50 Facts About Ohio State You Probably Don't Know

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An arch bridge and buildings reflected over a river on a sunny day
Rich Street Bridge and Downtown Columbus buildings reflected over Scioto River

Ohio is often thought of as just another state in the Midwest, but it actually has a lot to offer, both historically and in the present day. So what is Ohio known for?

Among the states, Ohio is 2nd when it comes to producing the most presidents. Seven were born here, although eight are considered to be from the state. Sadly, half of them died while still in office. Also, Ohio was part of the cause of the Revolutionary War, as both the Americans and the British wanted to settle in Ohio.

Some other facts about Ohio state include that it was the 17th state to join the Union. The word Ohio means "beautiful river," and Ohio had the most soldiers fight in the Civil War.

Read on to learn more about Ohio and some facts about the state you probably don't know. It's a cool state, I promise!

  • 50 Ohio facts

50 Ohio State Facts

  1. Fun Facts About Ohio
    1. Dayton, Ohio, is where many important things were invented
    2. Other important inventions also come from the state
    3. The Wright Brothers invented the airplane in Ohio
    4. Ohio is the 17th state
    5. The Ohio buckeye tree is one of Ohio's natural resources
    6. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio
    7. Cleveland, Ohio, is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
    8. The population of Ohio is over 11,780,000
    9. Twenty percent of the state's population lives in rural areas
    10. The Ohio State University is the third-largest university in the country
    11. Superman was created in Cleveland, Ohio
    12. The first professional baseball team was the Cincinnati Reds
    13. The first police car was used in Ohio
    14. Cedar Point, an amusement park, is in Ohio
    15. Dayton, Ohio, is home to the National US Air Force Museum
  2. Interesting Facts About Ohio
    1. The capital of Ohio state is Columbus
    2. The state bird of Ohio is the cardinal
    3. The official animal of Ohio is the white-tailed deer
    4. The state flower of Ohio is the red carnation
    5. Ohio's state motto is "With God, All Things Are Possible"
    6. The Ohio state gemstone is the Ohio flint
    7. The Ohio state beverage is tomato juice
    8. The Ohio state insect is the ladybug
    9. The official state rock song of Ohio is "Hang on Sloopy"
    10. Ohio has the largest Amish population in the United States
  3. Weird Facts About Ohio
    1. The Ohio state flag is not a rectangle
    2. There is an Ohio county in West Virginia
    3. Ohio is known for its pawpaw fruit
    4. Seven US presidents were born in Ohio, the second most after Virginia
    5. The world's longest bar is in Put-in-Bay, Ohio
  4. Ohio History Facts
    1. Oberlin College was the first college to allow women and non-whites
    2. William McKinley was the governor of Ohio before becoming president
    3. William Henry Harrison was a US Senator before he was president
    4. Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory
    5. Many Native American tribes used to live in Ohio
  5. Scary Facts About Ohio
    1. Ohio had more Union soldiers in the Civil War than any other state
    2. Four of the presidents from Ohio died while in office
    3. Ohio was part of the reason for the Revolutionary War
    4. John Glenn was born in Ohio
    5. Neil Armstrong is from Ohio
  6. Cool Facts About Ohio
    1. The name Ohio comes from an Iroquois word
    2. The first permanent settlement in Ohio was Marietta
    3. The first African-American to pass the Ohio bar exam was John M. Langston
    4. Ohio is nicknamed the Buckeye State
    5. The world's largest drumsticks are in Ohio
  7. Random Facts About Ohio
    1. The Ohio River is the lowest point in Ohio
    2. The highest point in Ohio is Campbell Hill
    3. Lake Erie borders Ohio to the north
    4. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is in Ohio
    5. Benjamin Harrison was born in Ohio

Show all

Fun Facts About Ohio

One of the fun facts about Ohio state is Cleveland's Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland shows the evolution of the genre
A bridge over a river in the foreground of buildings and skyscrapers
Dayton skyline with buildings and Riverside Drive Bridge over the Great Miami River

Dayton, Ohio, is where many important things were invented

One invention was the pop-top can, which made it possible to open cans without a can opener. The cash register was also invented in Dayton after clerks at James Ritty's saloon kept stealing from him. Another important invention was the evolution of the ice cube tray, which made it easier to remove ice from the tray.

