Fun facts about the great United States of America
The 4th of July always brings with it a great time with family and friends celebrating our home country–the United States of America.
Sometimes we forget how great and vast this country is and all it has to offer. From land, to cultures, to different walks of life, and amazing opportunities–this country has seen its fair share of change and prosperity.
With that, there are so much to know and discover about the USA that it’s hard to take it all in. With 50 different states, there’s character deeply instilled in every inch of our country. So here are some fun facts about our country and the people that make it.
The Liberty Bell was last rung on George Washington’s Birthday in 1846. It received its fatal crack a few hours later. Look closely and you will see that the word “Pennsylvania” is misspelled as “Pensylvania.” The bell is said to have been built for $225.50 USD and it was rung on July 8, 1776 for the first public reading of The Declaration of Independence.
Chicago is the birthplace of the first ever Ferris wheel, which was 264-feet tall and debuted in the 1893 World’s Fair and was demolished shortly after in 1906. Today the 150-foot tall (15 story high) one at Navy Pier is modeled after the original one. Also housed at Navy Pier is a children’s museum, an IMAX and the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is associated with New York City, but it is actually physically located in New Jersey. Jersey City, New Jersey to be exact. Another fun fact: The seven rays on the crown of the Statue of Liberty represent the seven continents; each measures up to 9 feet in length and weighs as much as 150 pounds.
The current flag of the USA was designed by a 17 year old. His name was Robert G. Heft and he designed the flag as a school project. He originally received a B– for the project, but he was later awarded an A after the flag was accepted by the Congress.
President of the United States
Statistically speaking, no job in the United States of America is more deadly than that of the president. 45 men have held the title. Four of those men were assassinated in office (Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, James A. Garfield, and William McKinley), while four died of natural causes (William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Warren Harding, and Franklin Delano Roosevelt). That’s a rate of almost 18 percent.
Lincoln created the Secret Service the day he was assassinated. Lincoln signed legislation to create the U.S. Secret Service hours before he headed to Ford’s Theatre. However, the Secret Service wouldn’t have saved Lincoln had it been created in time—the original purpose was to combat widespread currency counterfeiting. It wasn’t until 1901 that its purpose was to protect the president.
The Pentagon is the largest office building in the world by area, with 17 miles of corridors. The US Capitol could fit into one of the building’s five sides, and it has twice the space as the Empire State Building. It was built in Arlington, Virginia in 1943 at a cost of $83 million–equivalent to $1.32 billion in today’s dollars.
The Pentagon has 5 sides, 5 floors above ground, 5 ring corridors per floor and a 5-acre central plaza that is known as “ground zero.” Hence the name “penta,” which means five. It would have been built higher but they did not want to block the scenic views of the area and the also had a steel shortage which prevented them.
The original capital of the United States was Philadelphia. Other than Philadelphia, Congress met in a number of locations from 1774 to 1790, meaning that each of the following cities were considered US Capitals at one time: Baltimore, Maryland
Princeton, New Jersey
And Trenton, New Jersey
Washington D.C. became the official capital in 1790.
Harvard was the first university in the United States and was founded in 1636 and is located in Cambridge, MA. The second oldest university is The College of William and Mary which was founded in 1693. Yale University, founded in 1701, is the 4th oldest after St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, founded in 1696.
Pensacola, Florida is actually the oldest city in the US. It was settled in 1559 by Don Tristan de Luna. There is a restaurant there that is called McGuire Irish Pub, which has over 550,000 worth of $ bills hanging on the walls. There’s always money in the Irish (Banana Stand) Pub.
The first person to appear on the $1 bill, the most common bill in circulation, was Salmon P. Chase. The first $1 bill was issued during the Civil War in 1862. Chase was the Secretary of Treasury at that time and was also the designer of the country’s first bank notes.
Uncle Sam was a real person. His name? Samuel Wilson. He was a meatpacker in Troy, New York, who fought in the American Revolution, and he later became the official meat inspector for the northern army in the War of 1812. Wilson was given the nickname “Uncle Sam” for his good nature.
The tallest mountain in the world is actually located in the United States. It is actually taller than Mount Everest (more than twice Mt. Everest’s base-to-peak height) when measured from the seafloor. It’s called Mauna Kea and it’s located in Hawaii. While it is only 13,796 feet in altitude above sea level, when measured from the seafloor it is over 32,000 feet high, while Mount Everest is 29,028 feet high.
San Jacinto Monument
The world’s tallest battle monument is the San Jacinto Monument found in Houston, Texas. It was dedicated in 1939 and stands 570 feet high, which is 15 feet above the Washington monument. It is the second tallest monument in the country, right after the 630 foot Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
New Jersey is home to the world’s highest roller coaster. Kingda Ka, at Six Flags Great Adventure in N.J. stands a whopping 45 stories tall, plummeting 456 feet and reaching speeds up to 126 mph. Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA has 18 roller coasters, with most roller coasters than any other theme/amusement park in the world.
