“America’s Most American State,” Illinois is considered the most average state according to Census Bureau data analysis by the Associated Press. Illinois is full of fascinating and often humorous stories of strange places, bizarre events, intriguing history and colorful characters:
• The first pickup truck was built by A.W. King in Chicago in 1896; he called it the King High-Wheeler
• Chicago is home to the largest Polish community outside of Poland, and more than one million people of Polish descent live in Illinois
• In 1972, the state officially made the town of Metropolis the “adopted home of Superman,” and police uniforms bear patches with the Superman logo
• Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois was the first and, to date, only black woman elected to the U.S. Senate
•Because high sewage and pollution levels in Lake Michigan were causing diseases such as typhoid and cholera, Chicago civil engineers reversed the flow of the Chicago River to empty into the Mississippi River basin instead of Lake Michigan.
• The only Hippie Memorial in the United States is in the town of Arcola
• In 1993, the Illinois State Senate passed a resolution proclaiming Springfield the “Chilli Capital of the Civilized World” (and that’s not a typo)—Springfieldians spell chili with two l’s after a popular establishment in town misspelled the word on its sign a century ago
And so much more…