Which star is your state?

Illinois

Admitted to the union: December 3, 1818
Capital: Springfield
Population: 12,901,563 (2008 estimate - 5th in U.S.)

State bird: Northern Cardinal

Nickname: The Land of Lincoln

State flower: Violet

Historical notes and interesting facts:

  • "Illini", the name of the University of Illinois' football team, is actualy the name of a multi-tribe political alliance, also known as the Illinois Confederation, around 1700
  • Explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet explored the Illinois River in 1673; partly because of this Illinois was part of the French empire until 1763, when it was passed to the British
  • On February 3, 1809, the Illinois Territory was created
  • The early 1800s were cruel weather-wise: "The Winter of the Deep Snow", 1830-31, paralyzed travel throughout Illinois; it was followed five years later by "The Sudden Freeze, when a cold front so severe passed through that puddles froze in minutes, and many travelers died from exposure because they couold find no shelter.  It was probable that this event gave the lower half of the state the nickname "Little Egypt" because it shipped food to the nortehrn part of the state, after the Biblical story of Joseph in Egypt sending grain to his brothers.
  • In 1839 the Mormon city of Nauvoo rivaled Chicago as the state's largest city; however, the leader of the Mormons,Joseph Smith was murdered in the jail in Carthage and in 1846 the Mormons made a mass exodus westward.
  • Though it banned slavery when it became a state in 1818, Illinois had so-called "exclusionary laws" which prohibited blacks from living in the state at all. at least up to the Civil War; John A. Logan later a Union general in the Civil War, proposed legislation which led to such laws
  • Illinois became home of the first privately-owned nuclear power generating plane when, in 1960, Dresden 1, was dedicated in Morris
  • In 1960 Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald'sŪ in Des Plaines.

Alabama

Admitted to the union: December 14, 1819
Capital: Montgomery
Population: 4,661,900 (2008 estimate - 23rd in U.S.)
State bird: Yellowhammer (Yellow-shafted Flicker)
Nickname: No official nickname
State flower: Camellia
Historical notes and interesting facts:
  • Only state to have a state Bible - the Alabama State Bible.  Dating from 1853, it is the oldest state symbol; it has been used in every inauguration of the state Governor since then, and was also used to swear Jefferson Davis in as the Prsident of the Confederate States of America in 1861.
  • Poor blacks and whites (600,000 whites and 520,000 blacks) were disenfranchised because of poll taxes invoked in the 1902 state constitution
  • Bloody Sunday - March 7, 1965: a group of 600 blacks started to march from Selma to Montgomery; as soon as they reached the Edmund Pettus bridge, they were attacked by police under Governor George Wallace's order to stop them by any means necessary.
  • Rosa Parks (1913 - 2005) started the Montgomery Bus Boycott by defying a bus driver's instructions to give her seat to a white man
  • Birmingham was the site, on September 15, 1963, of an horrific explosion at a "negro" church.  Four young girls - Carole Robertson, 14, Cynthia Wesley, 14, Addie Mae Collins, 14, and Denise McNair, 11, were killed in the blast.  A month later a farce of a trial found three men who the FBI were planning to try for the explosion - 59-year-old Robert Chambliss, a redneck truck driver and incorporator of the KKK, 22-year-old laborer Charles Cagle, and 36-year-ols truck driver John W. Hall, guilty of posessing dynamite - a crime in Montgomery tantamount to jaywalking in any other city.
  • Some famous good Alabamians include Hank Aaron, "Bear" Bryant, George Washington Carver, Nat King Cole, Helen Keller, Jesse Owens, Satchel Paige, and Condoleezza Rice

Maine

Admitted to the union: March 15, 1820
Capital: Augusta
Population: 1,316,456 (2008 estimate - 40th in U.S.)
State bird: Black-capped Chickadee
State cat: Maine coon
Nickname: The Pine Tree State
State flower: White Pinecone and Tassel
Historical notes and interesting facts:
  • Maine is the only state with a single-syllable name
  • Maine is the only state to border only one other state
  • Maine has 62 lighthouses, of which more than 50 are still in use
  • Several fillms and television shows "take place" in Maine; some of them are : It Happened to Jane, Casper, The Shawshank Redemption, Storm of the Century, On Golden Pond, Dark Shadows and my wife's favorite television show of all time, Murder, She Wrote

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Missouri

Admitted to the union: August 10, 1821
Capital: Jefferson City
Population: 5,911,605 (2008 estimate - 18th in U.S.)
State bird: Bluebird
Nickname: The Show-Me State
State flower: Hawthorn
Historical notes and interesting facts:
  • Home of author Samuel Langhorne Clemens, better known as Mark Twain - the latter which is a unit of measurement regarding soundings taken on the Mississippi River to tell how deep the water is beneath a vessel
  • Other fanous people from Missouri include Marlin Perkins of wildlife television fame (who was the butt of many joke such as " While Jim is fighting for his life against the ferocious bengal tiger, let's hear a word from our sponsor, Mutual Of Omaha"); Astronomer Edwin Hubble, namesake of the Hubble telescope; Writer Dale Carnegie (author of "How to Win Friends and Influence People"); Guitarist and singer Chuck Berry; and actors and actresses Dick Van Dyke, John Goodman, Ed Asner, Vincent Price, Betty Grable (World War II pinup queen who insured her legs for $1,000,000 with Lloyds of London), and Linda Blair
  • Other famous Mainers (?) include Walter Cronkite, Yogi Berra, Joe Garagiola, Casey Stengel, Harry Caray, Redd Foxx, J.C. Penny (yes, he was a real person), Jesse James, Frank James and Cole Younger (The James Gang of bank and train robbery lore), General Omar Bradley, and General John Joseph Pershing

Arkansas

Admitted to the union: June 15, 1836
Capital: Little Rock
Population: 2,855,390 (2008 estimate - 32nd in U.S.)
State bird: Mockingbird
Nickname: The Natural State (official)
State flower: Apple blossom
Historical notes and interesting facts:
  • The first Eurpoean to reach what is now Araknsas was Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto (though probably not in a DeSsoto...)
  • The territory of Arkansas was orgaizd on July 4, 1819; it was one of many states created from the land acquired in the Louisiana Purchase
  • Arkansas refused to join the Confederate States of America until after Abraham Lincoln sent troops to respond to the Southern attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina; it officially seceded from the Union on May 6, 1861; it was readmitted to the Union oin June of 1868
  • In 1954, following the trial called Brown v Topeka Board of Education (more commomly called Brown v. Board of Education, dropping the reference to the city) the Little Rock 9, a group of 9 negro children trying to attend a Little Rock high school, brought Arkansas into the national spotlight - and not in a good way.  On September 5, 1957, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, ordered the state National Guard to the segregationists who were trying to keep the children out of school.  After several failed attempts to contact the Governor by phone, President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent 1,000 members of the actve-duty 101st Airborne division to escort and protect the children.

    In direct defiance of a federal court order to segregate schools, Little Rock high shcools were closed for the remainder of the year.  Little Rock schools were fully segregated by the Fall of 1959.

  • Former United States President Bill Clinton was born in Hope, Arkansas; prior to becoming President, Clinton seved as Arkansas' Governor for almost 12 years (not in succession)


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Black-and-white line art obtained from www.ist.net
and colored by Michael Calo using Paint Shop Pro 4.12 State-sepcific graphics obtained from state information sites

Last updated Wednesday May 20, 2009