(REVISED) Updated 1983 School Report- State Populations, Bizarre State Facts And More!

This blog will be periodically updated when I come across new facts about states. See new additional state fact for Nebraska…

Thirty-five years ago, when I was in the fifth grade, my teacher Mr. Wise tasked us with putting together booklets compiling hand-drawn maps and facts about each U.S. state. Here’s what the cover of my booklet looked like…behold – that was when my cursive handwriting was still legible and not ruined from years of frantic note taking in college and in my past life as a journalist. This is definitely a “pictures or it didn’t happen” kind of thing:


This is the actual cover of my report. The word “of” precedes the word “the,” but is barely visible (stupid white crayon)

What I’m going to do is basically “update” this report I did 35 years ago! First off, I will present each and every one of my hand-drawn maps of U.S. states in alphabetical order (please note they are not to scale and should not be used for navigation purposes). I will also list some facts (and some of my own commentary) about each state using present data, including but not limited to population (based on the most current estimates), largest cities of each state, etc. Capital cities will be noted with an asterisk “*”, but since most of the people who visit this site are advanced placement trivia nerds, you already know every capital of the U.S. already, don’t you? 🙂 Cities with populations of more than 1 million will be noted in red.  I did my best to fact-check the 1983 facts from my report (which was quite time consuming, yet eye-opening) and provide updated information when warranted. It’s been interesting to see how some things have changed in 35 years! Apparently, West Virginia has “lost its marbles” during this time (they no longer have a marble factory).

Without further ado, may I introduce Alabama! No, not the band…

Alabama: 4,779,745 (#23)


Aren’t the mountains just SO cute?

Most Populous Cities:

  • Birmingham, 212,237
  • *Montgomery, 205,764
  • Mobile, 195,111
  • Hunstville, 180,105
  • Tuscaloosa, 90,468


Notable facts from my report: Alabama has a statue of a bug (boll weevil, to be specific, see above photo – it’s located in the city of Enterprise). We actually had a trivia question about this statue a few years ago…Alabama’s population listing from my 1983 report was 3,444,165.

Alaska: 739,795 (#48)



Most Populous Cities:

  • Anchorage, 291,826
  • Fairbanks, 31,535
  • *Juneau, 31,275
  • Badger, 19,402
  • Knik-Fairview, 14,923


The fur seals are all the rage in Alaska! Go to see the Christopher McCandless death bus, stay for the fur seals! Become the Jane Goodall of fur seals! Just don’t become Dian Fossey, or poachers will kill you…

Notable facts from my report: Major tourist attraction fur seals on the Pribilof Islands (see above photo), Alaska is closer to Russia than any other U.S. state, the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia about 100 years ago. Its 1983 population was 302,173.

Arizona: 7,016,270 (14th)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Phoenix, 1,445,632
  2. Tucson, 520,116
  3. Mesa, 439,041
  4. Chandler, 236,123
  5. Glendale, 226,721

Notable facts from my report: The world’s largest canyon is Grand Canyon in Arizona. Oklahoma is the only state with more Indians than Arizona (note my use of the word “Indians” instead of the current politically correct term “Native Americans” – it WAS the early 1980s). Today, Oklahoma still has a higher percentage of Native American citizens than Arizona, but more live in California than in any other U.S. state.

Arkansas: 3,004,279 (33rd)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Little Rock, 193,524
  2. Fort Smith, 86,209
  3. Fayetteville, 73,580
  4. Springdale, 69,797
  5. Jonesboro, 67,263


Notable facts from my report: Museum of automobiles near Morrilton (see above photo) is  a tourist attraction, Arkansas is the only state to pass a resolution on the right way to say its name (by act of the state legislature in 1881, its purpose was to settle an argument…how typical Arkansas), the only diamond mine in North America is in Arkansas. Arkansas’s population listing in my 1983 report was 1,932,295.

California: (39,536,653, #1)


Most populous cities (I am listing top 10 instead of just five for California because this is a very frequent trivia question topic, and also because California is the most populous U.S. state)

  1. Los Angeles, 3,976,653
  2. San Diego, 1,419,516
  3. San Jose, 1,025,350
  4. San Francisco, 870,887
  5. Fresno, 522,053
  6. *Sacramento, 495,234
  7. Long Beach, 470,130
  8. Oakland, 420,005
  9. Bakersfield, 376,380
  10. Anaheim, 351,043

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Death Valley is the lowest place in the U.S. (encompasses mostly California and some parts of Nevada); Pike’s Peak is the most famous Rocky Mountain (this is a Colorado fact and it’s seriously what I put down, which is why I got an A-minus on this report, LOL). We had to do the reports based on geographic regions of the U.S. Now I’m wondering if I put a California fact down for Colorado (guess I’ll find out soon enough…). Its population listed in my 1983 report was 19,153,154.