Other important inventions also come from the state

The self-starting car engine was invented in 1911, which saved drivers from having to manually crank the engine to start the car. The traffic signal was also invented here in 1923 to prevent car and buggy accidents. There are also some foods invented in Ohio, like Life Savers candy and hot dogs.

The Wright Brothers invented the airplane in Ohio

The brothers lived in Dayton, Ohio, and spent years here researching and testing aviation pieces. A misconception about the invention is that they made the plane in North Carolina. However, they actually designed and built it in Ohio.

The first flight took place in North Carolina, as the conditions there for flying were better than in Ohio. They succeeded in flying the plane on December 17th, 1903. Although the flight was in NC, the plane is considered to have been invented in Dayton.

Ohio is the 17th state

One of the interesting facts about the state of Ohio is that congress made its statehood official on February 19th, 1803. However, the official date the state celebrates is March 1st, as that is when the Ohio legislature first met. In 1953, US congress changed the official date of Ohio statehood to March 1st.

Closeup of leaves of a buckeye tree
The leaves of an Ohio buckeye tree, an abundant tree in Ohio

The Ohio buckeye tree is one of Ohio's natural resources

It is a common tree in Ohio, mostly found in the western half of the state. Ohio has alkaline soil, which is why the tree grows so well here. The only parts of the state where the tree does not grow are the very northeastern and southeastern parts of the state.

fiskness/Depositphotos.com
The facade of a building with stairs leading to the glass wall entrance
The Pro Football Hall of Fame features over 360 notable people in football history

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is in Canton, Ohio

The best and most important players, coaches, and staff in professional football history, mostly from the NFL, are recognized here. There are over 360 people who are in the Hall of Fame, and new people are added every year. The hall of fame also has a lot of memorabilia from football history.

Cleveland, Ohio, is home to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

The museum recognizes the most important people in rock music history. The inductees have a special hall dedicated to them and their work. The rest of the museum is about the history of rock and roll music and how it evolved over time. There are also special items like records and other things of importance that are saved in the museum.

The population of Ohio is over 11,780,000

It is the seventh most populated state in the country. A majority of the population lives in urban areas. The most populated cities in the state in order are Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Parma, Canton, Lorain, and Hamilton.

Twenty percent of the state's population lives in rural areas

This is equivalent to approximately 2,310,000 people. These people are not considered a part of any of Ohio's metro areas, so they are, therefore, a part of the rural or non-metro population.

wolterke/Depositphotos.com
The exterior of a brown building with a clock tower and trees in front
University Hall in Ohio State University, the 3rd largest university in the US

The Ohio State University is the third-largest university in the country

A fun fact about Ohio is that Ohio State University is the third-largest university in the country. During the 2021-2022 school year, there were 66,772 people enrolled in classes at Ohio State University. Texas A&M had the most students with over 73,000, and the University of Central Florida is second with over 70,000 students.

Superman was created in Cleveland, Ohio

Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, two neighbors from Cleveland, created him in 1933. They started making comic strips with Superman, and his popularity continued to grow. They sold the rights to Superman to DC Comics in 1938 for only $130. They later received more money for making the hero and the credit for creating him.

The first professional baseball team was the Cincinnati Reds

The team was established in 1869, and they were originally called the Red Stockings. They started playing against amateur teams and won their first 81 consecutive games. Since then, the team has won five World Series titles and still plays their home games in Cincinnati.

