12 Fun Facts You May Not Know about the Midwest

One fun part of travel is learning interesting facts about the places you visit. Following are bits of trivia I’ve picked up about each of the Midwest states:

■   The world’s tallest man, Robert Wadlow, was from Alton, Illinois. He reached 8’11.1” and was still growing when he died at the age of 22.

Robert Wadlow foot■   Most Americans know that Abraham Lincoln was born in a cabin in Kentucky and that he spent his pre-presidential adult years in Illinois. But did you know that the Lincoln family moved to Indiana when Abe was a young boy? It was in Indiana that he spent his formative years.

Replica of Lincoln Cabin■   Snake Alley in Burlington Iowa was dubbed the crookedest street in the world by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! The 600-foot Lombard Street has eight switchbacks, or one switchback for every 75 feet.

Driving Snake Alley, Burlington Iowa■   Cawker City, Kansas, is home to the world’s largest ball of twine, measure more than ten feet in diameter. Read about it in an article by fellow travel bloggers, The Walking Tourists.

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■   Colon, Michigan, is known as the Magic Capital of the World. The small city of 1100 people manufactures more magic supplies than anywhere else, has three magic stores, hosts two magic conventions each year and even has a cemetery full of interred magicians.

Rick Fisher■   The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, the largest shopping mall in the United States, does not have a central heating system. The mall is heated through skylights, lighting fixtures and body heat of visitors.

■   Although the ice cream cone was patented in 1903 by an Italian immigrant to New York, it became popular as a result of the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. When an ice cream vendor ran out of dishes, a vendor selling a wafer-thin waffle pastry in the next booth rolled one of the waffles into a cone and gave it to the ice cream vendor.

■   The Union Pacific’s Baily Yard in North Platte, Nebraska, is the world’s largest railroad yard. The yard is 8 miles long and 1.5 to 2 miles wide with 301 sets of rails set on 2,850 acres.

Bailey Yard■   The geographical center of North America is in Ruby, North Dakota.

■   Ohio has a larger Amish population than any other state, with 69,255 as of 2015.

■   The largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world is located at the Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, South Dakota.

■   Wisconsin is the largest producer of cranberries, taking over the lead from Massachusetts in 1995.

What trivia facts of places you’ve traveled to can you add to the list? Answer in the Comments section below.

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4 thoughts on “12 Fun Facts You May Not Know about the Midwest

  • July 5, 2016 at 9:37 am
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    I think it’s funny that I knew most of these besides the one about the Mall of America not having a central heating system … and I’m from Minnesota! I should’ve known that, but then again, it’s always so warm in MOA that I always just assumed it was heated! Especially in our cold cold winters.

    These are some great fun facts. It makes me proud to be a Midwesterner. 🙂

    Reply
    • July 5, 2016 at 12:32 pm
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      It really is hard to believe that in a city with winters as cold as those in Minneapolis, there is no heating system in MOA.

      Reply
      • December 13, 2017 at 1:48 pm
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        I did not know that.

        Reply
  • December 13, 2017 at 1:47 pm
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    You get reasherach from it.

    Reply

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