People Share Little-Known Facts About Their Home State

Photo by Sergei A on Unsplash

The United States is a pretty a darn big country and each state is commonly known for some specific features like landmarks, spots of natural beauty or specific customs.

Sometimes the things a state is known for aren’t the most interesting things about that state, though.

Redditor FriendoAmigo asked:

“US Residents of Reddit: What is a lesser known fact about the state you live in?”

It Snows In Arizona

“Arizona isn’t all desert. The northern half is pine trees, lotsa greenery, & snow.” -ThatsMyOpiniiiooon

“This actually surprised me so much when I moved here a few years ago. I lived in the PNW before and was shocked that there are places here almost like it, just farther north. I live in the south though so we just have sand. Lots of sand. 😂” -smc0303

“You can ski in Tucson! If they open the road after it snows.” -Redditor

Pennsylvania Used To Be Über German

“Until WWI German was the most spoken language in PA. Papers were printed in it, schools were taught in it, it was spoken in homes and businesses.”

“Then we soured on Germany and in a matter of years it was erased except for place names, last names, and the language of the Plain [Mennonite, Amish, Anabaptist] people.” -tehmlem

Apparently, So Was Texas?

“There is a dialect of German that is only spoken in Texas.” -Implicit_Hwyteness

“Really? What’s it called? Texan German?” -Oiltownboi

“‘Texasdeutsch’, yeah.” -Implicit_Hwyteness

“If you’re interested you can hear it on youtube. Wikitongues has an interview with an older woman speaking it.”

“As a German speaker it’s very strange to hear. She uses really antiquated words. It’s like someone from a time machine” -Fylfalen

Jersey Devil Territory

“New Jersey is home to the Pine Barrens, basically the cleansing apparatus for the entire Northeastern seaboard for the last few centuries. Interesting lore surrounding the New Jersey Devil living there too.” -Kin2monkey

Swiss Cheese Isn’t From Switzerland

“Swiss cheese was created in Ohio, the state ranks number one in swiss cheese production in the country.” -cheesecake_fiend

“Swiss cheese is any variety of cheese that resembles Emmental cheese, a yellow, medium-hard cheese that originated in the area around Emmental, Switzerland.”

“Baby Swiss and Lacy Swiss are two varieties of American Swiss cheeses. Both have small holes and a mild flavor. Baby Swiss is made from whole milk, and Lacy Swiss is made from low fat milk. Baby Swiss was developed in the mid-1960s outside of Charm, Ohio, by the Guggisberg Cheese Company, owned by Alfred Guggisberg.” -BryGuyB

“What !? I’ve been lied to! At least tell me it was invented by a Swiss man in Ohio?” -DatTF2

“Google tells me that a Swiss man named Alfred Guggisberg immigrated to the US and created the cheese in Ohio Amish country.” -cheesecake_fiend

“And if anyone is passing through this area I strongly suggest that they buy some Guggisberg baby Swiss! The best Swiss Cheese I have ever had.”

“Pair it with some ‘trail’ bologna – you can probably find both in the same place if you’re shopping in the area.” -Labhran

Nuclear Oops

“In 1961, a nuclear bomb payload was dropped on Goldsboro, NC when a B-52 started coming apart midair. It was like one failsafe away from detonating, preventing the Piedmont from becoming a crater.”

“We don’t hear about that much and I’m surprised more people I talk to in our state don’t know about it.” -hangtight97

“The part about one of the bombs nearly exploding wasn’t declassified until 2013.” -CedarWolf

Alaska Isn’t All Frozen

“Alaska isn’t just frozen tundra. We also have the largest rainforest in the US, the Tongass.”

“Where I live, you can see old growth rainforest, ocean, fjords, glaciers, and snow capped 10,000 foot mountains all in the same view, while enjoying mild and stable temperatures that only occasionally dip below the 30s or above the 60s (Fahrenheit).”

“Also, because our summertime daylight hours are so long, we grow monster record setting vegetables!”

