What do the airplane, the light bulb and chewing gum have in common? They are three of the many inventions developed by people in Ohio. There’s also the traffic light, cash register, vacuum cleaner and yes, even Teflon.
Ohio was home to many inventors, including Thomas Edison, perhaps the greatest inventor throughout history. Likewise, more of our country’s presidents were born in Ohio than in any other state, which is why the state is nicknamed “the Mother of Presidents”. They are:
- Ulysses S. Grant (18th)
- Rutherford B. Hayes (19th)
- James A. Garfield (20th) ·
- Benjamin Harrison (23rd)
- William McKinley (25th)
- William H. Taft (27th)
- Warren G. Harding (29th)
One of these Presidents was assassinated. Do you know which one? One President was born in Virginia but lived in Ohio when elected. Do you know his name? He was William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the US.
The state is located in the Midwest of the Great Lakes Region. It’s bordered by Michigan to the north, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to the east, Kentucky and West Virginia to the south, and Indiana to the west.
What really happened
- In the 1600s, the Iroquois Indians lived in the area. However, due to diseases brought by Europeans, they were wiped out and later replaced by tribes from the east, such as the Delaware, the Shawnee and the Miami.
- The first known person who was not Native American to come to the area was French explorer Robert de La Salle around 1670. He claimed the land for the French. French fur traders followed and settled into the area.
- In the early 1700s, British colonists from the east coast moved into the area. The British and the French were competing for the fur trade, which eventually led to the French and Indian War. In 1763, the British won the war and claimed the area for Britain.
- After the Revolutionary War between the US and Britain ended in 1783, Ohio became part of the American territory. It became the 17th state in 1803.
- Much of the early 1800s were also marked by battles and wars in the state. First, there was a rebellion among the Native Americans who believed the land was unfairly taken away from them. After they were defeated, Ohio became the battleground for some of the fighting with the British in the War of 1812.
- Before the Civil War began, many slaves had escaped through the Underground Railroad, a network of people, homes, and hiding places in the southern US. It was used by slaves to escape to freedom in the northern US and Canada.
- Ohio was a free state, which means slavery was against the law. It had fought on the side of the Union during the Civil War. Some of the Union’s most senior military leaders, such as Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William Tecumeh Sherman, were from Ohio.
- In 1962, Ohioan astronaut John Glenn became the first person from the United States to orbit the earth. He made his famous orbit three times.
- In 1969, Ohioan Neil Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon.
Stuff you should know
- In 1879, Thomas Edison invented the electric light bulb in Ohio.
- The first automobile to use gasoline in the United States was invented in 1894 in Ohio.
- Ohio is nicknamed, “The Buckeye State”. It’s named after a common tree in Ohio called a buckeye. The tree’s nuts look like a deer’s (or buck’s) eye.
- In 1903, two brothers from Ohio, Orville and Wilbur Wright, completed the first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.
- Judith Resnik of Ohio was the second woman to travel to space. She was an electrical engineer, software engineer, biomedical engineer, pilot and NASA astronaut. She died in the Challengerspace shuttle explosion in 1986.
- The Serpent Mount Meteor Crater in Ohio is one 28 confirmed impact craters in the US. It’s about nine miles in diameter and was created by an asteroid or comet striking Ohio between 256 and 330 million years ago.
Crazy, funny, or just plain weird
- The Field of Corn in Dublin, Ohio is an art installation or project that’s well, a bit strange. It features 109 six-foot tall ears of corn made out of concrete. They stand upright in a grassy field.
- The Allen County Historical Society and Museum in Lima houses a peculiar exhibit of over one hundred objects swallowed (and removed) by patients of two local doctors. The items range from a diaper pin and a lengthy piece of rubber hose to a set of dentures!
Tell me more
- Pawpaw is an edible fruit tree that grows in the state and even has its own festival every year.
- Ohio’s Amish community has a population of 80,000; it’s the second largest in the nation after Pennsylvania.
- The state bug is the ladybug, while the state beverage is tomato juice. Have you ever tried tomato juice?
- It’s home to Cedar Point, the second oldest continuously running amusement park in the US, after Lake Compounce in Connecticut. The park first opened in 1870 and has an abundance of roller coasters.
- The National Football League (NFL) was founded here in 1920.
- The Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869 were the first professional baseball team; they are now known as the Cincinnati Reds.
- The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is a museum located in Cleveland. It showcases some of the most popular and influential musicians, bands and producers. It’s filled with artifacts of famous musicians, like the car of the King of Rock and Roll. Do you know the King of Rock and Roll’s real name?
- In 1998, John Glenn returns to space and becomes the oldest man to travel into space.
- Ohio’s biggest winter storm, The Blizzard of 1978, killed approximately 100 people, hurt another 4,500, and caused $520 million in damage.
Are there any fun facts or stories about Ohio that you’d like to share with us? Email them to us along with your first name, age, and state where you live. We’ll feature them on our social profiles and perhaps even create a trivia question out of one of them!