14 Fun Facts About Illinois

From the world’s tallest man, to the biggest cookie factory, and even the very first Dairy Queen, Illinoisans have plenty to be proud of. The state has a wealth of history to be uncovered, and interesting quirky bits of information that you might not have known about! Here are 14 interesting facts about the Land of Lincoln. 

1. World’s Tallest Man

Alton was home to the world’s tallest man. He was born in 1918 and grew to eight feet, 11 inches in height, weighing 491 pounds as an adult. As the tallest man in history, he wore size 37 shoes. 

2. First Dairy Queen

The Dairy Queen Franchise began in Joliet. It first opened on June 22, 1940. It served soft serve ice cream and other frozen treats. 

3. World’s Largest Cookie Factory

Chicago is home to the world’s largest cookie and cracker factory. In 1995, Nabisco made 16 billion Oreo cookies there. 

4. First McDonald’s

The first McDonald’s in history opened in Des Plaines in 1955. Now visitors can see the McDonald’s Store Museum within the original store. 

5. Original ice cream sundae

The ice cream sundae originated in Evanston. Ice cream sodas were prohibited on Sundays, so drug store operators started serving ice cream with syrup instead of soda on Sundays. Objections were made to christen the dish, so it became officially established as a “sundae” shortly after. 

6. First modern skyscraper

The world’s first modern skyscraper was built in Chicago. In 1885, The Home Insurance Building made skyscraper history. It was demolished 47 years later.

7. Personalized license plates

There are more personalized car license plates in Illinois than anywhere in the country. 

8. World’s Largest Public Library

The world’s largest public library is in Chicago. The Chicago Public Library features a collection of over two million books. 

9. Only drive-through post office

The world’s only drive-through post office is located downtown Chicago. It’s the only place you can get your mail on the go. 

10. First round silo

A farm in Spring Grove constructed the world’s first round silo for storing silage. Now there are silos in rural areas all across the country. 

11. Superman’s home

Superman’s fictional home Metropolis is located in southern Illinois, 360 miles south of Chicago. They host an annual Superman Celebration. 

12. An unusual river

The Chicago River flows backwards. It’s one of the only rivers in the world with that trait. Each year it’s dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day. 

13. Route 66 starting point

Historic Route 66 starts in Chicago, specifically at the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Lake Shore Drive. The Federal Highway Commission established its origin in 1926. 

14. Prehistoric Illinois

Tullimonstrum gregarium, commonly known as the Tully Monster, is the state fossil. This carnivorous invertebrate lived in the shallow swamp that’s now Illinois. It resembled a cuttlefish and lived approximately 300 million years ago. 

Select a Illinois town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Best Things To Do Near You
Enter City / State or Zip code below
Best Places To Go Near You
Enter City / State or Zip code below
Select your town to find the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you:

Adams County

Alexander County

Bond County

Boone County

Brown County

Bureau County

Calhoun County

Carroll County

Cass County

Champaign County

Christian County

Clark County

Clay County

Clinton County

Coles County

Cook County

Crawford County

Cumberland County

Dekalb County

Dewitt County

Douglas County

Du Page County

Dupage County

Edgar County

Edwards County

Effingham County

Fayette County

Ford County

Franklin County

Fulton County

Gallatin County

Greene County

Grundy County

Hamilton County

Hancock County

Hardin County

Henderson County

Henry County

Iroquois County

Jackson County

Jasper County

Jefferson County

Jersey County

Jo Daviess County

Johnson County

Kane County

Kankakee County

Kendall County

Knox County

La Salle County

Lake County

Lawrence County

Lee County

Livingston County

Logan County

Macon County

Macoupin County

Madison County

Marion County

Marshall County

Mason County

Massac County

McHenry County

Mcdonough County

Mchenry County

Mclean County

Menard County

Mercer County

Monroe County

Montgomery County

Morgan County

Moultrie County

Ogle County

Peoria County

Perry County

Piatt County

Pike County

Pope County

Pulaski County

Putnam County

Randolph County

Richland County

Rock Island County

Saint Clair County

Saline County

Sangamon County

Schuyler County

Scott County

Shelby County

Stark County

Stephenson County

Tazewell County

Union County

Vermilion County

Wabash County

Warren County

Washington County

Wayne County

White County

Whiteside County

Will County

Williamson County

Winnebago County

Woodford County