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50 Astonishing Facts You Never Knew About the 50 States

Quick: Where are “idiots” not allowed to vote? Plus 49 other odd, outrageous, or revealing tidbits about America's 50 states.

Emma Kapotes/


The only state covered entirely by its own time zone, Hawaii-Aleutian, also doesn’t observe daylight saving.  Here are 50 hilarious jokes for each of the 50 states.

Emma Kapotes/


Boise celebrates the New Year by dropping a 16-foot-tall steel-and-foam potato in the state capital. Every year, thousands of “spec-taters” gather to watch.

Emma Kapotes/


In 1887, engineers began to reverse the flow of the Chicago River to stop pollution from contaminating the city’s water supply. The reversal was complete in 1900. Learn more about what every state in America is best—and worst—at.

Emma Kapotes/


At 8 p.m. on March 31, 1880, Wabash became the first city in the world to be lit by electricity—via four “Brush lights,” invented by Clevelander Charles F. Brush.

Emma Kapotes/


The world’s largest painted ball resides in Alexandria: The 4,000-pound baseball with a 14-foot circumference is the creation of Michael Carmichael, who began the project more than 50 years ago after dropping a ball in paint; he now adds another coat or two every year.

Emma Kapotes/


It’s the state that was proved to be—quite literally—flatter than a pancake. Scientists tested the flatness of the state against the topography of a pancake. On a zero- to-one scale of perfect flatness, Kansas was flatter, with a score of 0.9997. The pancake scored only 0.957. But it's worth noting that Kansas isn't the flattest U.S. state. That title goes to...Florida.

Emma Kapotes/


Underground vaults at Fort Knox hold one of the largest stockpiles of gold in the country. Not many people have seen the stash, though—and some even question whether the 27.5-pound bars, worth $6 billion, truly exist.

Emma Kapotes/


A last-second home-team touchdown at Louisiana State University in 1988 sent the fans into such a frenzy that the victory registered as an earthquake on a local seismograph.

Emma Kapotes/


Maine is the loneliest number: the single state whose name is just one syllable, the lone state that borders precisely one other state, and the only state whose official flower, the pinecone, is not a flower. You may think Maine is an odd name, but only because you haven't heard these names of states that were almost part of the United States yet.

Emma Kapotes/


It’s the wealthiest state in the country, as measured by median household income.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest