Friday, March 3, 2023

A Few Illinois Firsts and Facts List.

  • Origin of the name Illinois: Algonquin for "tribe of superior men."
  • Illinois is known as the Prairie State.
ILLINOIS STATE ______________. 
  • Illinois State Amphibian – Eastern Tiger Salamander; approval in 2005.
  • Illinois State Animal – White-Tailed Deer; schoolchildren voted in 1980.
  • Illinois State Artifact – Pirogue; a canoe made of a hollowed-out tree trunk, 2016.
  • Illinois State Bird – Northern Cardinal; chosen in 1929.
  • Illinois State Dance – Square Dance; signed into law in 1990.
  • Illinois State Exercise – Cycling; effective January 1, 2018
  • Illinois State Fish – Bluegill; schoolchildren voted in 1986.
  • Illinois State Flag – First adopted July 6, 1915; current flag adopted July 1, 1970.
  • Illinois State Flower – Violet; effective January 1, 2018.
  • Illinois State Fossil – Tully Monster; selected in 1989.
  • Illinois State Fruit – Goldrush Apple; named the State Fruit in 2007.
  • Illinois State Grain – Corn; officially named January 1, 2018.
  • Illinois State Insect – Monarch Butterfly; chosen in 1975.
  • Illinois State Microbe – Penicillium Rubens; Named on May 31, 2021.
  • Illinois State Mineral – Fluorite; the State Mineral since 1965.
  • Illinois State Motto – State Sovereignty Nation Union; In State Seal banner, 1867.
  • Illinois State Nickname – The Prairie State; given by the first settlers.
  • Illinois State Pet – Shelter Dogs and Cats; effective on August 25, 2017.
  • Illinois State Pie – Pumpkin Pie; named in 2015.
  • Illinois State Prairie Grass – Big Bluestem; named in 1989.
  • Illinois State Reptile – Painted Turtle; vote by Illinois citizens, approved in 2005.
  • Illinois State Rock – Dolostone (CaMg(CO3)2); named in 2022.
  • Illinois State Slogan – Land of Lincoln; adopted in 1955.
  • Illinois State Snack – Popcorn; official in 2003.
  • Illinois State Snake – Eastern Milksnake; January 1, 2023
  • Illinois State Soil – Drummer Silty Clay Loam; declared the State Soil in 2001.
  • Illinois State Song – "Illinois;" named the state song in 1925.
  • Illinois State Tartan – Illinois Saint Andrew Society Tartan; signed into law in 2012.
  • Illinois State Theatre – The Great American People Show; designated in 1995.
  • Illinois State Tree – White Oak; voted on in 1908; voted on type of Oak in 1995.
  • Illinois State Vegetable – Sweet Corn; Elementary students voted in 2015.
  • Illinois State Wildflower – Milkweed; designated the official Wildflower in 2017.
  • Public use areas: 275,000 acres, including state parks, memorials, forests and conservation areas.
  • Geographic center: In Logan County, 28 miles northeast of Springfield.
  • Highest point: Charles Mound, 1,235 feet
  • Lowest point: Mississippi River, 279 feet
  • Land Area: 57,918 square miles.
  • Illinois ranks third in the nation in the number of interstate highway miles.
  • Illinois has more units of government than any other state (i.e., city, county, township, etc.), more than six thousand.
  • The first birth on record in Chicago was of Eulalia Pointe de Sable, daughter of Jean-Baptiste Pointe de Sable and his Potawatomi Indian wife, in 1796.
  • Chicago's Mercy Hospital; The Lake House Hotel became the first hospital (12 beds) in Illinois from 1850 to 1953.
  • Illinois was explored by Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673.
  • Peoria is the oldest community in Illinois. It was founded in 1813.
  • Illinois became the 21st state on December 3, 1818.
  • Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in 1865. (Illinois' Black Codes)
  • The world's first skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was built on the corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets in Chicago.
  • Illinois has 1,118 miles of navigable waterways that provide the state with a direct link between the Atlantic Ocean (through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway) and the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi River.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.


  1. Fun and informative read.

  2. I enjoyed the fun facts. The state insect, the Monarch butterfly, and the state wildflower, milkweed, are certainly compatible! And the state foods are yummy!


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