Atlantic City is home to longest boardwalk in the world. Built in 1870, it was America’s first boardwalk and was constructed to limit the amount of sand that beach-goers tracked into the train and hotel lobbies. It was 7 miles long when first built, but now stands at 4.5 miles long after a storm destroyed it.
Georgia is the birthplace of miniature golf. More specifically, at Lookout Mountain’s Rock City, which is located right outside of Chattanooga, TN. But Myrtle Beach holds the title as “Mini Golf Capital of the World,” as it is home to over 50 courses throughout town. National Miniature Golf Day is held on September 21st.
Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together. Alaska is also the largest state in the United States by area, more than twice the size of Texas the next the largest state, the 4th least populous, and the least densely populated of the 50 states.
Kodiak Island, Alaska’s largest island, is home to the world’s largest bear species, called the Kodiak brown bears. Alaska is also home to 17 of the tallest 20 mountains in the US, including Mt. McKinley (also known as Denali) which is the highest peak in the US. And only 20 percent of Alaska is accessible by road.
32 percent of all land in the US is owned by the federal government, as they own about 650 million acres. The Federal Government actually owns 84.5 percent of Nevada, 69.1 percent of Alaska and 57.4 percent of Utah. This land is called “public land” and the majority is used as national and state parks, other parts are used for grazing by cattle or sheep.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, the lowest-percentage states are mainly in the East. The Federal Government only owns 0.4 percent of Connecticut, 0.4 percent of Rhode Island and 0.8 percent of Iowa. By “public land” it means that each set of land is governed by its own set of laws and rules that explain the purpose for which the land was acquired, and how the land may be used.
San Francisco hardly has any cemeteries. The USA has a ton of weird laws but in 1937, San Francisco residents might’ve passed the weirdest law that said that cemeteries can no longer be built within city limits, simply because they considered their land to be too valuable. Today there are only three cemeteries within city limits.
National Air and Space Museum
The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum is the most-visited museum in the United States. It gets over 9 million visitors a year and is second only to the Louvre in attendance worldwide. It maintains the largest collection of historic air and spacecraft in the world, and all the aircraft on display were actually flown or were used as backup vehicles.
There are 182 places in the U.S. that have the word “Christmas” in their names. They range from towns such as Christmas, Ariz., and Christmas Valley, Ore., to islands like Christmas Island in Florida and even some lakes such as Christmas Lake in Washington. There is also a Santa Claus, Indiana, whose post office receives a half-million holiday cards and roughly 10,000 letters from children each year.
The California grizzly bear is the official state animal of California, but no grizzly bears, the California species, have been seen there since 1922. Thousands of grizzlies flourished across California until the mid-1800s, when speculators began to arrive for the state’s gold rush. Between that time and 1922, every living grizzly in the state was either captured or killed.
Manhattan’s Chinatown has the most Chinese residents in the Western Hemisphere. It is the oldest of at least 9 Chinatowns in the New York Metropolitan area. San Francisco has the oldest Chinatown in North America, which was established in the 1850s in the wake of the California Gold Rush. San Francisco is said to be the birthplace of several American Chinese food traditions including Chop Suey and Fortune Cookies.
New York City
More people live in New York City than in most states. New York City is home to 8.5 million people—more than 40 out of 50 of the states in America. This figure is especially crazy, considering how New York City is geographically tiny. It is just over 300 square miles.
The longest stone arch bridge in the world is the Rockville Bridge in Marysville, Pennsylvania, which was completed in 1902 and spans a total length of 3,820 feet. The bridge is currently used by the Norfolk Southern Railway and Amtrak. The world’s longest pedestrian bridge is 120 years old and located in Poughkeepsie, NY. It is 1.25 miles long.
The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco is considered to be the most famous bridge in America, as it was completed in 1937 as the longest suspension bridge in the world (it held that title for nearly 30 years; the span length has since been surpassed by 8 other bridges).
The world’s largest amphitheater is The Hollywood Bowl in LA. It opened in 1922 and holds a capacity of nearly 18,000. New York’s Radio City Music Hall opened in 1932 and remains the largest indoor theatre in the world. New York’s Madison Square Garden is the busiest music arena in America and the third busiest in the world (right after the Q2 Arena and Manchester Arena, both in England.
Americans can travel the world quite freely and they can pride themselves with the fact that they have one of the world’s best passports. U.S. citizens can travel to 116 countries without a visa requirement and get a visa on arrival in additional 44 countries. So start to travel the world.
In practice, the national language of the United States is English. However, at the federal level, there is no official language, although some laws such as the US naturalization requirements institutionalize English as the language. While English is mainly spoken throughout the US, Spanish is the second most common language in the country which also happens to be the most widely taught second language.
In some states, there are more cows than people. Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming have less humans than they do cattle. In these states combined, there are 32,489,391 cows. That’s more than one-third of America’s total cow population. That’s a lot of cows.
Americans eat about 100 acres of pizza each day, and there are about 3 billion pizzas sold annually in the USA. 93% of Americans are said to have eaten pizza in the last month. There are over 60,000 pizzerias in the USA and America’s oldest pizzeria opened in 1905 and it’s called Lambardi’s and it is located in NYC.
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