While most people just think of Chicago when they think about Illinois, a Springfield tour will reveal that there’s plenty more to see in the state. Here are three interesting facts about the Prairie State that you might not know:
Illinois Has a Presidential Legacy: Illinois is often called the “Land of Lincoln” because Abraham Lincoln, America’s 16th president, spent most of his adult life in the Springfield area. Lincoln came to Springfield to pursue a legal career and stayed in the area after entering politics, but he was actually born in Kentucky. The only president to be born in Illinois is Ronald Reagan, who grew up in the state before moving to Hollywood in the 1930s.
Illinois Impacted Midwestern Food: Midwestern cuisine might not be fancy, but it’s popular all across the country and several staples were invented in Illinois. Twinkies were created in 1930 in the town of River Forest, while corn dogs were supposedly invented by a Springfield restaurant owner named Ed Waldmire. The most impressive culinary feather in Illinois’s cap, however, is probably its status as the birthplace of McDonald’s, which opened its first location in Des Plaines, IL.
Everything is bigger in Illinois. Sorry, Texas, but it’s hard to beat some of the enormous roadside attractions constructed in Illinois. The town of Casey, IL, alone has 12 entries in the Guinness Book of World Records, including the world’s largest rocking chair, mailbox, wind chime, and golf tee. Other record-breaking sites include the world’s largest catsup bottle in Collinsville and the world’s largest pin button and 8-track collections. In all ways, Illinois really is the center of Midwestern culture.
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