“I should say Alaska grows record setting vegetables in the Palmer area. Where I live in the rainforest, growing veggies requires cover and lots of fertilizer because there is too much rain.” -ghiagirl13

Iowa Really Is That Empty

“Many people think that Iowa’s emptiness is exaggerated in movies and TV, it’s not. I live in a town of 200 people and the nearest town (about 15 miles away) has 500, if I go to the edge of town, which takes like 3 minutes on foot, then I’d see nothing but corn fields and maybe a house” -Cayden5

“My favorite Iowa fact is that despite its low population, Iowa is actually the most developed state in the country because farm fields still count as development. We have very small % of wilderness left even compared to densely-populated states like NJ and DE.” -Dangerous-Ad-170

You Can’t Have It Back

“Minnesota was not a very populous state during the Civil War, but we sent hundreds of soldiers to fight, including the First Minnesota. The First Minnesota Regiment suffered 80% casualties at the Battle of Gettysburg, but for their sacrifice they won a Virginian Battle Flag as a trophy from the field.”

“Every so often Virginia asks for Minnesota to return it, and every time Minnesota tells them to f*ck off.” -CaptValentine

“I love that story. I read that Virginia sued them saying ‘that flag is part of our heritage!’ and Minnesota basically said ‘yeah, and taking it from you is part of ours 🖕'” -incredible_mr_e

“Technically there has been a ruling in 1905 to return Civil War relics to their original states but I would like to point out that the CSA does not exist anymore, in part due to the First Minnesota’s sacrifice, so we actually can’t return it to it’s place of origin if we wanted to. Which we don’t. F*ck off, Virginia.” -CaptValentine

“Terrible governor, but I loved Jesse Ventura’s response to Virginia when they asked for it back, ‘why? we won’.” -air-bear1

“Oh Virginia, you silly sausage, that’s not how capture the flag works! (I’m from MN as well btw)” -2_cats_high_5ing

Texas Probably Isn’t Like You Think

“I’m from Texas, but I’ve lived/spent time in the northeast, midwest and Europe. These are the things that surprise people:

“1.Texas is one of the most diverse states in the nation. e.g.. People commonly assume Texas is very conservative, rural, and white, when it’s actually fairly purple, has large urban populations, and many ethnicities and cultures. Some people are surprised to learn Houston is almost as large (pop wise) as Chicago, and Dallas, Austin, San Antonio are some of the largest cities in the US.”

“2. Most Texans don’t have thick accents. If I had a nickel for every Minnesotan that said ‘you can’t be from Texas, you sound normal’ I’d have, idk, like a dollar or something. Only the most rural areas really have thick accents.”

“3. Texas isn’t really culturally part of the south. Louisiana through Texas forms a kind of cultural gradient between the south and southwest.”

“4. A noteworthy amount of Texans want to secede. It’s really rare actually, it’s more of a meme.”

“5. Texas has several varieties of bbq. It’s not just smoked brisket, but also varieties of barbacoa and direct flame grilling.”

“What is true:”

“Texans are willing to fight about bbq and smoking meat.”

“It’s hot as hell.”

“There are a lot of rural populations that have horses, even if most people don’t.”

“Texans are very proud of Texas.” -Fmeson

“The only show I ever saw that even got close to explaining the oddity that is Houston is Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown. A lot of cities use ‘diverse’ as a tagline but Houston is on another level.”

“It’s more than the fact that it has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all over the world. Once you are there, you are a Houstonian.” -voice_of_craisin

The things everyone knows about states are often not their coolest or most interesting features.

There might even be cool facts or landmarks about your state that you don’t yet know.

Written by Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters

Winn Sioux Christnot-Peters is a writer/web designer and aspiring librarian based in Northern Maine. When not writing or in class, they devote much of their time to multiple non-profit organizations, largely focusing on LGBTQ+ rights and animal welfare. During rare moments of free time Winona enjoys video and tabletop games, as well as various nerdy fiber crafts such as crocheting (mainly amigurumi Pokémon, cat toys, and blankets) and counted cross stitch.