Which star is your state?

Tennessee

Admitted to the union: June 1, 1796
Capital: Nashville
Population: 6,214,888 (2008 estimate - 17th in U.S.)

State bird: The mockingbird was selected on April 11, 1933, as state bird of Tennessee in an election conducted by the Tennessee Ornithological Society.  The choice was confirmed by Senate Joint Resolution 51 adopted by the General Assembly in 1933.

Nickname: The Volunteer State - coined in 1812 as the result of thousands of Tennesseans anwering the call of the Governor for volunteers.

State flower: The passion flower, so named by early Christian missionaries to South America, who saw, in the curiously-constructed flower, various symbols of the Crucifixion.

Historical notes: Tennessee has produced three Presidents - Andrew Jackson (whose portrait graces the $20 bill), 7th President (1829 - 1837), James K. Polk, 11th President (1845 - 1849), and Andrew Johnson, 17th President (1865 - 1869) - and one Vice President: Al Gore, Jr. 45th Vice President (1993 - 2001).

Ohio

Admitted to the union: March 1, 1803
Capital:Columbus
Population: 11,485,910 (2008 estimate - 7th in U.S.)

State bird: The Cardinal was adpoted as the official state bird in 1933.

Nickname: The Buckeye State (most likely after the tree of the same name).

State flower: Red carnation - adopted in 1904 in posthumous tribute William McKinley, who wore a fresh one in his lapel every day for 29 years. State rock song: "Hang on Sloopy", adopted in 1985 - why is not explained.

Historical notes: Ohio produced eight Presidents:

  • William Henry Harrison, ninth President (1841),
  • Ulysses Simpson Grant, 18th President (1869 - 1877),
  • Rutherford Birchard Hayes, 19th President (1877 - 1881),
  • James Abram Garfield, 20th President (1881),
  • Benjamin Harrision, 23rd President (1889 - 1893),
  • William McKinley, 25th President (1897 - 1901),
  • William Howard Taft, 27th President (1909 - 1913),
  • Warren Gamaliel Harding, 29th President (1921 - 1923)

In addition, Ohio boasts the following famous people and events:

  • Neil Armstrong - first man to walk on the moon
  • Daniel C. Beard - founder of the Boy Scouts of America
  • John Brown, abolitionist - famous for his raid onthe Federal armory at Harper's Ferry, (West) Virginia
  • John Chapman - more famously known as Johnny Appleseed for his travels promoting orchard planting
  • George Armstrong Custer - Civil War general and arrogant s.o.b. who led his troops - the 7th Cavalry - to slaughter at the Little Big Horn River
  • Thomas Alva Edison - inventor (now that's an understatement!)
  • James Gamble - of Proctor & Gamble; invented floating soap
  • John Glenn - United States Senator and first man to orbit the earth in a spacecraft
  • Charles Goodyear - rubber inbdustrialist
  • Zane Grey, author of numerous western novels
  • W. H. Hoover - floor sweepeer/vacuum cleaner guy
  • A. W. Livingston - no, not "Dr. Livingston, I presume", but the seed merchant who, in 1870, developed the first edible tomato
  • Annie Oakley - world champion sharpshooter
  • John D. Rockerfeller, industrialist
  • Philip H. Sheridan - Civil War general
  • William Tecumseh Sherman - Civil War general
  • Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin
  • James Thurber, novelist
  • Orville and Wilbur Wright - yep, the Wright Brothers

  • 1st professional baseball team organized, 1866: The Cincinatti Reds
  • 1st dental school in the world was started in 1828 in Bainbridge by John M. Harris, M.D.
  • 1st gorilla born in captivity - December 22, 1956, at the Columbus Zoo
  • 1st interracial, coeducational college in America was founded in Oberlin in 1833
  • 1st kindergarten in America was established in Columbus in 1838 by German settlers
  • 1st junior high school, Indianola Jr. High, was established in Columbus in 1909
  • 1st banana split was made by soda clerk Letty Lally at Foeller's Drug Store, Columbus, 1904
  • 1st hot dog (as we know it - wrapped in bread) was created by Harry M. Stevens of Niles, who was the first person to think of wrapping up a frankfurter in a piece of bread - later a roll.  He capitalized on the name "hot dog" after seeing a caricature of a frankfurter made to look like a Dachshund in the New York Daily Times, 1904

Louisiana

Admitted to the union: April 30, 1812
Capital:Baton Rouge - home of the tallest state capitol building in the United States - a 450 tall Art Deco structure built during the Great Depression (1932)
Population:4,410,796 (2008 estimate - 25st in U.S.)

