  • Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site–most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico
  • Illinois had two capital cities, Kaskaskia, and Vandalia before Springfield.
  • Illinois ranks third in the nation in the number of interstate highway miles.
  • Illinois was the home of President Ulysses S. Grant, whose home is preserved in Galena.
  • Dixon is the boyhood home of President Ronald Reagan.
  • Springfield is the state capital and the home of the National Historic Site of the home of President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln.
  • Chicago is home to the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire.
  • Pinball was invented in 1930 by In and Outdoor Games Company in Chicago.- Inventors John Deere and Cyrus McCormick made their fortunes in Illinois by improving farm machinery.
  • The name “Illinois” comes from a Native American word meaning “tribe of superior men.”
  • The NFL’s Chicago Bears were first known as the “Staley Bears”. They were organized in 1920, in Decatur.
  • Home to the Chicago Bears Football Team, Chicago Blackhawks hockey team, Chicago Bulls basketball team, Chicago Cubs and Chicago Whitesox baseball teams, Chicago Fire soccer team.
  • The first Mormon Temple in Illinois was constructed in Nauvoo.
  • When Illinois became a state in 1818, it had a population of 34,620 people. Illinois is now the sixth most populous state in the country with almost 11.5 million people.
  • The first nuclear chain reaction took place in Illinois at the University of Chicago in 1942.
  • The state slogan, “Land of Lincoln,” was adopted by the General Assembly in 1955. The State of Illinois has a copyright for the exclusive use of the slogan- Chicago is the nation’s third largest city. – Carlyle is the home of the largest man-made lake in Illinois.
  • Illinois has 102 counties.
  • Des Plaines is home to the first McDonald’s.
  • Before Abraham Lincoln was elected president he served in the Illinois legislature and practiced law in Springfield. Abraham Lincoln is buried just outside Springfield at Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site.
  • Ronald Wilson Regan from Tampico became the 40th president of the United States in 1980.
  • The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound at 1235 feet above sea level.