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This is “Every State in the US” by Wendover Productions and made possible by The Great Courses Plus. We’ll start with Alabama, the first state alphabetically. Magnolia Springs, Alabama is the only town in America to have their mail delivered by boat, although the longest mail delivery route in America is in rural Oklahoma where delivery drivers have to drive 187. 6 miles each day to delivery the mail to around 200 houses.
Oklahoma’s state vegetable is the watermelon, which happens to be a fruit, and Oklahoma is also home to Kansas, the town. The real Kansas, or more specifically this point, is the geographic center of the contiguous United States. What Kansas is not home to is Kansas City which counterintuitively is in Missouri where the population center of the US is—the average location of every American. Missouri borders eight states, and is therefore tied with Tennessee as the state that borders the most other states.
Tennessee was a southern state that seceded from the United States and joined the confederacy in the lead up to the Civil War except for Scott County which seceded from Tennessee and formed an unrecognized independent state. Scott County didn’t actually officially rejoin Tennessee until 1986. Tennessee’s western border was originally defined by the course of the Mississippi River which has since changed course which has led to all these enclaves and exclaves of the two states on the two sides of the river. The Arkansas River, a major tributary of the Mississippi, begins all the way in Colorado, where nobody’s entirely sure which mountain is the tallest, Mount Elbert or Mount Massive, since their heights are within 10 feet of each other and people keep building piles of rocks on the summits to make one mountain taller than the other.
Colorado is also home to the America’s longest continuous street —Colfax Avenue in Denver at 26 miles long, but the shortest individually named street in America is reportedly McKinley street in Bellefontiane Ohio at a mere 28 feet long. Ohio’s northernmost point is actually south of Canada’s southernmost point—Pelee island. Pelee island, Canada, in fact, is farther south than parts of 27 states including California which as a state has a higher population than the entire country of Canada. Los Angeles, California, despite being on the Pacific ocean, is east of six state capitals including Reno, Nevada.
Nevada has the point in the entire United States where you’re farthest from a McDonalds—only 116 miles—although Nevada is not the state with the fewest McDonalds. That title goes to the state with 29 McDonalds, North Dakota, which according to some legal experts wasn’t technically a state until 2012 since their constitution was missing this sentence which meant it didn’t fulfill the federal requirements for statehood. Despite having the fewest McDonalds, North Dakota is not America’s least populated state. That’s Wyoming which has two sets of escalators in the entire state.
Wyoming is well known for hosting Yellowstone National Park, although a bit of it spills over into Idaho, though in this section you can get away with murder. You see, with the sixth amendment, if you’re placed on trial its required that you are judged by a jury of your peers which means individuals from the same state and federal district as where the crime was committed. Yellowstone is its own Federal district meaning you’d need residents from Yellowstone to be on the jury although if you were in the Idaho part you’d need Yellowstone residents from Idaho to be on the Jury… except this 50 square mile section is entirely uninhabited, so they wouldn’t be able to form a jury which means you’d walk free. There’s also one single road connecting the entire southern section of Idaho to the northern section.
Idaho, with its fairly low population, has one single telephone area code for the whole state, just like neighboring Montana. Montana is home to the least busy commercial airport in the US—Dawson Community Airport—at 4,000 passengers per year or about 11 per day. Missoula Montana is also home to the warehouse of DFTBA where you can buy one of these—a Wendover Productions t-shirt—for only $20. The link is in the description.
The busiest airport in America is Atlanta’s at 49 million passengers per year or 135,000 per day. Peachtree, a suburb of Atlanta, is a community that has 90 miles of golf-cart specific roads adjacent to its normal roads since 9,000 families here have golf carts as their second cars. Kids are even encouraged to drive to school from the age of 12 in their golf carts. Georgia, or more specifically Springer Mountain, Georgia is the start of the 2,200 mile long Appalachian Trail which is a hiking trail that terminates way up at Mount Katahdin, Maine.
Maine is the only state in the United States to only border one other state and its also the closest state to Africa—seriously, its closer than Florida. The second closest state to Africa is Massachusetts or more specifically Cape Cod, Massachusetts which is technically an island since a man-made canal separates it from the mainland. Massachusetts is actually farther from Miami than Panama City is, and Miami is closer to the country capitals of Nassau Bahamas and Havana Cuba than to its own state capital—Tallahassee. Florida has the lowest highest point of any state—312 feet—23 times lower than South Dakota’s highest point.
South Dakota is home to the geographic center of the entire United States including Alaska and Hawaii and it was made a state a mere nine days before Washington, which was called Columbia before it became a state. Its name was changed as to not confuse it with the District of Columbia but obviously that didn’t work out since DC’s city ended up also being called Washington. Washington Place is the official residence of Hawaii’s governor and Hawaii was given its own unique currency during WWII that was its only legal tender so that, in case the Japanese successfully invaded Hawaii, the federal government could declare all of Hawaii’s currency worthless to prevent the Japanese from using it. The closest state to Hawaii is Alaska whose capital, Juneau, has no roads connecting it with the rest of Alaska or North America meaning you can’t drive in or out.
Alaska is also one of the four states that completely bans outdoor billboards along with Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont whose tallest building is only 11 stories tall. That’s the shortest tallest building of any state. The tallest building in the states is Freedom Tower in New York. New York is home to Ellis Island, or at least this part of it.
Their territory is completely surrounded by New Jersey, similar to Liberty Island—home to the Statue of Liberty—which is completely surrounded by New Jersey Waters which means you need to travel through New Jersey to get from New York to New York. Clinton Road in West Milford, New Jersey has America’s longest red light—a full five minute wait. New Jersey actually goes surprisingly far south[(still view of Kentucky’s —farther south than Kentucky’s northernmost point. ] In its south-west corner, Kentucky has a rather large piece of territory thats not actually connected to the rest of Kentucky.
