Best of America

15 Fascinating Facts You Never Learned About America

Which president was a hangman, which owned a saloon, the country's deadliest job, and more mind-blowing trivia about American history and culture.

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Our Grand Old Flag

istock/flySnow

The current 50-star American flag was designed by a 17-year-old as a school project in 1958. He got a B-. Want to explore the beauty of the American West? Get more info about an amazing travel experience to America’s Cowboy Country here.

Talk about a Great Lake

istock/Michael Westhoff

There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire landmass of North and South America in one foot of liquid.

A whole lotta pizza

istock/rez-art

Meanwhile, we sell enough pizza every day to cover 100 acres.

Our mighty military

istock/John Bell

The largest air force in the world is the U.S. Air Force. The world’s second-largest air force is the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps combined.

Cry me a (very old) river

istock/Dwight Nadig

Three of the world’s five oldest rivers flow here: The New, the Susquehanna, and the French Broad Rivers are each hundreds of millions of years old.

The power of youth

istock/BCWH

But our nation is young: The government is still paying one pension on behalf of a Civil War veteran (to his 85-year-old daughter).

America's deadliest job

istock/EdStock

Statistically, the deadliest job in America is … president. Of the 
45 men who’ve held the post, four have been assassinated in office—
a rate of roughly 9 percent (or about one in ten) killed on the job.

An entrepreneurial president

The Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana, Alexander Hesler/Library of Congress

The only U.S. president to own a patent and a saloon: Abraham Lincoln. His patent was for a device to lift boats over sandbars. His saloon was a miserable failure. Here are famous presidential "quotes" that are completely fake.

The president you don't want to mess with

Napoleon Sarony/Library of Congress

The only president who was an executioner: Grover Cleveland. As sheriff of Erie County, New York, he hanged a murderer.

In praise of the pilgrims

istock/zudin

An estimated one in ten of us could be a blood relative to one of the original 102 pilgrims who arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620. But we still believe these myths about Thanksgiving.

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