52 Interesting Facts About Ohio

Last updated on May 30th, 2020

Ohio is the 7th most populous and the 34th most extensive of the 50 states of the United States. It is a Midwestern state in the Great Lakes region of the United States. The state attained statehood on March 1, 1803, becoming the 17th state to join the union. Its five bordering states are Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky. Ohio (nicknamed: the Buckeye State) has 88 counties. The state’s capital is Columbus. The abbreviation for Ohio is OH. Ohio also has the status of a swing state because it can be either won by a Democratic or Republican presidential candidate. With these facts about Ohio, let us learn about its history, geography, people, economy and more.

Interesting facts about Ohio

1. The name of the state originated from the name of the river “Ohio”. The word “Ohio” in Seneca language means “the Great River.”[1]

2. Around 1670, French explorer Robert de La Salle was the first non-native person to reach the area. Interestingly, most people from Ohio fought for the Union during the Civil War and those that did not support the Union were called Copperheads (also called Peace Democrats). Copperheads were thought of as poisonous snakes lying in wait to attack in favor of the south.

Ohio on the map

3. The Ohio River empties its water into the Mississippi River. Without the Ohio River, therefore, the great Mississippi River would not be what it is today. It is important to note that the Ohio River is formed in western Pennsylvania when Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers meet.[32]

4. The Ohio River is 1,579 km long. This is approximately 981 miles. It starts in Pittsburgh, PA, when Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge. It flows in a south westerly direction to its mouth in the Mississippi in Cairo, IL.[32]

5. The average depth of the Ohio River is 24 feet. The deepest point, however, is 134 feet. That is in Louisville, KY.[33]

The Flag of Ohio

Flag of Ohio. Ohio fact file

6. Ohio’s flag is the only non-rectangular U.S. state flag. Read 5 facts about the flag of Ohio.

7. Chris Antes is a guy from Ohio, who has this remarkable and unique ability to sculpt with his mouth. Also known as the “Gum Man”, Chris can mold chewing gums into different shapes including those resembling humans, articles, vegetables, fruits, animals, human body parts and more. And he does this quickly in less than a minute’s time. He claims that he is the only person in the United States to do so.

Chris Antes Gum Art
Photo credit – Chris Antes

8. Did you know that between 1913 and 1915, at least 7 children were shipped in mail in the United States? And the first instance of this weird act was recorded when, the Beagles, a couple from Ohio, after paying for postage stamps and insurance money, handed over their 8 month infant son to the mailman, to be delivered at his grandmother’s place which was just a mile away. The news broke and other parents also started making use of the cheap service; a six year old girl was even sent from her home in Florida to her father’s house in Virginia. And that’s a lot of mileage to cover!   

9. On August 05, 1914, the world’s first electric signal was put in the street in Cleveland, Ohio.[9]

10. In Dayton, Ohio, the Wright Brothers built their first controlled machine that would allow them to fly in the air and come back safely to the ground when need be. They built the world’s first practical airplane, the Wright Flyer, in 1905.[10]

11. Did you know that the Wright Brothers before taking flight dealt in bicycles? They repaired, rented, built and sold bikes in Dayton, Ohio. They eventually used the profits from their bicycle business to fuel their aviation experiments.[28]

12. Thomas Edison, the legendary inventor, and businessman was born in Milan, Ohio.

13. Michael Reid, Sigridur YR Unnarsdottir, and Chris Fabre broke the world record for the longest journey on a pocket bike in a journey that started in Ohio, USA and ended in New Mexico, USA. The 2,504.77 km journey started on September 5th and ended on September 17th 2016.

Environmental disaster. Post apocalyptic survivor in gas mask.
Illustrative image of a person wearing a protective gas mask.

14. Garrett Morgan, a resident of Cleveland, Ohio, invented the gas mask and traffic light. He patented the Morgan safety hood in 1914. In 1916, he made headlines when his gas mask was used to rescue 32 men trapped during an explosion in an underground tunnel 250 feet beneath Lake Erie. He was the first African-American to own a car in Cleveland. In 1923, he patented an electric automatic traffic signal. He eventually sold the rights to his invention (traffic signal) to General Electric for $40,000.[29,30]

15. Columbus became the capital of Ohio in 1816. Before this, the state’s capital was Chillicothe (the first capital), and then it was moved to Zanesville in 1810 and then one more time back to Chillicothe in 1812.[19]

Woodrow Wilson Profile
Woodrow Wilson’s Profile. Image credit – Princeton.edu

16. Did you know that twenty-one thousand soldiers at Camp Sherman, Ohio, were meticulously ordered to form the profile of the sitting president, Woodrow Wilson?

17. Seven U.S. Presidents were born in Ohio. They are Ulysses Grant, Rutherford Hayes, James Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Taft, and Warren Harding. The state is also nicknamed as the “Mother of Modern Presidents”. Benjamin Harrison was the only President whose grandfather (William Henry Harrison) was also a President. List of the U.S. Presidents since George Washington to Donald Trump.[4]

The Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80)
The Ohio Turnpike (Interstate 80) crosses the Cuyahoga Valley south of Cleveland.

18. Ohio has the country’s 10th largest highway network, and because of its geographical location, it serves for the economic growth of the region. In the 1800s, the state was also known as the “Gateway State” because it connected the Eastern and the Western part of the United States. The connection facilitated the movement of goods and other resources.[1,3]

19. The nickname “Buckeye State” comes from the buckeye tree, which grew abundantly on the state’s plains and hills. The tree’s seeds resemble a buck’s eye and hence the name of the tree.[3]

Ohio on the U.S. map
Ohio (in red) on the map with its bordering states.

