The diner, the Reuben, an annual French Fry Feed, potato chips, pantyhose, a fat comic-book feline, the electric guitar, the escalator and the elevator, ARPANET, Amazon Prime, blue jeans, a drive-thru post office, an unwitting bovine arsonist, bridges purpose-built for squirrels, grunge music, bluegrass music, the annoyingly difficult-to-sing-in-tune Happy Birthday song, Pumpkin Spice Lattes, pink county jail inmate uniforms, the swivel chair, the Pet Rock, the atomic bomb, hippies, yippies, and yuppies, mountains galore, shoreline like nobody’s business, plains and prairies, prairie oysters, lakes that are great, lakes made of salt, lakes shaped like fingers...well, we could go on forever, or at least as long as our internet connection and Google hold out. (Thanks, Al Gore! Errr, Tim Berners-Lee, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page!)
You already know that America is a great country that has given the world some spectacular inventions — as well as some briefly entertaining, but ultimately flash-in-the-pan, fads. Of course, it’s also home to unbelievably beautiful landscapes and notable sites on which history was forever changed.
The real question is whether you can match these tidbits of trivia with their home state! Some of these random facts you might remember from history (or "Drunk History"), while others can be guessed if you have an average understanding of contemporary pop culture. So let's get started!
Lake Placid, two-time location of the Winter Olympics, joins NYC, Seneca Falls, and Woodstock as just a few of the places that make New York State great.
The population of the entire state of Maine is smaller than that of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Phoenix. Maine is also the easternmost state, and one of the top maple syrup producers, tapping enough syrup each year to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
In 1969, Houston, Texas was hailed by the crew of Apollo 11 -- just another chapter in the long and storied history of this home to the Alamo, the Bowie knife, Frito Pie, and the world's fifth-largest petroleum-producing entity.
Montana also boasts the largest grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states, as well as plentiful numbers of snow geese, tundra swans, nesting common loons, golden eagles, trumpeter swans, pelicans, moose, and buffalo. The state's density of people, on the other hand, is a mere six per square mile.
Stone Mountain is the location of the three-acre sculpture, which depicts Confederate heroes Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Robert E. Lee’s horse, Traveller. Georgia is also internationally known as the birthplace of Coca-Cola, and offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into the soda juggernaut at the Coca-Cola Museum in Atlanta.
The University of Nebraska football team went by several nicknames -- the Old Gold Knights, the Antelopes, the Rattlesnake Boys, and the Bugeaters -- before swiping "Cornhuskers" from neighboring Iowa. In addition to Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, Omaha is also home to the world-class Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium.
Surgeon James Hardy performed both transplant surgeries at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. The lung transplant patient lived for 18 days following his 1963 operation. The next year, a comatose man named Boyd Rush actually received the heart of a chimpanzee. Rush died within an hour of his transplant surgery -- which was probably for the best, given the controversy surrounding the cross-species transplant.
While Portland might garner a significant share of attention thanks to Portlandia, the rest of the state has its delightful quirks as well, including 80 ghost towns listed on the National Register, the country's deepest lake, and the Tillamook Creamery, which produces more cheese than any other factory on earth.
The Volunteer State of Tennessee ties with Missouri for the state with the most neighbors. It's also rich in both African-American and Native American history, as well as being a music lover's paradise. The Grand Ole Opry has been broadcasting from Nashville every Friday and Saturday night since 1925!
The Sooner State, Oklahoma, has the largest population of Native Americans in the U.S. Some 250,000 Native Americans live here, and there are 39 tribal headquarters located here, as well.
The 10-story Home Insurance Building was dizzyingly high for its day, but can't stack up to the 108-floor Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, which is also located in this state. As for the Great Chicago Fire? You've probably heard that the inferno was started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a kerosene lamp in the barn, but some folks postulate that the blaze was actually kicked off by a meteor!
Wherever you go in Florida, you're only 60 miles from a beach. That includes Orlando, where Walt Disney World welcomes an astonishing 20 million visitors each year!
Idaho singlehandedly produces a third of all potatoes consumed in the U.S. That's about 27 billion taters! No word on whether or not Papa Hemingway munched on chips or french fries while penning his famous book, "For Whom the Bell Tolls."
Despite Maryland's less-than-savory reputation, there's a lot to love about this small state, including the oldest surviving statehouse still in use, the U.S. Naval Academy, and 4,431 miles of tidal shoreline.
Kentucky County was first established by Virginians in 1776, but its residents felt they weren't properly represented by the distant capital of Richmond, so they began petitioning for statehood. Separatists got their way less than two decades later, and it's a good thing -- Virginia Fried Chicken just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Students of United States history know that the role Massachusetts played in helping develop our fledgling country can hardly be overestimated. But did you know that European explorers landed on the state's coastline as early as the 11th Century -- hundreds of years before the Pilgrims would settle Plymouth in 1620, or the American Revolution would begin in 1775?
Nellie Tayloe Ross served as Wyoming's governor between 1925 and 1927, before being appointed by Franklin D. Roosevelt as the director of the U.S. Mint. The state hasn't had a female governor since then, but attracts plenty of female (and male) visitors to Yellowstone and to the ski resort, Jackson Hole.
