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The 50 States Blog Promo: Illinois!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

WELCOME TO THE PRAIRIE STATE

WELCOME TO THE PRAIRIE STATE Though of average size as far as land area goes, there is nothing else that’s ordinary about the country’s fifth-most populous state. Just think of all the influential people that have hailed from Illinois, from Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan to Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama. And then there’s the nation’s third-largest city, Chicago, whose cultural institutions include the Wrigley Field stadium, the Art Institute (the secondlargest art museum in the U.S.), and Millennium Park, with its well-loved silver sculpture, “Cloud Gate” (or the “Bean” to locals). Decades before these attractions emerged, visitors journeyed to the Windy City for the 1893 World’s Fair, where they experienced the first Ferris wheel and first movie theater. Legend has it that they might also have tasted an early version of the popcorn treat Cracker Jack! The Prairie State has a wild side, too: in the Wildlife Prairie State Park, bison, bears, and cougars still roam.
A: Welcome Box
CARL SANBURG

CARL SANDBURG 1878–1967 Starting out as a journalist for the Chicago Daily News, Sandburg later received two Pulitzer Prizes for poetry and another for a biography of Lincoln.
B: inspiring people
FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT 1867–1959 One of the greatest American architects, Wright was influenced by the buildings and landscapes around Chicago.
B: inspiring people
JANE ADDAMS

JANE ADDAMS 1860–1935 Born in Cedarville, the “Mother of Social Work” was the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
B: inspiring people
MILES DAVIS

MILES DAVIS 1926–1991 Anyone who knows Davis’s work as a jazz musician and trumpet player considers him the very embodiment of cool.
B: inspiring people
RICHARD J. DALEY

RICHARD J. DALEY 1902–1976 This working-class Irish American was Chicago’s mayor for 21 years.
B: inspiring people
ROBIN WILLIAMS

ROBIN WILLIAMS 1951–2014 Chicago-born Williams was a genius comedian and film actor. The Oscar and Emmy winner was also one of the founders of Comic Relief.
B: inspiring people
3 MILLION YEARS AGO

3 MILLION YEARS AGO: The Illinoian glacier covers much of North America.
C: moments to remember
1836

SEPTEMBER 16, 1836: After buying his own freedom, former slave Free Frank McWorter founds the town of New Philadelphia.
C: moments to remember
1865

FEBRUARY 1, 1865: Illinois becomes the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to abolish slavery.
C: moments to remember
1865

NOVEMBER 28, 1865: The U.S.’s first motor race is held between Chicago and Evanston, in snowy conditions: the winning driver’s average speed was just 7.3 mph!
C: moments to remember
1871

OCTOBER 8, 1871: A barn fire sweeps through Chicago, destroying some 18,000 buildings and leaving 100,000 people homeless.
C: moments to remember
1893

MAY 1, 1893: The World’s Fair opens, featuring many inventions including the first Ferris wheel.
C: moments to remember
1931

DECEMBER 10, 1931: Jane Addams, founder of the social work profession in America, becomes the first U.S. woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.
C: moments to remember
1947

OCTOBER 26, 1947: Hillary Rodham Clinton—future First Lady, senator, presidential nominee, and Secretary of State—is born.
C: moments to remember
1961

MARCH 17, 1961: The Chicago Plumbers Union dye the river green on St. Patrick’s Day . . . and every St. Patrick’s Day since!
C: moments to remember
2001

JUNE 17, 2001: Richard Peck wins the Newbery Medal for his novel A Year Down Yonder.
C: moments to remember
ALBERT SPALDING

ALBERT SPALDING The future baseball maker from Byron started off as a pitcher—earning $40 a week!
FRANK LLYOD...LEGO®

FRANK LLOYD LEGO® Future architects can build LEGO® models at Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous Robie House.
ILLINOIS STATE CAPITOL

ILLINOIS STATE CAPITOL The 12-foot-high doors of the capitol’s House and Senate chambers weigh 300 pounds each!
KASKASKIA DRAGON

KASKASKIA DRAGON For a buck you can see the 25-foot-tall metal dragon in Vandalia breathe fire!
MUSEUM OF SHIP MODELS includes a 27-foot model of the Queen Mary—made using a million toothpicks!
NUCLEAR POWER

NUCLEAR POWER Illinois has the most nuclear power plants of any state.
PIZZA WARS

PIZZA WARS Locals champion the deep dish, though thin crust rules in other states.
PLOW POWER

PLOW POWER John Deere’s equipment innovations improved farming in the 1800s; the company started in Grand Detour.
PUMPKIN PARTY

PUMPKIN PARTY Every fall the city of Sycamore celebrates its Pumpkin Festival.
ROBERT ALLERTON PARK

ROBERT ALLERTON PARK This 1,500-acre park has many unusual features like the Chinese Maze Garden and House of the Golden Buddhas.
ROCKOME GARDENS

ROCKOME GARDENS As well as an Amish museum and a Raggedy Ann museum, this park has rock sculptures and a tic-tac-toe-playing chicken!
STARVED ROCK

STARVED ROCK Come winter, the waterfalls in this state park freeze into spectacular icefalls!
SUPER CITY

SUPER CITY The founder of the Super Museum in Metropolis started his Superman collection when he was 10 years old!
THE CAVE-IN-ROCK

THE CAVE-IN-ROCK was a hideaway for outlaws, perhaps even the notorious Jesse James; it’s now part of a state park.
VISIT THE SUN!

VISIT THE SUN! It is 46 feet in diameter and found at the Riverfront Museum in Peoria.
WRIGLEY FIELD

WRIGLEY FIELD Cubs loyalists cherish the ivy-covered stadium that gum built.

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