State of Mind

These weekly columns are read in newspapers, magazines, and online publications throughout the world. I live in the United States, and one of the great things about the U.S. is that we have 50 separate and distinct states. There is something special, fun, and unique reported about each of them.

Alabama: The first state to have 9-1-1 started in 1968.
Alaska: Alaska’s name is based on the Eskimo word Alakshak meaning great lands or peninsula.
Arizona: Is the only state in the continental U.S. that does not follow Daylight Savings Time.
Arkansas: Has the only active diamond mine in the U.S.
California: Its economy is so large that if it were a country, it would rank eighth in the entire world.
Colorado: In 1976, it became the only state to turn down the Olympics.
Connecticut: The Frisbee was invented here at Yale University.
Delaware: Sixth most densely populated state.
Florida: At 874.3 square miles, Jacksonville is the largest city in the U.S.
Georgia: It was here, in 1886, that pharmacist John Pemberton made the first vat of Coca-Cola.
Hawaii: NASA astronauts from Apollo missions 13 to 17 were trained for moon voyages by walking on its lava fields.
Idaho: Idaho’s capitol building is the only one in the United States heated by geothermal water. The hot water is tapped and pumped from a source 3,000 feet underground.
Illinois: Des Plaines is home to the first McDonalds.
Indiana: Home to Santa Claus, Indiana, where a nonprofit organization answers thousands of children’s letters to Santa each year.
Iowa: Fenelon Place Elevator in Dubuque is the world’s steepest and shortest scenic railway.
Kansas: Liberal, Kansas, has an exact replica of the house in The Wizard of Oz.
Kentucky: The song Happy Birthday to You was the creation of two Louisville sisters in 1893 but was originally titled Good Morning to All.
Louisiana: Has parishes instead of counties because it was originally Spanish and French territory divided by church boundaries.
Maine: Has 3,166 offshore islands. Only about 1,200 Maine coast islands have an acre or more, and 600 comprise 95% of the island acreage.
Maryland: The state sport is jousting, a competition between two armored contestants mounted on horses in which each tries to strike the other with a lance.
Massachusetts: The Fig Newton is named after Newton, Massachusetts.
Michigan: Fremont, home to Gerber, is the baby food capital of the world.
Minnesota: Inventions include masking and Scotch tape, Wheaties cereal, and the Bundt pan.
Mississippi: In 1902 while on a hunting expedition in Sharkey County, President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear. This act resulted in the creation of the world-famous teddy bear.
Missouri: Is the birthplace of the ice cream cone.
Montana: A sapphire from Montana is in the Crown Jewels of England.
Nebraska: The largest porch swing in the world is located in Hebron and can sit 25 adults.
Nevada: Has more mountain ranges than any other U.S. state.
New Hampshire: The first free public library was established in Peterborough in 1833.
New Jersey: Has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as The Diner Capitol of the World.
New Mexico: Las Cruces makes the world’s largest enchilada (about 10.5 feet in diameter) the first weekend in October at the Whole Enchilada Fiesta.
New York: It is home to the nation’s oldest cattle ranch started in 1747 in Montauk.
North Carolina: Home of the first Krispy Kreme doughnut.
North Dakota: Rigby, North Dakota is the exact geographic center of North America.
Ohio: the first professional baseball team was born in Cincinnati in 1869—the Cincinnati Red Stockings.
Oklahoma: The grounds of the state capitol are covered by operating oil wells.
Oregon: Crater Lake is the deepest in the U.S. and was actually pooled in the remains of a volcano.
Pennsylvania: The first daily newspaper was published in Philadelphia on September 21, 1784.
Rhode Island: The nation’s oldest bar, the White Horse Tavern, opened here in 1673.
South Carolina: The first organized game of golf played in the U.S. took place in Charleston.
South Dakota: Belle Fourche is the geographical center of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), designated in 1959 and noted by an official marker and sheepherder’s monument called a Stone Johnnie.
Tennessee: Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry is the longest-running live radio show in the world.
Texas: Dr. Pepper was invented in Waco and first served around 1885.
Utah: The first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise restaurant opened here in 1952.
Vermont: The first state admitted to the Union after the ratification of the Constitution.
Virginia: The states of Kentucky and West Virginia were formed from sections of the state of Virginia.
Washington: The popular game Pictionary was invented here.
West Virginia: Mother’s Day was first observed at Andrews Church in Grafton on May 10, 1908.
Wisconsin: The only state to offer a Master Cheesemaker program. It takes three years to complete, and you need 10 years of cheese making experience before you can even apply as a candidate.
Wyoming: The first state to give women the right to vote in 1869.

As you go through your day today, explore all the treasures in your state.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network, as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached by email at; on Facebook at; or follow Jim on Twitter @StovallAuthor.

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