Colorado: 5,607,154 (#21)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Denver, 704,621
  2. Colorado Springs, 464,474
  3. Aurora, 366,623
  4. Fort Collins, 165,080
  5. Lakewood, 154,958


Can you name any TV shows besides South Park and Mork and Mindy that are set in Colorado? I wore this shirt to a friend’s sleepover and never saw it again! I was SO mad at my friend for not giving my shirt back! Me and my brother at the Detroit Zoo, circa 1979. We are both wearing novelty Ts (Superman is on his).

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Ghost towns in the mountains. Really, that’s all I put down. I said NOTHING about Mork and Mindy being set in Colorado (I really loved that show when I was 7). I didn’t list anything else, other than sheep as an agricultural product and molybdenum and uranium mining (I must have been in a rush to complete these reports and was phoning it in at that point, LOL). The population listed in my 1983 report was 2,207,259. Now go and look up industrial uses for molybdenum! That’s your homework! 🙂

Connecticut: 3,588,184 (#29)


In this photo, you can clearly see that I glued this picture on. That’s because I must have goofed up the original picture! These may not be the best maps in the world, but I was very meticulous and perfectionist in my own 11-year-old way!

Most populous cities:

  1. Bridgeport, 147,629
  2. New Haven, 130,741
  3. Stamford, 129,113
  4. *Hartford, 123,243
  5. Waterbury, 110,366


The Henry Whitfield House in Guilford, CT was built in 1639 and is the oldest stone house in New England.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Whitfield House is a tourist attraction, Connecticut was the first state to have a written constitution, most of Connecticut’s land is not very good for farming. I honestly don’t know why I put that down as a “fact.” Fifth graders! Sigh..what are you gonna do?  The 1983 population I listed was 3,032,217.

Delaware: 961,939 (#45)


Yup, you can clearly see I pasted on this picture of Delaware, too! And apparently Delaware is flipping me off…

Most populous cities:

  1. Wilmington, 71,442
  2. *Dover, 37,786
  3. Newark, 33,398
  4. Middletown, 20,876
  5. Smyrna, 11,371

Notable facts mentioned in my report: New Castle with cobblestone streets a major tourist attraction, Delaware is the first state in the U.S. (by admission to the union), many colonial homes in Delaware are still lived in. The 1983 population I listed was 5,100. Which I do not think was correct…The 1980 Census population was 594,338. I would say this was a “typo,” but this was a hand-written report!

Florida: 21,312,211 (#3)


Most populous cities: Note…Tallahassee, the capital, is not among the top five most populous cities. It is ranked #7.

  1. Jacksonville, 892,062
  2. Miami, 463,347
  3. Tampa, 385,430
  4. Orlando, 280,257
  5. St. Petersburg, 263,255


Notable facts mentioned in my report: Horse farms near Orlando a major tourist attraction (note that I did not mention Walt Disney World, probably because I did not like that place, read more about that in this blog) , Florida has the most lakes in the U.S., the ocean goes all around Florida (real good fact there, younger me LOL). The population I listed in my report was 6,789,443.

Please note that the lakes fact is NOT correct, Minnesota has the most lakes of any state in the United States (I’ll talk about the lakes in MN in a bit). If I had a time machine, I would go back to when I was doing these state reports and tell 11-year-old me to check that fact before putting it in her report! And since 11-year-old me looked like this, she would probably just tell me to shut up…


What do you mean Florida doesn’t have the most lakes of any U.S. state? 🙂 Me at an antique car show at the Sloan Museum in Flint and obviously WAY too cool for my Joe Cool baseball T (not)! I gained more of an appreciation for antique/classic cars as I matured, for the record!

Georgia: 10,429,290 (#8)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Atlanta, 486,290
  2. Augusta, 197,166
  3. Columbus, 194,058
  4. Macon, 152,663
  5. Savannah, 146,444


Juliette Gordon Low birthplace in Savannah, GA. A must-visit for any family with a daughter involved in Girl Scouts! Plus, Savannah is kind of a pretty town.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Juliette Gordon Low home (birthplace) a major tourist attraction (located in Savannah), first state to serve Coca-Cola, largest state east of the Mississippi. Which I do not think is correct (Jesus, I really do need to visit 11-year-old me, LOL). Wait, I just checked, this fact IS correct! Now I must remember this for trivia night! Georgia population for my 1983 report was listed as 4,589,575.

Hawaii: 1,427,538 (#40)


Most populous cities (please note there are no separately incorporated cites in Hawaii)

  1. *Honolulu, 337,256
  2. East Honolulu, 49,914
  3. Pearl City, 47,698
  4. Hilo, 43,263
  5. Kailua, 38,635


Book ’em, Danno! Jack Lord on Hawaii 5-0. One of at least a couple of TV series I can name that were set in Hawaii, the other being Magnum P.I.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Alaska(SIC) Falls on Hawaii (should be Akaka Falls, this is one of only a handful of misspellings in my reports…I was a two-time district spelling bee champion after all), Hawaii is the only state that is not part of North America geographically, The first people in Hawaii were Polynesian. Population I listed for Hawaii was 796,713.

