Introduction - Illinois FactsThe state of Illinois is located in the heart of the American Midwest region. It is bordered by Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Iowa, and Missouri. This is a big state with areas ranging from large cities to beautiful countryside, where quaint towns are chock full of history. What usually comes to mind when people think of Illinois, however, is Chicago, the Windy City. It is quite the tourist mecca with endless dining, museums, and shopping options to suit any taste. Did you know that both Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama held important political positions in Illinois before becoming U.S. President? Read on to find out more interesting facts and information about Illinois, written in a list format for kids and adults to easily read.
Click here for a great selection of Amazon.com books about Illinois.
State of Illinois Quick Facts
- Illinois officially became a state on December 3rd of 1818.
- Illinois was the 21st state in the United States.
- The state capital of Illinois is Springfield.
- Illinois is the fifth most populous state in the United States (source 2013 Unites States Census Bureau).
- With a total area of 57,913.55 square miles (149,995 square kilometers) it is the 25th largest state.
- The population of Illinois is 12,882,135 (source 2013 Unites States Census Bureau).
- Illinois gets its name from the early French explorers and missionaries name for the Indians they found living in the region of North America where the state of Illinois now is.
- The state flower of Illinois is the Violet.
- The nickname given to Illinois is the Prairie State. It is also referred to as Land of Lincoln.
- A resident of Illinois is called an Illinoisan.
- The major rivers that run through Illinois are the Mississippi River, Ohio River, Wabash River and the Illinois River.
- Major lakes in Illinois include Rend Lake and Lake Michigan.
- The Illinois state song is simply, "Illinois".
State of Illinois Interesting Facts
- Illinois is one of the United States biggest manufacturing states. It has recently been ranked fourth in manufacturing behind only California, Texas, and Ohio.
- Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States was born in Tampico, Illinois in 1911.
- Walt Disney was born in Hermosa, a community on the northwest side of Chicago on December 5th, 1901.
- George Washington Gale Ferris designed the original Ferris wheel, also called the Chicago Wheel, for the 1893 World's Columbian exposition in Chicago. It was 264 feet tall (80.4 meters), held 36 cars and up to 60 people per ride.
- At 8 ft. 11.1 inches tall, Robert Pershing Wadlow, born in Alton, Illinois in 1918 holds the record as the tallest man in recorded history.
State of Illinois Historical Facts
- The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 left between 200 and 300 people dead, almost 100,000 people homeless, and destroyed or badly damaged approximately 18,000 buildings. The fire was believed to have started in a barn. Although the exact cause is not known, a combination of drought, wind, and excessive wooden buildings and roadways created one of the largest disasters of the 19th century.
- The Home Insurance Building, the world's very first skyscraper was built in Chicago, Illinois in 1885. The original building had ten stories and in 1890 two more floors were added, making the total height 180 feet (55 meters).
- The Ulysses S. Grant State Historic Site is located in Galena, IL. It was opened to the public in 1904 and almost all of items inside were actually owned by Grant.
- The Sears Tower, now known as the Willis Tower, was completed in 1973 and held the title of tallest building in the world for twenty-five years. Four states can be seen from the very top observation point of this Chicago landmark.
- When it opened in 1930 the Shedd Aquarium (original name - John G. Shedd Aquarium) located in Chicago, Illinois was the largest indoor aquarium in the world.