20. Goodyear (The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company) which is among the top four tire manufacturing companies in the world was founded in 1899 in Akron, Ohio. Akron was also nicknamed as the “Rubber Capital of the World.”[5,6]

21. Majority of the population of Ohio is of white European ancestry.[8]

22. Ohio is among the top three manufacturing employment providers in the United States. It is known for the manufacture of tires, jet engines, machine tools, auto assembly, office machines, refrigeration, and heating equipment among many others. Tourism is also a major industry in the state.[8]

23. According to Isure.com, Ohio State has the second cheapest cost of car insurance per year ($919) in the United States followed by Maine ($868). Michigan has the highest cost of all at 2,394 per year. The national average for car insurance is $1,318 per year.[11]

24. After Pennsylvania, Ohio has the second largest concentration of Amish living in the United State. After Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Holmes County is the second largest Amish community in the world. About 70 miles south of Cleveland is relatively rural Holmes County. Known affectionately as Amish Country, the area has a population of around 35,000 Amish people. It has become a regional tourist destination for shopping, food and more.[22,36]

The State Quarter

Ohio state quarter.

25. With 31.5% of the adult population of Ohio suffering from Obesity in 2016, Ohio was ranked at the 19th spot by Adult Obesity Rate by State, 2016.[12]

26. Based in Cincinnati, Ohio also has the world’s oldest builder of ambulances, the Hess and Eisenhardt Company. Also, the first known hospital-based ambulance service was based out of Commercial Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, by 1865.[13,14]

27. Vinto is Ohio’s smallest county by population.[20]

28. Born in Ohio, William Henry Harrison, the 9th President of the United States, delivered the longest inaugural speech in the U.S. presidential history. Unfortunately, he died one month after the speech, thus, holding the office for the shortest tenure of any U.S. presidents. He was the first president to die in the office.[15]

The Seal of Ohio

Seal of Ohio

29. DeHart Hubbard from Cincinnati is the first African American athlete to win a gold medal in an individual event in the Olympics. In 1924, in Paris, he won the medal for the long jump.[16]

30. The Shape of the state resembles that of a heart. The slogan “The Heart of It All was widely used to promote professional, educational and recreational opportunities in the state.[17,21]

31. About half of the United States population is within 500 miles. One of Ohio’s state slogans is “The Heart of it All,” so it makes sense for Columbus to be a drivable distance to and from major cities like New York, Washington, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and Detroit. All those cities and many more in between can be reached in a day trip (eight hours or less) by car. A robust highway system makes it very easy to get around and see many different parts of the country.[31]

32. The highest point in Ohio is Campbell Hill near Bellefontaine (it rises 1,549 feet above sea level) and the lowest point in the state is at the Ohio River near Cincinnati, 455 feet above sea level.[17]

33. Because of the movement of glaciers in the state thousands of years ago, the state is blessed with some of the most fertile agricultural land in the U.S.[17] Learn how do glaciers affect land?

34. Ohio has nearly 75000 farms and more than 14 million acres. Farming being Ohio’s number one industry contributes more than $100 billion to the state’s economy.[37]

35. The fire in a coal mine set by its workers in 1884 near New Straitsville, southeast of Columbus, is still burning. The workers had a dispute with the mining company regarding their wages. The workers used coal and timber to set fire in the cars and then pushed the cars into the mine. It is estimated that more than two hundred square miles of coal has burned. In 2003, smoke began to emerge from the soil of the Wayne National Forest, 119 years after the fire began.[23]

Young twins walking in the Double Take Parade, part of the 40th annual Twins Day
Young twins walking in the Double Take Parade, part of the 40th annual Twins Day festival, the largest gathering of twins in the world.

36. The world’s largest annual gathering of twins is organized in Twinsburg, Ohio. Find more details here.

37. Here is a interesting fact about the twins, Jim Lewis and Jim Springer, who got separated after three weeks of their birth, lived apart for 39 years; and when they met, they were surprised to learn that they led almost similar lives while living just 45 miles apart. Lewis and Springer were born Aug. 19, 1939, at Piqua Memorial Hospital to an unwed 15-year-old immigrant, who immediately put them up for adoption. During their childhood they both enjoyed math and carpentry in school; in adulthood they married a woman named Linda, got divorced, and then got re-married to a woman named Betty, and they each had a son named Alan who worked as a security guard and was an avid chain smoker. Jim Lewis lived in Lima, Ohio and Jim Springer in Piqua, Ohio. The University of Minnesota researchers invited the duo to collect data for their ongoing study.

Jim Springer and Lewi Springer Ohio
Jim Springer and Jim Lewis Ohio. Image credit – LimaOhio.com

38. The Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team.[24]

39. According to NASA, 25 astronauts are Ohio natives, having made nearly 80 space flights, with three of those flights being trips to the Moon. These astronauts include; Neil Armstrong – the first man to set foot on the moon and John Glenn –  the first American to orbit the Earth in 1962.[25]

40. Did you know that in 1995, some woodpeckers punched some 200 holes in the foam insulation of the Discovery’s fuel tank? Hence, the launch was delayed. Bird specialists say that these birds usually hammer into tree limbs or tin roofs to attract female attention. Four of the shuttle’s crewmembers – Nancy Currie, Tom Henricks, Don Thomas, and Mary Ellen Weber – were from Ohio.[34,35]

41. Avon, Ohio is the “Duct Tape Capital” of the world and to honor the heritage and history of the city, a duct tape festival is held every year in the city. The city is home of Duck® brand duct tape. The festival showcases duct tapes in all form including sculptures, art, fashion etc.

. . . by clicking on the next page button below, you may please continue reading on the next page.