Idaho: 1,716,943 (39th)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Boise, 226,570
  2. Meridian, 94,926
  3. Nampa, 93,590
  4. Pocatello, 55,193
  5. Caldwell, 54,660

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Hell’s Canyon a major tourist attraction (I probably delighted in being able to use the word “Hell” in a school report), Idaho grew 27 billion potatoes in one year more than 120 potatoes for each person in U.S., much of Idaho’s land once looked like a desert. Population listing in my 1983 report was 713,008.

Illinois: 12,802,023 (#6)


Most populous cities (note the capital city Springfield is not among the top five cities, its ranking is #6):

  1. Chicago, 2,716,450
  2. Aurora, 200,965
  3. Joliet, 148,462
  4. Naperville, 147,682
  5. Rockford, 147,051

Notable facts mentioned in my report: (Abraham) Lincoln home and tomb in Springfield a tourist attraction, O’Hare airport in Chicago has a plane landing or taking off every 60 seconds (note Atlanta’s Hartford-Jackson International Airport is the current busiest airport in the U.S.), Chicago is the second-largest city in the U.S. (Los Angeles is the current #2 city, Chicago is current #3). Population listing for Illinois in my 1983 report was 11,113,976.

Indiana: 6,666,818 (17th)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Indianapolis, 963,002
  2. Fort Wayne, 265,904
  3. Evansville, 118,930
  4. South Bend, 102,245
  5. Carmel, 92,198


Bet you never thought of scenes like this when you thought about Indiana! Indiana’s Parke County is home to more than 30 covered bridges! This actually makes me want to visit Indiana – there is a covered bridge in Frankenmuth, MI which is not far from where I grew up. I got to see this bridge being dragged across the Cass River by oxen on a cold, cold winter day (I was on a school field trip). Covered bridges are just…cool!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Covered bridges (more than 30 in Parke County), New Harmony is the first place in U.S. where boys and girls were taught in the same classes, 150 years ago. I double checked this fact, New Harmony’s schools were indeed the first public schools in the United States open to both boys and girls! ANOTHER fact to remember for trivia night! Per my 1983 report, Indiana’s population was listed as 5,193,669.

Iowa: 3,145,711 (30th)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Des Moines, 203,433
  2. Cedar Rapids, 126,326
  3. Davenport, 99,685
  4. Sioux City, 82,684
  5. Waterloo, 68,406

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Major tourist attraction Herbert Hoover birthplace (you know your state is…kinda dull when a presidential birthplace is a notable attraction), biggest popcorn packing plant in the U.S. is in Iowa (American Pop Corn Company in Sioux City, which makes Jolly Time popcorn). The company is still in existence…Another fact I put in my report was “more people can read and write in Iowa than in any other state.” I really have no way to fact check myself on that fact, but this web site shows that 91.4 percent of Iowans were high school graduates, which would put them among the top states. This has to be true. Captain Kirk is from Iowa, after all! The “bottom” state in this list was Texas at 79.9 percent. Iowa’s population in my report was listed as 2,825,041.

Kansas: 2,913,123 (35th)


Most populous cities:

  1. Wichita, 386,552
  2. Overland Park, 181,260
  3. Kansas City, 148,483
  4. Olathe, 131,885
  5. *Topeka, 127,679

Notable facts mentioned in my report: See airplanes being built in Wichita (the former Stearman Aircraft Corporation built Boeing aircraft in Wichita, the company has since been sold to Onex), Kansas grows more wheat than any other U.S. state (Kansas is still the top wheat producing state in the U.S. followed by North Dakota, Washington, Montana and Oklahoma), once millions and millions of buffalo were on the plains. I’m not going to fact check THAT fact! I’m pretty sure no one did a “buffalo census!” Kansas’ population in my 1983 report was 2,249,071.


Kentucky: 4,454,189 (#26)


Most populous cities: (Note – capital city Frankfort does not even make the top ten at 27,885)

  1. Louisville, 621,349
  2. Lexington, 321,349
  3. Bowling Green, 67,067
  4. Owensboro, 59,404
  5. Covington, 40,876


A “moonbow” over Cumberland Falls.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Old Fort Harrod a major tourist attraction near Harrodsburg, world’s largest baseball bat factory (Louisville Slugger) is in Kentucky, and Kentucky is the only place to see a “moonbow.” I can’t confirm whether Kentucky is truly the “only” place to see one of these, but it is a huge thing in Kentucky! There is even a moonbow schedule!

Kentucky’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 3,219,311.


Louisiana: 4,484,333 (#25)


Most populous cities:

  1. New Orleans, 391,495
  2. *Baton Rouge, 227,715
  3. Shreveport, 194,920
  4. Lafayette, 127,626
  5. Lake Charles, 76,848

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Levees and docks a major tourist attraction, Lake Pontchartrain Causeway is the world’s longest bridge. Technically, it’s still the longest continuous bridge over water per the Guinness Book of World records, though seven railway bridges in China are all longer in total length, with the Danyang Kunshan Grand Bridge the world’s longest at 540,700 feet. When in doubt during a trivia game, never forget China when it comes to “superlative” stuff! Or Texas (I’ll get to Texas a bit later). Louisiana’s population as listed in my fifth grade report in 1983 was 3,643,180.