The first police car was used in Ohio

It was actually a wagon, and it was first used in Akron, Ohio, in 1899. The wagon ran on a battery, and it could travel 16 miles per hour and travel up to 30 miles before the battery ran out. The car cost the police department $2,400 to buy.

j.hendrickson3/Depositphotos.com
Aerial view of various rides and attractions in an amusement park overlooking a lake
Built in 1870, Sandusky's Cedar Point is the country's 2nd oldest amusement park

Cedar Point, an amusement park, is in Ohio

Cedar Point is the second oldest operating amusement park in the country, and it opened in 1870. The park gets its name from the peninsula it sits on, which is in Lake Erie in northern Ohio. Here, there are approximately 15 roller coasters as well as water slides, food, and other attractions.

Dayton, Ohio, is home to the National US Air Force Museum

One of the fun facts about Ohio is that the world's oldest and largest military aviation museum, the National US Air Force Museum at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, is located within the state. The museum has more than 360 airplanes and missiles on display. The museum is free to visit, and more than one million people visit every year.

Interesting Facts About Ohio

A riverwalk surrounded by greenery and various buildings along the riverbank
Columbus being the capital is one of the interesting facts about Ohio state

The capital of Ohio state is Columbus

Columbus is the 15th largest city in the United States. The city was established in 1812, and it was designed to be the capital of Ohio. The government officially moved to the city in 1816 from the old capital city of Chillicothe.

A bright red and black bird with a head crest sitting on a branch
The Cardinal has been the state bird of Ohio since 1933

The state bird of Ohio is the cardinal

The cardinal was designated as the official state bird in 1933. Cardinals were actually not originally native to Ohio. Before the Europeans first settled in the area, there were a lot more forests, which cardinals do not live in. However, as more people settled in Ohio, the forests were cleared, and cardinals came to live here. The current landscape is closer to their natural habitat, and now there are cardinals living all over the state.

The official animal of Ohio is the white-tailed deer

The deer was adopted as the state's official animal in 1988, and it was chosen since the deer has an important part in the state's history. All throughout history, the people in the area have hunted white-tailed deer from which they made food, clothing, and tools to help them survive.

The state flower of Ohio is the red carnation

The flower was adopted as the official state flower in 1904, and it was chosen as a way to honor President McKinley, who died six months into his second term as president. When he was alive, he would wear a red carnation on his jacket, so the flower was associated with him.

Ohio's state motto is "With God, All Things Are Possible"

The motto was adopted in 1959 after a contest to select one, and this one was suggested by a 12-year-old boy. There is controversy over the motto since it mentions God and could violate the 1st Amendment. However, it has not been changed, and there are even four other states with a motto mentioning God.

The Ohio state gemstone is the Ohio flint

The gemstone was adopted as the state gemstone in 1965, as there is a lot of it found in the state. Most of it is in the east and center of Ohio. Native Americans used the gemstone to make tools and weapons. Today it is used for jewelry.

The Ohio state beverage is tomato juice

It was adopted in 1965. Tomato farming for commercial use started in 1870, and it ended up being a huge part of Ohio's agricultural economy as it still is today.

The Ohio state insect is the ladybug

It was made the official state insect in 1975, and there are many species of ladybugs all over Ohio. The bug helps farmers by eating pests.

The official state rock song of Ohio is "Hang on Sloopy"

Ohio is the only state with an official rock song. It was adopted in 1985 as the official song, but it was commonly associated with the state prior to this since OSU's marching band performed the song often. The song was written and recorded by the McCoys, a band from Dayton, Ohio.

Tall plant growth behind an Amish horse-drawn carriage
A horse pulling a carriage near an Amish farm in Ohio

Ohio has the largest Amish population in the United States

There are around 80,000 Amish living in Ohio. A majority of them live in the northwestern part of the state, and around 37,000 of them are children. Ohio's population of Amish is also the second largest in the world.

Weird Facts About Ohio

Green hills in the back of houses and buildings along the banks of a river
The Ohio River on the border of West Virginia and Ohio

The Ohio state flag is not a rectangle

The flag was adopted on May 9th, 1902, and its shape is officially called a swallow tail. Of all 50 state flags, it is the only one that is not a rectangle.

