Illinois Facts – 46 Interesting Facts about Illinois

Last updated on May 2nd, 2019

34. Illinois generates 12% of the nation’s nuclear power.[25]

35. The “Chicago Fire” also called the “Great Chicago Fire” started in Patrick and Catherine O’Leary’s barn on October 8, 1871, and killed between 200 and 300 people. The fire left 100,000 and more homeless and burnt some 17,000 buildings in the region. The damages from the fire were estimated at $200 million. The fire lasted until October 10. The abundance of wooden buildings and dry weather of the region made the city vulnerable to fire.[26]

36. Abraham Lincoln worked as a postmaster in New Salem, Illinois. He was appointed On May 7, 1833, and was the only U.S. President who had served as a postmaster.[27]

37. Morton, Illinois is dubbed as “the Pumpkin capital of the world”.[28]

Illinois on the map

38. The Lincoln Park Zoo (founded in 1886) is one of the free zoos in the U.S. and among the nation’s oldest public zoos.[29]

39. The term “Jazz” was coined in Chicago in 1914 by Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa.[30]

40. The Nabisco Factory in Chicago is the world’s largest bakery, an 18,000,000 square feet production facility.[31]

41. The Chicago River is dyed green on St. Patrick’s Day.[32]

42. Illinois had two different state capitals before Springfield – Kaskaskia (1809 to 1819) and Vandalia (1819 to 1839).[33,34]

43. Peoria is the oldest European settlement in Illinois.[35]

44. The flow of the Chicago River was reversed to empty into the Mississippi instead of the Michigan. The flow of the river was reversed to prevent epidemics of water-borne diseases, especially cholera. It took eight years and 8,500 workers to put the system in place. In 1999, the system was named a “Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium” by the American Society of Civil Engineers.[36,37]

45. The first controlled atomic chain reaction took place on a squash court at the University of Chicago in 1942 under the direction of physicist Enrico Fermi.[38]

46. On Feb. 1, 1865, Illinois became the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment of the Constitution, which officially ended slavery and involuntary servitude.[39]

Illinois state – Quick facts and state symbols
State AbbreviationIL
NoteClick on the previous/next link below to see more table entries.
State CapitalSpringfield
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 57,914 sq miles; Land Only: 55,584 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
Population per sq. mi., 2017230.6
StatehoodDecember 3, 1818
State Rank by population6th
State rank by date of formation21st
State rank by area25th
Number of Counties102
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
Bordering StatesIndiana, Iowa, Michigan (water boundary), Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin
Official LanguageEnglish
Highest PointCharles Mound
1,235 ft (376.4 m)
Lowest pointConfluence of Mississippi River and Ohio River
280 ft (85 m)
Mean elevation600 feet above sea level
Length 400 miles (630 km)
Width215 miles (346 km)
GovernorJ. B. Pritzker (D)
Lieutenant GovernorJuliana Stratton (D)
Electoral Votes20
State MottoState sovereignty, national union
State NicknamePrairie State
% Water3.99
Nobel Prize WinnersLars Peter Hansen (Economic Sciences, 2013)
U.S. President Born in Illinois1. Ronald Wilson Reagan.
State Slogan
Land of Lincoln
State DanceSquare Dance
State FlagFlag of Illinois

Flag of Illinois.svg

State sealSeal of Illinois

Seal of Illinois.svg

State coat of arms

Illinois state coat of arms (illustrated, 1876).jpg

State quarter

2003 IL Proof.png

FossilTully monster

Tully monster
State AnimalWhite-tailed deer

White-tailed deer.jpg

State AmphibianEastern tiger salamander

Tiger salamander.jpg

State MineralFluorite

Fluorite with Iron Pyrite.jpg

State InsectMonarch butterfly

Monarch In May.jpg

State Prarie GrassBig bluestem

Andropogon gerardii.jpg

State FishBluegill

Lepomis macrochirus UMFS 2014 2.JPG

State FlowerViolet

Viola sororia.jpg

State BirdCardinal


State ReptilePainted turtle

Terrapene sierschildpad Chrysemys picta.jpg

State SoilDrummer Soil

Corn Planted by Western Scrub Jays
State ArtifactPirogue

Dugout canoe
State TreeWhite oak

Quercus alba
State FruitGold Rush Apple


Longitude87° 30′ W to 91° 100′ W
Latitude36° 58′ N to 42° 30′ N
Time ZoneCentral Time Zone
Area Codes217, 224, 309, 312, 331, 447, 464, 618, 630, 708, 730, 773, 779, 815, 847, 872
Data,, State Symbols USA
Table Last UpateMay 14, 2019