Maine: 1,335,907 (#42)




Most populous cities: (Augusta, Maine’s capital is the ninth most populous city in Maine at 19,136).

  1. Portland, 66,194
  2. Lewiston, 36,592
  3. Bangor, 33,039
  4. Auburn, 25,055
  5. South Portland, 24,002

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Passamaquoddy Bay a major tourist attraction (known for its high tides), People in Maine can see the sun rise before anyone else in the United States, Maine is a famous “vacationland,” people come to hike climb mountains and ski. And shop at L.L. Bean.  Maine’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 999,663.

Maryland: 6,052,177 (#19)


Most populous cities: (Note, the population of Maryland’s capital Annapolis is 38,394)

  1. Baltimore, 620,961
  2. Columbia, 99,615
  3. Germantown, 86,395
  4. Silver Spring, 71,452
  5. Waldorf, 67,752


Annapolis state capitol building, the country’s oldest capitol building still in use.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Maryland State House in Annapolis is the oldest state capitol building still in use, and was built between1772 and 1779, The Star Spangled Banner written at Fort McHenry. Maryland’s population as listed in my 1983 school report was 3,900,400.

Massachusetts: 6,859,819 (#15)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Boston, 673,184
  2. Worcester, 154,508
  3. Springfield, 154,074
  4. Cambridge, 110,651
  5. Lowell, 110,558

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Cape Cod a major tourist attraction, the first university Harvard was founded in 1636 in Cambridge, John Adams, John Quincy Adams and John F. Kennedy all born in Massachusetts. Its population listing in my 1983 report was 5,700,200.

Michigan: 9,962,311 (#10)


Most populous cities: (Lansing, Michigan’s capital, is #6 at 114,605).

  1. Detroit, 706,585
  2. Grand Rapids, 189,815
  3. Warren, 134,243
  4. Sterling Heights, 129,880
  5. Ann Arbor, 114,925


Though I didn’t mention Greenfield Village in my report as a Michigan tourist destination, Greenfield Village in Dearborn along with The Henry Ford and the Rouge Factory tour attract about 1.8 million visitors annually. Here I am at Greenfield Village in October, 2017 posing with a giant pumpkin. No, I’m not “really” flipping anyone off in this photo! Wait…yes I am!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Guided tours of automobile plants a tourist attraction (Rouge Factory Tour), more automobiles and trucks built in Detroit than in any other city in the world (NOTE: China is now the top car producing nation in the world with the U.S. in second behind Japan, Germany, South Korea and India), Michigan has four Great Lakes touching it. Michigan’s population listing in my 1983 report was 8,875,083.

Minnesota: 5,576,600 (#22)


Most populous cities:

  1. Minneapolis, 422,331
  2. *St. Paul, 309,180
  3. Rochester, 115,733
  4. Duluth, 86,066
  5. Bloomington, 85,866


Though I mentioned Fort Snelling (a fort near St. Paul) as a notable tourist attraction in my fifth grade states report, Prince’s Paisley Park estate and studios is also a popular Minnesota tourist attraction. I would much rather see this than yet…another fort! Forts are SO BORING! 🙂

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Fort Snelling a 1820s fort near St. Paul a tourist destination (because you can’t teach your kids history better than making them visit a fort), more butter comes from Minnesota than any other U.S. state (California is now the top dairy producing state in the U.S. according to this chart, and my last fact? Minnesota has 15,000 lakes. Not quite! Thanks to having more technology available to do geologic surveys of land and whatnot, the estimated number of lakes in Minnesota is actually 11,842. But really…who’s counting? And couldn’t there be another lake forming in Minnesota as I type this? Ah, I think one just disappeared!

Minnesota’s population was listed as 3,805,069 in my 1983 report.

Mississippi: 2,984,100 (#34)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Jackson, 173,514
  2. Gulfport, 67,793
  3. Southaven, 48,982
  4. Hattiesburg, 45,984
  5. Biloxi, 44,054


Though the 1988 Matthew Broderick film Biloxi Blues (adapted from a Neil Simon play) was set in Mississippi, it was actually filmed on different locations in Arkansas. Here is a scene involving a prostitute.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: The Sprague, a really, really big-ass decommissioned steam-powered towboat is a tourist destination in Vicksburg. How big is it? It’s SO big it would have been capable of towing the Titanic, had it been able to get out there. JK!!! But it is really, really big…OK…how about a photo?


The 276-foot long Sprague, aka Big Mama.

