40 Ohio Facts: Interesting Facts About Ohio

Last updated on August 11th, 2019

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.

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. 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]

3. 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]

4. 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

5. Ohio’s flag is the only non-rectangular U.S. state flag. See the list of all U.S. state flags here…

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

7. 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]

8. 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]

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

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

10. The state is the birthplace of the cash register. It was invented by James Jacob Ritty. The design was patented on November 4th, 1879. The cash register was named a “mechanical money drawer” by its inventor.[18,27]

11. 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]

12. 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]

13. 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]

14. 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]

Ohio on the map

15. 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]

16. 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]

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

18. 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]

19. 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]

20. 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.

21. 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]

22. 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]

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

24. 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

25. 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]

26. 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]

27. 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]

28. 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]

29. 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?

30. 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]

31. 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]

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

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

34. 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]

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 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]

36. Did you know that Asa A. Long born in Antwerp, Ohio, is a checkers player, who has the world records as both youngest and oldest national champion? He first won the US national championship at the age of 18 and then again in 1984 (becoming the oldest person to win). 

37. Did you know that the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was designed by a 21-year-old Maya Lin from Ohio? An undergraduate at Yale University, she beat out over 1,400 competitors in a competition to design the memorial. Interestingly, her professor was also among her competition.[39]

38. Columbus is the home of Wendy’s. The very first Wendy’s was located on the corner of 5th and Broad in downtown Columbus in 1969. Dave Thomas named the restaurant after his daughter, Melinda “Wendy” Thomas. Wendy’s has grown into the third largest hamburger chain in the world with over 6700 locations.[38]

39. In 1862, after graduating from the Oberlin College (Lorain County, Ohio), Mary Jane Patterson, became the first African-American woman to gain a bachelor’s degree.[40]

40. 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.[41]

Ohio State – Quick facts and state symbols

State AbbreviationOH
NoteClick on the previous/next link below to see more table entries.
State CapitalColumbus
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 44,825 sq miles; Land Only: 40,948 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2018 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodMarch 1, 1803
State rank by population7th
State rank by date of formation17th
State rank by area34th
Number of Counties88
Complete list of 50 states and number of counties in each
DemonymOhioan; Buckeye (colloq.)
Bordering StatesIndiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Pennsylvania, West Virginia
Official LanguageNone
Highest PointCampbell Hill
1,549 ft (472 m)
Lowest pointOhio River at Indiana border
455 ft (139 m)
Mean elevation850 feet above sea level
Length 220 miles (355 km)
Width220 miles (355 km)
National ParksCuyahoga Valley National Park
GovernorMike DeWine (R)
Lieutenant GovernorJon Husted (R)
Electoral Votes18
State MottoWith God, all things are possible
State NicknameBuckeye State
% Water8.7
Nobel Prize WinnersPaul C. Lauterbur (Physiology or Medicine, 2003)
Toni Morrison (Literature, 1993)
F. Sherwood Rowland (Chemistry, 1995)
Richard E. Smalley (Chemistry, 1996)
Charles G. Dawes (Peace, 1925)
Aarthur H. Compton (Physics, 1927)
Donald A. Glaser (Physics, 1960)
William Lipscomb (Chemistry, 1976)
Famous PeopleOrlando Pace (Pro Football Player)
Barry Larkin (Baseball Player)
Gus Johnson (Basketball Player)
Halle Berry (Actress)
Tracy Chapman (Singer)
Neil Armstrong (Astronaut)
U.S. Presidents Born In Ohio1. Ulysses Simpson Grant.
2. Rutherford Birchard Hayes.
3. James Abram Garfield.
4. Benjamin Harrison.
5. William McKinley.
6. William Howard Taft.
7. Warren Gamaliel Harding.
State Song"Beautiful Ohio"
State Rock Song"Hang on Sloppy"
State Flag Flag of Ohio

Flag of Ohio.svg

State sealGreat Seal of Ohio

State seal of Ohio

State coat of arms

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

State quarter

Ohio quarter


Phacops rana.jpg

State Bicentennial BridgeThe Blaine Hill Bridge

Blaine Hill S Bridge Ohio.jpg

State Mammalwhite-tailed deer

White-tailed deer.jpg

State AmphibianSpotted salamander


State FrogBullfrog

American Bullfrog Rana catesbeiana Front 838px.jpg

State InsectLadybug


State Prehistoric MonumentNewark Earthworks

Ohio Newark Great Circle09.jpg

State FlowerScarlet carnation

Red Carnation NGM XXXI p507.jpg

State WildflowerWhite trillium

A close view of the large white flower of a trillium plant trillium grandiflorum.jpg

State BirdCardinal

Northern Cardinal Male-27527-2.jpg

State ReptileBlack racer snake

Coluber constrictorPCCP20030612-1115B.jpg

State GemstoneOhio flint

Phacops rana.jpg

State TreeBuckeye

Aesculus glabra var. glabra.jpg

State FruitTomato

Tomato on its stem.jpg

State Native FruitPawpaw

Asimina triloba3.jpg

State GroundhogBuckeye Chuck

Closeup groundhog.jpg

State ArtifactThe Adena Pipe

human effigy pipe 01 - Cleveland Museum of Art
Longitude80° 31′ W to 84° 49′ W
Latitude38° 24′ N to 41° 59′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Area Codes216, 234, 283, 330, 380, 419, 440, 513, 567, 614, 740, 937
Table Last UpateMay 14, 2019