On the flag are 17 stars to indicate that Ohio is the 17th state. There is also a large circle that represents the "O" in the word Ohio and the shape of the buckeye.

There is an Ohio county in West Virginia

The county is in the northern part of the state, with Ohio bordering it to the west and Pennsylvania to the east. The county also sits on the Ohio River, which is between Ohio and West Virginia.

Ohio is known for its pawpaw fruit

It is the main produce from the state, even though it is also grown in the rest of the eastern part of the country. The fruit from the tree matures at the end of the summer. The trees grow best in shady areas until they are almost fully developed. Then, they need sun to produce fruit.

Seven US presidents were born in Ohio, the second most after Virginia

The presidents from the 1800s are Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, and William McKinley. Then, William Taft served from 1909 to 1913, and Warren G. Harding from 1921 to 1923.

William Henry Harrison is also sometimes considered an Ohio president since he lived here most of his life, but he was born in Virginia.

The world's longest bar is in Put-in-Bay, Ohio

It is at the Beer Barrel Saloon. Longer bars have been used temporarily, but this one is the longest permanent bar. It measures 405 feet and 10 inches long. The bar boasts 160 bar stools and has 56 beers on tap.

Ohio History Facts

Three flags in front of a white Greek Revival building with four columns
The Ohio State House Capitol Building in Columbus, the capital of Ohio

Oberlin College was the first college to allow women and non-whites

The college opened in 1833, making it the oldest co-ed liberal arts college in the country. In 1835, they allowed the first African Americans to enroll in the school. Then, just two years later, they allowed women to enroll in classes, too.

William McKinley was the governor of Ohio before becoming president

He was one of the presidents born in Ohio and was a teacher before the Civil War started, which he fought in. He joined the Union army and later ended up serving as a member of congress before being governor from 1892 and 1896. He served over four years as president, from 1897 to 1901, until he was assassinated 6 months into his second term.

William Henry Harrison was a US Senator before he was president

He was a senator for Ohio from 1825 and 1828. Prior to being a senator, he was a delegate for Ohio in the US House of Representatives, the first governor of Indiana, and a member of the Ohio Senate.

He served as the 9th president, starting in March 1841. He passed away 31 days after his inauguration, making his term the shortest in US history.

Ohio was part of the Northwest Territory

One of the lesser-known historical facts about Ohio is that after the Revolutionary War, the Northwest Territory was created. It included present-day Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, and part of Minnesota. Even though the Americans ended up with control of the territory over the British, they caused issues with the Native Americans who were already living on the land.

Many Native American tribes used to live in Ohio

They lived here for many years before the settlers from Europe started taking over in the 1600s. Some of the tribes were the Shawnee, Miami, Ottawa, Seneca, Wyandot, and Delaware.

Scary Facts About Ohio

Aerial shot of an urban area with skyscrapers, buildings, and cars
Columbus, Ohio is where John Glenn, a US senator and first man to orbit earth, died

Ohio had more Union soldiers in the Civil War than any other state

There were over 300,000 people from Ohio that served during the war, all fighting for the Union. There were no major battles in the state, but it did play an important role since it was centrally located among the Union states.

Four of the presidents from Ohio died while in office

William Henry Harrison was the first president to die in office. He died of pneumonia in 1841. Next, James A. Garfield was shot during his first year as president in 1881. William McKinley was also assassinated in office, but he made it to his second term before dying in 1901. Finally, Warren G. Harding died in office from a heart attack.

Ohio was part of the reason for the Revolutionary War

Other than the issues with British control and taxation, American settlers wanted to move west to Ohio Country, which contains most of modern-day Ohio. Both sides of the war wanted to control the area, but not many battles took place in the area itself. There was only one military fort in Ohio Country, and the rest were in the colonies.

John Glenn was born in Ohio

He was born in Cambridge, Ohio, on July 18th, 1922. He was the first American to orbit the earth, which he did three times in 1962. He was also a US senator for Ohio from 1975 to 1999. He died in Columbus, Ohio, on December 8th, 2016.