Missouri: 6,113,532 (#18)


Most populous cities: (Note – Missouri’s capital city Jefferson City has a population estimate of 43,013)

  1. Kansas City, 488,943
  2. St. Louis, 308,626
  3. Springfield, 167,376
  4. Columbia, 121,717
  5. Independence, 117,306


Mark Twain’s boyhood home in Hannibal. Note the fence…

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Fort Osage near Sibley a tourist attraction (Jesus, what was my obsession with forts and why did I think they were tourist attractions?), Mark Twain’s boyhood home has a fence just like Tom Sawyer’s.

Missouri’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 4,677,399.

Montana: 1,050,493 (#44)


Most populous cities: (Note, Montana’s capital Helena’s population is 28,190 and is #6)

  1. Billings, 104,170
  2. Missoula, 66,788
  3. Great Falls, 58,280
  4. Bozeman, 37,280
  5. Butte, 33,525


Notable facts mentioned in my report: Berkeley Pit in Butte a tourist attraction. The Berkeley Pit (see above photo) is a former open pit copper mine which is approximately a mile long and 1,780 feet deep, the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress was Jeannette Rankin from Montana in 1917, almost every town in Montana has a rodeo. And I’m not even going to check that rodeo fact…Montana probably does have a rodeo in every town! Montana’s population listed in my 1983 report was 694,409.

Nebraska: 1,920,076 (#37)


Most populous cities:

  1. Omaha, 466,893
  2. *Lincoln, 284,736
  3. Bellevue, 284,736
  4. Grand Island, 51,390
  5. Kearney, 33,835


Bruce Springsteen’s critically acclaimed 1982  album Nebraska peaked at #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. Its only two singles were Atlantic City and Open All Night, which were both only released in the UK. This photo does little to make people want to visit this state!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: William R. Dowse Sod House near Comstock a tourist attraction, some ruts made by pioneers’ wagon wheels more than 100 years ago are still visible, Nebraska was once called “Great American Desert” by Major Stephen Long, an early explorer of the lands that would become Nebraska and Oklahoma.


Chimney Rock is a 300-foot tall national monument along the Oregon Trai. If you were a pioneer traveler along this trail and didn’t catch dysentery, you were lucky! Look how sharp and pointy! I swear it must be the helmet top of a giant Otto von Bismarck who is buried underneath!

Nebraska’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 1,483,791.

Nevada: 2,998,039 (#33)


Most populous cities: (The population of Carson City, the capital of Nevada was most recently listed as 54,742)

  1. Las Vegas, 613,599
  2. Henderson, 277,440
  3. Reno, 236,995
  4. North Las Vegas, 230,788
  5. Paradise, 230,000

Transformers DVD Capture _121_.jpg

Some of the action scenes from Transformers take place at the Hoover Dam. In the movie, Megatron is housed in the Hoover Dam. I am unsure which Transformer is in this photo…Megatron? Or Starscream? Gah, they all look alike (LOL)!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Hoover Dam is the highest dam in the U.S., Nevada gets less rain than any other U.S. state, many people come to Nevada to gamble. Yeah, I kind of phoned it in with this state report! For the record, Hoover Dam is still the highest dam in the U.S., but it’s quite far down the list when looking at the tallest dams in the world. The tallest dam in the world is (guess where) in China. The Jinping-I dam is 1001 feet high and is located on the Yalong River. Hoover Dam is 726 feet tall and was opened in 1936 and is located on the Colorado River. Nevada’s population listing in my 1983 report was 488,738.

New Hampshire: 1,342,795 (#41)


Most populous cities:

  1. Manchester, 109,565
  2. Nashua, 86,494
  3. Derry, 33,109
  4. *Dover, 29,987
  5. Rochester, 29,752


New Hampshire is famous for its extra-bright fall colors, which is a big draw for tourists, and probably a big annoyance for the locals…Pro tip – color-safe bleach is key to making sure your leaves stay the brightest (JK)!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Franklin Pierce childhood home in Hillsboro, New Hampshire was the first state to set up its own government independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1776, many people visit in the fall to see the bright leaves.

New Jersey: 9, 032,872 (#11)


Most populous cities: (New Jersey’s capital Trenton’s most recent population listing was 84,056)

  1. Newark, 285,154
  2. Jersey City, 270,753
  3. Paterson, 148,678
  4. Elizabeth, 130,215
  5. Edison, 102,450


You want history? Fuhgettaboutit! Batsto has 33 historic buildings with lots of old stuff you’re probably not allowed to touch!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Batsto Historic Village is a tourist attraction, the first pro baseball game was played in Hoboken (in 1846), and several decisive battles of the American Revolutionary War were fought in New Jersey. New Jersey’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 7,168,164.

New Mexico: 2,088,070 (#36)


Most populous cities:

  1. Albuquerque, 559,070
  2. Las Cruces, 101,759
  3. Rio Rancho, 96,028
  4. *Santa Fe, 83,875
  5. Roswell, 48,184


Built in 1610, the Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the U.S., and is located in Santa Fe’s historic district.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Palace of the Governors a notable tourist attraction (I also listed it as a “fabulous fact”), the world’s first atomic bomb was set off in New Mexico in 1945. New Mexico’s population listing in my report was 1,016,000.

