98 Interesting Facts About Ohio

Last updated on August 10th, 2023

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. Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, and Kentucky are its five bordering states. 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, etc.

Interesting facts about Ohio

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

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 considered poisonous snakes lying in wait to attack in favor of the South.

Ohio on the map

3. 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.

4. Ohio is the only U.S. state that doesn’t share any letters with the word “mackerel.”

The Flag of Ohio

Flag of Ohio. Ohio fact file

5. Ohio’s flag is the only non-rectangular U.S. state flag. 

6. Vinto is Ohio’s smallest county by population.

7. The majority of the population of Ohio is of white European ancestry.

8. After Pennsylvania, Ohio has the second largest concentration of Amish living in the United States. 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.

tomatoes with tomato juice
Facts about Ohio. Photo © Atustudio Atustudio

9. Tomato juice is the official beverage of the state of Ohio.

10. 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.

11. 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 southwesterly to its mouth in the Mississippi in Cairo, IL.

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

13. Xenia, Ohio, is known for its unusually high number of tornadoes and is often called the “Tornado Capital of the World.”

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

14. 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?

15. 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 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 from George Washington to Joe Biden.

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

Symmetrical circle of 52 playing cards. facts about Ohio
Photo © Keith Barlow

17. On March 14th, 2015, Rick Smith Jr broke the world record for making the highest throw of a playing card. He threw the card 21.41 meters (70 ft 3 in) into the air at Great Lakes Science Centre in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

18. Curtis Buddie broke the world record on January 17th, 2018, for removing the longest milk tooth on that day in Columbus, Ohio. The boy was 10 years old when the 2.4 cm (0.94 in) tooth was removed.

19. Eric Walter broke the world record for the fastest joggle (Joggling = Jogging plus Juggling) with three objects by male. He joggled for a distance of 400 m and in a time of 55.81 seconds. He broke this record at the Bowling Green State University track in Bowling Green, Ohio, USA.

20. The world record for the fastest time a grave was dug is held by Jose Luis Rivera. Jose dug the grave in 2 hours on October 20th, 2018, in Cleveland, Ohio. According to Jose, he has been digging water mains and sewers for 29 years, and when the challenge presented itself, he couldn’t resist it.

21. Jacklyn, the oldest woman to give birth to her grandchildren, broke this record because she volunteered to be her daughter’s surrogate mother. She did this at the age of 56 years and carried and delivered her grandchildren, who were born triplets, on October 11, 2008, at Hillcrest Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Chris Antes Gum Art
Photo credit – Chris Antes

22. Chris Antes is a guy from Ohio with 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. He claims he is the only person in the United States to do so.

23. 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

24. Did you know that between 1913 and 1915, at least 7 children were shipped in the 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 using 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!   

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

Open cash register. facts about Ohio
An illustrative image of a cash register.

26. The state is the birthplace of the cash register. James Jacob Ritty invented it. The design was patented on November 4th, 1879. The cash register was named a “mechanical money drawer” by its inventor.

27. The city of Troy, Ohio, is known as the “Home of the Hayner” because it was the birthplace of Roy W. Hayner, who patented the first automatic bottle cap.

28. The first full-time automobile service station in the United States was opened in 1899 in Ohio. The Winton Motor Carriage Company Service Station was named after Alexander Winton, a Scottish-born American inventor and automobile manufacturer.

29. 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.

30. 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 out of Commercial Hospital, Cincinnati, Ohio, by 1865.

31. Dayton, Ohio, has a rich aviation history and is home to the National Museum of the United States Air Force.

The rear view of the 1903 wright flyer. facts about Ohio
The rear view of the 1903 Wright flyer. Photo © Christopher Bellette

32. In Dayton, Ohio, the Wright Brothers built the first controlled machine that would allow them to fly in the air and return safely to the ground when needed. They built the world’s first practical airplane, the Wright Flyer, in 1905.

33. Did you know that before taking flight, the Wright Brothers 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.

34. According to NASA, 25 astronauts are Ohio natives, having made nearly 80 space flights, three of which are 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.

