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.
Our Grand Old Flagistock/flySnow
The current 50-star American flag was designed by a 17-year-old as a school project in 1958. He got a B-. Learn more about how the student made his American flag design famous.
Talk about a Great Lakeistock/Michael Westhoff
There is enough water in Lake Superior to cover the entire landmass of North and South America in one foot of liquid. Find out if you can pass this geography 101 quiz.
A whole lotta pizzaistock/rez-art
Meanwhile, we sell enough pizza every day to cover 100 acres. Here are 50 more astonishing facts you never knew about the 50 states.
Our mighty militaryistock/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. Don’t miss these 22 words you never knew originated in the military.
Cry me a (very old) riveristock/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. Check out these 30 geography myths everyone gets wrong.
The power of youthistock/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 jobistock/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. Find out why presidents keep dying on the Fourth of July.
An entrepreneurial presidentThe 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 withNapoleon Sarony/Library of Congress
The only president who was an executioner: Grover Cleveland. As sheriff of Erie County, New York, he hanged a murderer. Don’t miss these other 24 little-known (and arguably more lovable) talents of U.S. presidents.
In praise of the pilgrimsistock/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.
The FBI is watching usistock/eurobanks
And roughly one in three of us has his or her fingerprints on file with the FBI. Here are more fascinating facts you never knew about the FBI.
A nation of do-goodersistock/Wavebreakmedia
According to the World Giving Index, Americans are the most likely people in the world to help a stranger. Learn about the towns we deemed the nicest places in America.
Thanks to our firemenistock/Susan Chiang
Case in point: Slightly more than 69 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.
Our real Independence dayistock/Lee Pettet
The day Congress voted us free from British rule is July 2, 1776. July 4 is just when John Hancock put the first signature on the Declaration of Independence to spread the word. Don’t miss these other 16 history questions everyone gets wrong.
The highest court in the landistock/garymilner
Finally, the real acme of the American justice system? That would be the basketball court on the fifth floor of the Supreme Court building. It’s known as the Highest Court in the Land. Check out these 19 real U.S. court cases with hilarious names.
Sources: todayifoundout.com, seagrant.umn.edu, fbi.gov, wsj.com, thewire.com, cafonline.org, nfpa.org, usnews.com, reddit.com, nationalinterest.org, navy.mil, smithsonian.com, knowledgenuts.com, washingtonpost.com, the Mayflower Society, and atlasobscura.com