New York: 19,849,399 (#4)


Interesting that Albany is the only city I included on this map, not  a bigger city, like say…I don’t know…NEW YORK CITY!

Most populous cities:

  1. New York City, 8,550,405
  2. Buffalo, 261,025
  3. Yonkers, 197,399
  4. Syracuse, 145,151
  5. *Albany, 97,660

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Niagara Falls a major tourist attraction, New York has the busiest port in the U.S. (since overtaken by Los Angeles), New York City is the biggest city in the U.S. population listing for New York in my 1983 report was 18,241,266.

North Carolina: 10,273,419 (#9)


Most populous cities:

  1. Charlotte, 842,051
  2. *Raleigh, 458,880
  3. Greensboro, 287,027
  4. Durham, 263,016
  5. Winston-Salem, 244,605


Me in 2011 after scaling Moore’s Knob (2,572 elevation) at North Carolina’s Hanging Rock State Park. I know visors aren’t the most attractive things in the world, but I liked how they kept my hair out of my face, kept the sun out of my eyes and didn’t mess up my hair too much. Ditto for cargo shorts, they are practical while camping/hiking because THEY HAVE SO MANY POCKETS! Check out how fashionable I am (not)! Dressing for a sweaty hike is much, much more different than dressing for the red carpet! 🙂

Notable facts listed in my report: Old Salem colonial village a tourist attraction, the first successful air flight was at Kitty Hawk. Population for North Carolina in my report was listed at 5,082,059.

North Dakota: 755,393 (#47)


Most populous cities:

  1. Fargo, 120,762
  2. *Bismarck, 72,417
  3. Grand Forks, 57,339
  4. Minot, 48,743
  5. West Fargo, 34,838

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Bonanzaville pioneer village a tourist attraction, underground coal fires have been burning so long that no one knows when they started, North Dakota has some really good farm land. Come on now! If all of THIS doesn’t entice you to visit North Dakota…like right now – I don’t know what will! Oh I know…a photo of a bismarck! Fun fact, bismarcks were named for a guy I’ll talk about more in a bit…


I’ll take white icing and blueberry or raspberry filling, thank you!


North Dakota’s capital, Bismarck (and the delicious doughnut you’re probably still drooling over), was named for Otto von Bismarck, the first Chancellor of the German Empire. It was an attempt to attract German settlers to the area and get them to invest in the railroad. Maybe if they threw in some bismarck doughnuts that would have REALLY sweetened the deal! God Otto von Bismarck was SO quotable, if he were on Twitter (man oh man)! Here’s a gem: “The great questions of the day will not be settled by means of speeches and majority decisions but by iron and blood.” I only learned recently that some lyrics from Evita (the song The Art of the Possible, to be specific) were actually lifted from some of von Bismarck’s quotes! Way to be original, Tim Rice! Plagiarist (LOL)!

Ohio – 11,658,659


Most populous cities:

  1. *Columbus, 879,609
  2. Cleveland, 385,525
  3. Cincinnati, 301,301
  4. Toledo, 276,491
  5. Akron, 197,846

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Pro Football Hall of Fame a tourist attraction in Canton, and hot dogs, ice cream cones and Cracker Jacks were all thought up in Ohio (cannot verify any of these facts as true I honestly don’t know if the info from my states book was incorrect…or what), also eight presidents came from Ohio. That fact is also incorrect…that number should be seven. U.S. presidents who were born in Ohio include Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding. What’s true is the Pro Football Hall of Fame IS in Canton, OH! I went there when I was a kid. Kind of dull IMHO! Ohio’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 10,652,017.

Oklahoma: 3,930,864 (#28)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Oklahoma City, 638,367
  2. Tulsa, 413,090
  3. Norman, 122,180
  4. Broken Arrow, 107,403
  5. Lawton, 94,653


Think you’re pretty good at spitting watermelon seeds? Best get lots of practice first before heading out to this festival! A watermelon seed spitting contest is part of the festivities.

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Tsa-la-gi (ancient Cherokee village) a tourist attraction, more Indians live in Oklahoma than in any other state. That may have been true in 1983, but that distinction goes to California now. Current stats for Native Americans in Oklahoma are 321,687 and 362,801 for California, according to this web site. Another fact I mentioned was a watermelon seed spitting contest. Indeed, Rush Springs, OK has played host for an annual watermelon festival since 1948. Oklahoma’s population as listed in my 1983 report was 2,559,253.

Oregon: 4,142,776 (#27)


Most populous cities:

  1. Portland, 639,449
  2. *Salem, 167,419
  3. Eugene, 166,419
  4. Gresham, 111,523
  5. Hillsboro, 105,161


Chances are, if you’ve played pub trivia, you’ve come across a question about this lake, which is Crater Lake. Located in Oregon, it is the deepest lake in the U.S.