State bird: Brown pelican, July 27, 1966

Nickname: The Pelican State

State flower:Magnolia - designated in 1900 because of the abundance of magnolia trees in the state.

Historical notes and interesting facts:

  • The Louisiana Purchase
    A huge piece of land extending from New Orleans to north of Montana (828,800 square miles), purchased from France in 1803 for $15 million (including the cancellation of $3,750,000 in French debts) - doubled the size of the United States overnight.  The total price worked out to about 3 per acre!
  • The state's system of civil law is based on French, Spanish and German legal code and Roman law, rather than on English common law as is done in the other 49 states.
  • Citizens speak three dialects of French: Cajun French, Colonial French, and Napoleonic French; there are also two dialects of English - French-influenced Canjun English and "Yat", which, like the New York (city) dialect, was influenced by Irish and Italian immigrants - but also by Spanish and German.

Indiana

Admitted to the union: December 11, 1816
Capital: Indianapolis
Population: 6,376,792 (2008 estimate - 16th in U.S.)

State bird: Cardinal

Nickname: The Hoosier State

State flower: Peony

  • Indiana boasts several actors, actresses, comedians, comediennes, and singers - and some not-so-pleaseant personages - as native sons and daughters; among them are:
    • James Dean
    • Irene Dunn
    • Brendan Fraser
    • Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle)
    • Karl Malden
    • Clifton Webb
    • Jo Ann Worley (from Laugh-In)
    • Red Skelton
    • The Jackson Five (including "The Gloved One", Michael Jackson)
    • John Dillinger
    • Jim Jones (cult leader who forced hundreds of his followers to drink cyanide-laced grape Kool-Aid)
  • In addition to notable people, here are some notable events and fun facts about Indiana:
    • The state was originally claimed for the French in 1670; following the French and Indian Wars and 100 years of French rule, the region cameunder British rule.  British rule didn't last, however, due to a little thing called the American Revolution.
    • Governor - and later President of the United States - William Henry Harrison saw Indiana through Tecumseh's War and the War of 1812
    • The Indianapolis Motor Speedway - also called The Brickyard - was established in 1909.  The first race track to use "Speedway" as part of their name, Indianapolis Motor Speedway has more than 257,000 permanent seats, plus additional seating in the infield, raising the total to approximately 400,000 seats
    • Indianapolis, in secret actions with the late (YAY!!!) Robert Irsay, STOLE the Baltimore Colts in the middle of the snowy night of March 28, 1984 - and took with them the team name, colors and history, claiming them as Indianapolis' own. Which is fine...EXCEPT that Johnny Unitas NEVER played football for Indianapolis and went to his grave PROUDLY saying so whenever given a chance.

Mississippi

Admitted to the union: January 9, 1788
Capital: Jackson

Population: 2,938,618 (2008 estimate - 31st in U.S.)

State bird: Mockingbird

Nickname: The Magnolia State

State flower: Magnolia

Historical notes:

  • In 1891, Biedenham Candy Company bottled the first Coca-Cola in Vicksburg
  • Root beer was invented in 1898 in Biloxi by Edward Adolf Barq, namesake of Barq's Root Beer
  • in 1932, Dr. Leslie Rush, of Rush Hospital in Meridian, invented the "Rush Pin" (Patent number 2,579,968), still in use for pinning fractured bones together

       Rush Pin in clavacle (Patent image)
  • People count "One-Mississippi, teo-Mississippi." to approximate the passing of seconds in the passing of time


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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