Montpelier, Vermont, has a population of fewer than 7,500 people. Visitors to the tiny state capital won't be able to eat a Big Mac, or a Burger King Whopper, unless they drive about five miles to the neighboring town of Berlin.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, was founded by Spanish settlers in the first decade of the 17th Century. Yet New Mexico wasn't granted statehood until 1912, making it the fourth to last state admitted to the union. Only Arizona, Hawaii and Alaska became states after the "Land of Enchantment" did.
Abundant in historical firsts and facts, Virginia played a pivotal role in both the country's founding and its near-dissolution in the mid- to late-19th Century. We mentioned earlier that Kentucky was once part of Virginia proper, but did you know that West Virginia also seceded, because it didn't want to join the Confederacy?
That French Fry Feed occurs each year during the Potato Bowl in the appropriately named Grand Forks, North Dakota. This Midwestern state boasts more than agriculture and agritourism, however. It's also where you'll find the International Peace Garden, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, a rare albino buffalo -- and, in the Fargo-Moorhead Visitors Center, the movie-prop wood chipper from the Coen Brothers' movie, "Fargo.."
Harlan Sanders has ties to Alabama, Tennessee, and, of course, Kentucky, but the small town of Henryville, Indiana, can lay claim to his birthplace. Similarly, Gary, Indiana is proud of its most famous onetime resident, the King of Pop and the other Jackson sibs. And although Amityville, NY, is known for its true-to-life "horror story," it's the tiny town of Amity, Indiana, that actually has a road with a gravesite right in the middle of it!
Natch, we're talking about Nevada. Las Vegas may not be the capital, but it offers its 40 million annual visitors 75K miles worth of neon at which to gawk, along with dreams of striking it rich on the strip. Oh, and those famous Vegas all-you-can-eat buffets? They serve some 60,000 pounds of shrimp every day -- more than is consumed in the entire rest of the U.S. combined!
West Virginia, sometimes called the northernmost Southern state AND the southernmost Northern state, was signed into statehood by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, after its slavery-opposed residents chose to stick with the Union rather than secede along with regular ol' Virginia. That makes it the only state created by presidential proclamation.
Aberdeen, Washington, pays homage to the late, great Kurt Cobain with its town sign, which exhorts visitors to "Come As You Are." Who knows if Cobain penned any Nirvana lyrics while sitting in a Starbucks, which -- along with internet marketplace Amazon -- remains one of Washington State's most well-known exports.
In addition to Barbie, other famous Wisconsinites include Chris Farley, Frank Lloyd Wright, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Liberace, and Harry Houdini. In 1962, a 20-pound chunk of Soviet satellite Sputnik IV crashed to the ground in Manitowoc. Although Wisconsin generously returned the outer-space souvenir to the Soviets, they also created a replica, which is showcased each September during Sputnikfest -- no doubt a necessary distraction for a town that has since become famous thanks to the Netflix true-crime series, "Making a Murderer."
It's Arkansas, y'all! Home of former U.S. president Bill Clinton and former Democratic candidate for president Hillary Rodham Clinton, this state has a long history of sending Democrats to D.C., including Hattie Ophelia Caraway. Caraway, the first woman elected to the Senate, served from November 13, 1931 – January 3, 1945.
Head to Arizona to see roadrunners IRL. These birds have been clocked at 17 mph! (To say nothing of their ability to disappear through painted-on railroad tunnels.) Just be sure to pack not just your sandals, but also a pair of warm socks and a light jacket, so you'll be prepared for wherever the mercury goes!
Ohai, Ohio! History buffs can visit The One and Only Presidential Museum in Williamsfield, Ohio (yep, that's the real name!), to learn whether or not it's something in the water. Speaking of Grohl and "Dirty Water," Ohio residents once took umbrage at Dr. Seuss' slam of Lake Erie, eventually prompting him to rewrite part of "The Lorax."
Laissez les bons temps rouler in Louisiana! It's the only state in the nation that does not have counties, but rather parishes. The 1.4 million people who visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras each year likely care less about that, and more about the lack of open-container laws on Canal Street.
Iowa, home to the house in "American Gothic," certainly claims some unusual historical moments, but one of the most groundbreaking was in 2009, when it became only the third state to declare that forbidding same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
Victory Day, once a federal holiday celebrating the end of WWII, was dropped by all other states by 1975 (probably because it also coincides with the anniversaries of the bombings of Nagasaki and Hiroshima). But "the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" -- its official name -- still celebrates. On a slightly more politically correct note, it was also the first state government to enact a Homeless Bill of Rights, in 2012.
The Lake Michigan Triangle has a history every bit as eerie as its Bermuda counterpart, with not only missing watercraft but also several UFO sightings. Perhaps travelers were attempting to reach Isle Royale, the nation's least-visited national park, which receives fewer visitors each year than Yosemite gets in a single day!
General John Stark penned the defiant motto of New Hampshire in 1809, reflecting on his experience leading the charge at the 1777 Battle of Bennington. Freedom has always meant a lot to the citizens of this New England state, which was home to the country's first free public library, and which remains free of sales tax to this day.
New Joisey -- 'scuse us, New Jersey -- gets a bad rap owing to Snooki & Co. of "Jersey Shore" fame and fictional waste-management mogul Tony Soprano and his ilk. Oh, and the whole "armpit of America" thing. And the wreck of the Hindenburg. And the tawdry, tacky Las Vegas-wannabe that is Atlantic City. But it truly is a beautiful place, or at least some of it is. Whyn'tcha stop taking this quiz and do like the state motto says, "Come See For Yourself"?