35. 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 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.

36. The Cincinnati Observatory, established in 1842, is the oldest professional observatory in the United States still in operation.

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

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

38. 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.

39. In 1908, the first-ever professional fire department in the United States was established in Cincinnati, Ohio.

40. The first ambulance service in the United States was established in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1865. The Cincinnati Commercial Hospital initiated the service, recognizing the importance of timely and efficient transportation of patients to medical facilities.

41. The Cincinnati Museum Center, housed in the historic Union Terminal, is one of the largest multi-museum complexes in the country.

42. The world’s largest collection of vacuum cleaners can be found at the Vacuum Cleaner Museum in St. James, Ohio. It is a small educational and informative museum about Hoover vacuum cleaners.

43. The world’s largest collection of comic books is housed at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University. The collection has 450,000 original cartoons, 36,000 books, and 51,000 serial titles.

44. Ohio is home to the world’s largest collection of troll dolls at the Troll Hole Museum in Alliance.

45. Mansfield, Ohio, is home to the BibleWalk Museum, which features over 300 wax figures depicting biblical scenes.

Cedar Point Amusement Park
Cedar Point Amusement Park. Photo © Joe Hendrickson

46. The city of Sandusky, Ohio, is home to Cedar Point, known as the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World” for its impressive collection of roller coasters.

47. The world’s largest collection of goldenrod glassware, known as the Golden Glow of Christmas Past, is housed in Newark, Ohio.

48. Ohio has an official state fossil, the Isotelus, a trilobite species.

49. Ohio has an official state artifact, the Adena Pipe, a Native American ceremonial smoking pipe. The Adena Pipe is a prehistoric artifact discovered in Ohio and is associated with the Adena culture, a Native American culture that existed from around 1000 BCE to 200 BCE.

50. The Ohio Statehouse in Columbus is one of the oldest working state capitol buildings in the United States.

51. Did you know that the Great Serpent Mound in rural southwestern Ohio is the largest serpent effigy in the world? It measures approximately 1,300 feet in length and ranges from one to three feet in height.

52. The world’s largest horseshoe crab statue, “King of the Ohio,” stands in Hillsboro, Ohio.

World`s largest basket
The world’s largest picnic basket was once the headquarters of the Longaberger Company. Facts about Ohio. Photo © Kenneth Sponsler

53. The largest basket-shaped building, the Longaberger Company headquarters, is in Newark, Ohio.

54. A giant fiberglass statue of a hot dog named “Giant Hot Dog Man” stands in front of Tony Packo’s restaurant in Toledo, Ohio.

55. Marietta, Ohio, is home to the first permanent settlement in the Northwest Territory, established in 1788.

56. The town of Defiance, Ohio, was named after an early 18th-century fort that was never actually attacked or defended.

57. The Cincinnati Reds, one of the oldest professional baseball teams, were the first team to wear uniforms with numbers on the back in 1916.

58. The Pro Football Hall of Fame, dedicated to preserving the history of professional football, is located in Canton, Ohio.

59. 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.

Checkerboard with checkers. facts about Ohio
Checkers board. Facts about Ohio. Photo © Mikhail Kokhanchikov

60. Did you know that Asa A. Longborn in Antwerp, Ohio, is a checkers player with a world record as the youngest and oldest national champion? He won the US national championship at 18 and again in 1984 (becoming the oldest person to win).

61. The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden is the second oldest zoo in the United States and is known for its successful breeding programs.

62. The Cleveland Metroparks system is one of the largest urban park systems in the United States, covering over 23,000 acres.

63. 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.

64. Because of the movement of glaciers in the state thousands of years ago, the state is blessed with some of the most fertile agricultural lands in the U.S. 

65. Ohio’s Cuyahoga River, which flows through Cleveland, famously caught fire multiple times due to industrial pollution, leading to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1970.

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

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

67. The largest horseshoe crab nesting beach in the United States, Crane Creek State Park, is in Oak Harbor, Ohio.

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