Kentucky was the birthplace of Lincoln who was later elected to the Illinois House of Representatives and in Illinois is the original burger king, but its not the burger king you’re thinking of. This burger king existed before this burger king and therefore sued burger king when they came to Illinois for trademark infringement and won, so now no burger king is allowed to operate within a 20 mile radius of this original burger king. Chicago, Illinois, America’s 3rd largest city, is just a tad larger than the forth largest city—Houston, Texas and Texas is so enormous that El Paso, Texas is closer to Los Angeles than it is to Houston, Texas. Texas’ northernmost point is also closer to Michigan than it is to its southernmost point.
From Detroit, Michigan, you actually end up in Canada if you travel due south and Michigan is also the only state to be made of two entirely separated sections. Michigan’s Highway 185 is actually a bike path making it the only official highway in America where cars are banned. Michigan’s upper peninsula is only connected by land to Wisconsin which is home to the Green Bay Packers—a team so popular that the waiting list for season tickets is 30 years long. It’s so long that its common for parents to put their kids name on the list as soon as they’re born.
In Watertown, Wisconsin is Utah street, but the real Utah has the longest section of Interstate in the US with no gas stations—106 miles on I-70. I-70 ends over 2,000 miles away in Baltimore, Maryland and the entire state of Maryland has zero natural lakes. It also has this panhandle that reaches a minimum width of 1. 8 miles before expanding back out to 30 miles width out near West Virginia which is definitively a southern state but also has a panhandle that reaches as far north as New York City and Nebraska.
Monowi, Nebraska is the only incorporated municipality in the United States that have a population of one. The one resident, Elsie Eiler, is mayor and runs the library and tavern which is granted a liquor license each year by Elsie herself. Tortilla Flat, Arizona is six times larger than Monowi since it has six residents and Arizona also has 1/4 of the four corners monument—the only point where four states meet in the US—Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico which as a state, by law, still recognizes Pluto as a planet. New Mexico is typically the last state to vote in presidential primaries whereas Iowa is usually the first.
Iowa is the only state in the US whose eastern and western borders are both water—in this case rivers. The eastern border is the Mississippi river, which happens to be the namesake for Mississippi. The Mississippi river also flowed backwards for a full 24 hours in 2012 during Hurricane Isaac but the Mississippi doesn’t actually reach the ocean in Mississippi. It does so in Louisiana—home to the longest bridge over water in the world at 24 miles.
That’s so long that for eight of those miles, you can’t even see land on either side. One of the other longest bridges in the US is in North Carolina—the the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge which carries cars out to Kitty Hawk where the Wright Brothers successfully flew a heavier than air aircraft for the first time in history. It was a 12 second, 120 foot flight—thats shorter than the wingspan of a Boeing 747. North Carolina’s southern neighbor is South Carolina although South Carolina isn’t all that south since more than half of it is north of North Carolina’s southernmost point and South Carolina also has a town called North making it North, South Carolina.
South Carolina was the site of the first civil war battle and the civil war ended up having a total of one battle over in Indiana where the Indy 500 speedway is which is so enormous that you could comfortably fit the entire country of the vatican inside it. It can also fit 400,000 people which is the highest capacity of any sports arena in the world. Indiana’s state beverage is water, while Oregon’s is milk. Portland, Oregon is home to the world’s smallest park according to the Guinness world records book—mill end park.
Oregon is also one of the few states to not have a sales tax along with New Hampshire—the only state to have no law requiring adults to wear seat belts. Connecticut Lake, in New Hampshire, is the source of the Connecticut River which is what Connecticut the state is named after. Hartford, Connecticut’s airport, at less than 3 million passengers per year, is the smallest airport in the US to have a direct flight to Europe. Delaware, on the other hand, certainly doesn’t have a direct flight to Europe since its the only state that you can’t fly to.
There’s not one commercial flight in or out of this tiny state. It’s the second smallest state behind Rhode Island which is so small that the entire state grows by 3% during low tide. Rhode Island’s second largest city, Warwick, shares its name with Warwick Pennsylvania and in Pennsylvania is Centralia where the ground has been on fire since 1962 due to a coal mine fire and its expected to burn for over 200 years. Pennsylvania borders Minnesota, well not really, but Pennsylvania Avenue does intersect Minnesota Avenue in DC, and Minnesota is home to the northernmost point in the lower 48.
You see, most of the US-Canada border is defined by the 49th parallel but a surveying error led to this. The couple hundred residents of this area, called the Northwest angle, are completely cut off from the US and need to pass into Canada then back into the United states to go to school. Also in northern Minnesota is Virginia, the town, but Virginia, the state is massive. So massive that Ewing, Virigina, is closer to eight other state capitals than it is to its own state capital, Richmond.
Alexandria, Virginia is actually closer to Toronto, Canada than it is to Ewing, Virginia. Virginia also happens to go farther west than west Virginia. Virginia is also home to this place, the headquarters of the Teaching Company who run the Great Courses Plus. And with that super smooth transition I do have to thank the Great Courses Plus for sponsoring this video.
The Great Courses Plus is a subscription video on-demand learning service where you can watch top-notch lectures from experts from Ivy League Universities, National Geographic, the Smithsonian, the Culinary Institute of America and more well-known institutions. They have a library of over 7,000 lectures about pretty much anything and everything—you can learn how to cook, how to play chess, become a better photographer—pretty much anything you want to learn, they have a lecture on it. I personally really enjoyed a course by National Geographic called National Geographic Polar Explorations which teaches all about the science, history, and culture of the polar regions. If you want to learn about this or any of the hundreds of other topics they have, you can do so for free for a month by signing up at theGreatCoursesPlus.
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