Notable facts mentioned in my report: Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the U.S. – it is 1,932 feet deep and at the top is a dead volcano, more than 10 million people come to Oregon each year. Lake depths are always estimates and will vary, but currently the estimated depth of Crater Lake is 1,949 feet for the maximum depth. Oregon’s population listing in my 1983 report was 1,091,385.

Pennsylvania: 12,823,989 (#5)


Most populous cities: (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania’s capital, is ranked #10 at 48,904)

  1. Philadelphia, 1,567,872
  2. Pittsburgh, 303,625
  3. Allentown, 120,443
  4. Erie, 98,593
  5. Reading, 87,875

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Antique toy museum in Philadelphia a tourist attraction, world’s largest chocolate cocoa factory in Hershey PA and Independence Hall in Philadelphia could be called “The Birthplace of the U.S.” Now to vet these “facts…” Sadly, the Perelman Toy Museum in Philadelphia has closed, the chocolate factory still exists, and yes, lots of historic things happened in Philadelphia, so it very well could be called “The Birthplace of the U.S.” Pennsylvania’s population as listed in my report was 11,793,909.

If you’re totally bummed that the toy museum in Philly has closed, you can still visit the Mutter Museum. Though you might not want to bring the kids, since this museum features a collection of anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models and antique medical equipment. Unless your kid is strange and is into this kind of weird, macabre stuff.  I kind of want go go! Yes, let’s DO! I want to see the two-headed specimens – and skeletons! Sorry…I’m getting a bit overstimulated, aren’t I? Seriously…TAKE ME TO THE MUTTER MUSEUM – like RIGHT NOW! 🙂

Rhode Island: 1,059,639 (#43)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Providence, 178,042
  2. Warwick, 82,622
  3. Cranston, 80,387
  4. Pawtucket, 71,148
  5. East Providence, 47,084

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Green Animals Topiary Gardens (located in Portsmouth, featuring multiple shrubs shaped like animals) a tourist attraction, Rhode Island is the smallest state in the U.S. but has more people per square mile than any other state (Rhode Island is currently ranked #2, New Jersey is the current most densely populated state), and my last fact (ahem) – the smallest state has the longest name – “State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations.” And Rhode Island INSISTS that you address it by its full name! JK, JK…you can call it by its nickname, “Little Rhody.” 🙂 Rhode Island’s population as listed in my report was 949,723.

South Carolina: 5,024,369 (#23)

South Carolina

Most populous cities:

  1. Charleston, 134,385
  2. *Columbia, 134,309
  3. North Charleston, 108,304
  4. Mount Pleasant, 81,317
  5. Rock Hill, 72,937

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Magnolia Plantation and Gardens near Charleston a tourist attraction, more American Revolutionary War battles were fought in South Carolina than in any other U.S. state (more than 200). South Carolina’s population as listed in my report was 2,590,516.

South Dakota: 869,666 (#46)

South Dakota

Most populous cities: (South Dakota’s capital, Pierre, is #8 with 14,004)

  1. Sioux Falls, 176,888
  2. Rapid City, 74,421
  3. Aberdeen, 28,388
  4. Brookings, 23,938
  5. Watertown, 22,222


Tourists can take a 20-mile ride on this authentic steam train. Trains are cool! This just might get me to visit South Dakota! I can visit the Ingalls homestead in DeSmet while I’m out there! Yeah, South Dakota vacation not happening any time soon (sorry South Dakota)!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: The Black Hills, a 1880 steam train a tourist attraction, largest working gold mine in the United States is in South Dakota (and its presence still pisses off the Sioux and the Lakota tribes), South Dakota is an important farm state. I’m really not sure what I meant by that last fact. Sounds more like an opinion than fact. Am I going to have to have a little chat with 11-year-old me? Maybe I couldn’t think of anything more fascinating to say about this state? South Dakota’s population listing in my report was 666,257.

Tennessee: 6,715,984 (#16)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Nashville, 667,560
  2. Memphis, 652,236
  3. Knoxville, 186,239
  4. Chattanooga, 177,571
  5. Clarksville, 150,287


Mount Cammerer in Great Smoky Mountains National Park (elevation 4,928 feet), as viewed from the Cosby campground. This is actually my own photo (IKR).

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Grand Ole Opry a tourist destination in Nashville, Tennessee River runs through the state twice (which it does). I listed no other facts about Tennessee, which is odd  because Tennessee was a state that I’d actually visited! And to this day I’ve still never visited the Grand Ole Opry. So I’ll just go out and say it…GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK! It’s the most visited National Park in the United States. Tennessee’s population listing in my report was 3,924,162.

Texas: 28,304,596 (#2)


Most populous cities (I am listing top 10 for Texas because it is the second most populous U.S. state)

  1. Houston, 2,195,914
  2. San Antonio, 1,409,019
  3. Dallas, 1,409,019
  4. *Austin, 885,400
  5. Fort Worth, 792,727
  6. El Paso, 674,433
  7. Arlington, 379,577
  8. Corpus Christi, 316,381
  9. Plano, 274,409
  10. Laredo, 248,142

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Ysleta settlement (part of El Paso) a tourist attraction, more land is farmed in Texas than in any other state (not sure how to vet THAT fact), two presidents were born in Texas (Dwight Eisenhower and Lyndon Johnson).  Population for Texas in my report was 11,196,730.

