Welcome to the Union

On Dec. 3, 1818, Illinois entered the Union as the 21st state. It was discovered in 1673 and settled in 1720. Before Illinois became a state, it was known as the Illinois Territory. In 1818, the state’s population was 34,620. In 2018, it was 12.74 million.

Reach for the sky

Illinois holds the distinction as home to the world’s first skyscraper. The Home Insurance Building was erected in 1884 and 1885 in Chicago. The so-called “Father of the Skyscraper” towered just 10 stories with its peak at 138 feet. While it was giant in its day, it wouldn’t turn a head in today’s world of sky-touching buildings. For example, the Burj Khalifa is 163 floors and 2,717 feet tall.

Illinois a super state

Metropolis, the home of Superman, really does exist and it’s located in southern Illinois. The town even has a 15-foot-tall Superman statue on Superman Square, and the local paper is called The Planet.

A pumpkin state

Illinois is consistently the nation’s largest producer of pumpkins, the majority of which are used for pies and other processed foods. The state’s farms harvested a record 16,200 acres of pumpkins in 2012, and in 2017, the state produced more than twice as many pumpkins in 2017 as second-ranked California.

Not the home of ‘The Simpsons’

Creator Matt Groening revealed in 2012 that the Springfield which “The Simpsons” call home is not Springfield, Ill. It’s not actually any real Springfield. He has been quoted as saying it’s the most common name for a city, allowing everyone to think it’s their Springfield.

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