Neil Armstrong is from Ohio

He was born on August 30th, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He became the first person to walk on the moon in 1969. He and Buzz Aldrin, the second person to walk on the moon, spent nearly a day exploring the moon during their expedition to space.

Cool Facts About Ohio

fireandstone/Depositphotos.com
Buildings along the coast of a river with a suspension bridge over it
Roebling bridge over Ohio River with the Cincinnati skyline in the background

The name Ohio comes from an Iroquois word

It means "beautiful river." The Iroquois originally named this river "Ohio" since they saw it as beautiful. Then, when it was time to name the state, the US decided to use the same name as the river.

Aerial view of buildings and trees on a foggy morning
Aerial view of Marietta, the first Ohio settlement

The first permanent settlement in Ohio was Marietta

It was settled on April 7th, 1788, when General Rufus Putnam and his men landed here to create the first settlement in Ohio Country. The settlement in Marietta paved the way for more people to settle in the area and eventually led to it becoming a state.

The first African-American to pass the Ohio bar exam was John M. Langston

He was born in 1829 in Virginia and moved to Ohio when he was five after his parents both died. He was one of the first African-Americans to graduate from Oberlin College. He passed the bar in 1854. After becoming an attorney, he fought for the rights of blacks and helped slaves become free through the Underground Railroad.

Ohio is nicknamed the Buckeye State

The name comes from the buckeye tree, which is common all over the state. The first known use of the nickname dates back to 1840 when the people of Ohio started calling themselves "buckeyes." A symbol of the buckeye tree also made it onto campaign souvenirs to support president William H. Harrison, an Ohioan who was running that year.

The world's largest drumsticks are in Ohio

The drumsticks are in David Grohl Alley, in Warren, Ohio, and are named after the drummer. They weigh 900 pounds, and they were made as a dedication to the drummer, just like the alley that they sit in.

Random Facts About Ohio

A bridge over a river in front of buildings
Ohio's lowest point is in Ohio River at 455 feet above sea level

The Ohio River is the lowest point in Ohio

One of the interesting Ohio facts is that the lowest point in the state is at the Ohio River. The exact point is in the very southwestern part of the state where the river leaves the state. This point is 455 feet (139 meters) above sea level. At this point, the plains states start, so the location makes sense when you consider the country's geography.

The highest point in Ohio is Campbell Hill

Campbell Hill is in Logan county, and it is named after Charles O. Campbell, who used to own the land where the hill sits. The hill is 1,549 feet (472 meters) above sea level. The hill is in a recreational area where there are caverns, skiing, and lots of scenery.

A white and red lighthouse on a harbor by a lake
The Grand River Lighthouse on the harbor along Lake Erie

Lake Erie borders Ohio to the north

Across Lake Erie to the north of Ohio is Ontario, Canada. Going counterclockwise from Lake Erie, Ohio is bordered by Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan.

A small waterfall in the middle of a forest
Blue Hen Falls, one of the many waterfalls in Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is in Ohio

Cuyahoga Valley National Park covers 33,000 acres in northeastern Ohio between Cleveland and Akron. One of the main attractions of the park is the Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath Trail which used to be a path for mules and people going to tow canal boats. Today it is used for hiking and biking.

Benjamin Harrison was born in Ohio

He was born in 1833 in North Bend, Ohio, at his grandfather's house, who happened to be William Henry Harrison. His great-grandfather was Benjamin Harrison V, who signed the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Harrison became the 23rd president of the United States in 1889 and served just one term.

Conclusion

Ohio is an underrated state, and it has a lot of fun places like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and an amusement park called Cedar Point. It has a massive college: Ohio State University. Ohio also has a lot of firsts, such as the first professional baseball team and the first police car.

This article was edited by Henry Grahame.

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Written by Sarah Hartness

Sarah_Hartness WRITER I am a Chicago-based travel writer who loves to explore the Midwest and beyond. I have traveled all over the US and Europe. I look forward to going to Latin America and Asia next!


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