Utah: 3,101,833 (#31)


Most populous cities:

  1. Salt Lake City, 186,440
  2. West Valley City, 129,480
  3. Provo, 112,488
  4. West Jordan, 103,712
  5. Orem, 88,328

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Bingham Mine (known better to locals as the Kennecott Copper Mine) is the largest copper mine in North America (it is considered the largest man-made excavated mine in the world).  Other facts – the water in Great Salt Lake is more than four times saltier than any ocean, and my last fact (wait for it this one is very riveting)…”Utah is a very big state.” Phoning it in, huh? It’s ranked #13 in terms of area, so there are 12 states bigger than Utah. Population listed in my report was 1,059,273.

Vermont: 623,657 (#49)


Most populous cities:

  1. Burlington, 42,417
  2. South Burlington, 17,904
  3. Rutland, 16,495
  4. Barre, 9,052
  5. *Montpelier, 7,855

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Calvin Coolidge boyhood home a tourist attraction, Vermont was the first state in which all men could vote, Vermont’s constitution was written in Old Constitution House at Windsor Tavern in 1777. This constitution provided for universal adult male suffrage. Women’s suffrage would not be enacted until 1880, but it was only a limited capacity (local elections only at first). Another president “supposedly” born in Vermont was Chester A. Arthur. Though some still say he was actually born in Canada  (mainly my stubborn friend Brad). Seriously, birthers just do not quit, do they? Vermont’s population listing in my report was 444,732.

Virginia: 8,470,020 (#12)


Most populous cities:

  1. Virginia Beach, 452,602
  2. Norfolk, 245,115
  3. Chesapeake, 237,940
  4. Arlington, 230,050
  5. *Richmond, 223,170



Me in Virginia Beach (Virginia’s most populous city) in October, 2017. I am slightly greasy from the sunblock…riding around in Sam’s Mustang convertible on a sunny day in the Hampton Roads area? Yeah, you DEFINITELY need sunblock for that! There is a pretty nice aquarium in Virginia Beach! The octopus was hiding (of course).

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Yorktown where English surrendered to George Washington a tourist attraction, more presidents were born in Virginia than in any other U.S. state (George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson), and my last fact Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death” in Virginia. OK, Patrick, I don’t usually do requests, but OK…Virginia’s population listing was 4,648,494 in my report.

Washington: 7,405,743 (#13)


Most populous cities: (Olympia the capital’s population is 46,478)

  1. Seattle, 724,745
  2. Spokane, 217,108
  3. Tacoma, 213,418
  4. Vancouver, 175,673
  5. Bellevue, 144,444

Notable facts mentioned in my report: “Floating bridges” along Highway 90 between Seattle and Mercer Island,  Washington is the only U.S. state named for a president, and Washington has many dams (over 1,000, including Grand Coulee, which is on the Columbia River). Population listing in my report was 3,409,169.

West Virginia: 1,815,857 (#38)


Most populous cities:

  1. *Charleston, 51,371
  2. Huntington, 49,138
  3. Parkersburg, 31,492
  4. Morgantown, 29,660
  5. Wheeling, 28,486

Notable facts from my report: Ride a logging train on Cass Scenic Railroad (tourist attraction), more than half of the world’s marbles made in Clarksburg (read more about that here, many people come to see the beautiful mountains. Yes, that was my last “fact” for West Virginia (hey, I was in fifth grade). Population listing was 1,744,237 in my report.

Wisconsin: 5,795,483 (#20)


Most populous cities:

  1. Milwaukee, 594,833
  2. *Madison, 233,209
  3. Green Bay, 104,057
  4. Kenosha, 99,218
  5. Racine, 78,860

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Cave of the Mounds national landmark in SW Wisconsin a tourist attraction, the first kindergarten class in the U.S. was in Wisconsin, and the first state wide bike trail was set up in Wisconsin. Population listing in my report was 4,441,933.

Wyoming: 579,315 (#50)


Most populous cities:

  1. Cheyenne, 60,096 (name is misspelled on my hand-drawn map)
  2. Casper, 55,988
  3. Laramie, 31,312
  4. Gilette, 29,389
  5. Rock Springs, 23,229


Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind attempts to sculpt the Devil’s Tower out of mashed potatoes. I don’t know about y’all, but I LOVE a man who plays with his food (JK)!

Notable facts mentioned in my report: Devil’s Tower near Sundance a tourist attraction, American women voted first in Wyoming and my last fact…(wait for it…you’re going to LOVE this…) “Wyoming is a state that is practically rectangle.” Was I observant – or what?

Well this wraps up this “megablog!” I hope you trivia nerds find it useful! I know my brain is practically full of state facts now…(whew). Stay tuned, there will be many edits to this!






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