Little-known things about your city or state

Tell us about some fact or piece of trivia about your city or state that is interesting but little-known.

Colorado Springs:
The city zoo is one of approximately 10 accredited zoos in the entire nation that does not receive a penny of taxpayer money. It’s also the only zoo that’s built on a mountainside.

The capitol building is truly unique. It contains a type of stone called variously Colorado Rose Onyx or Beulah Red Marble (for the town of Beulah), which is actually a type of reddish/pinkish-colored marble. Here’s a picture of it.

It came from a single quarry, and has never been discovered anywhere else, before or since. So as far as anybody knows, the Colorado capitol contains quite literally the entire world’s supply of this stone.

I lived in a really small rural town for ten years, the very existence of which was little-known. Prior to moving there, when I was looking for a small rural town to move to, I drove right through the place several times before I even noticed it was there.

(ETA: Yes, true story.)

New Jersey: Sequential governors Christie Todd Whitman, Jim McGreevy and Jon Corzine all suffered broken legs while in office.

Welcome to New Jersey, where we break our governors’ legs.

One of Portland’s nicknames is “Stumptown”. The name came to be back when the city first started really developing and the place was a landscape of tree stumps that nobody had time to remove.

The Detroit Zoo isn’t in Detroit, it’s in Royal Oak.

Detroit Metro airport isn’t in Detroit, it’s in Romulus.

Detroit Diesel isn’t in Detroit, it’s in Redford.

Illinois. George Harrison visited here a year before the Beatles arrived in New York during Beatlemania.

New Hampshire was a source for the Royal Navy’s mast’s for some years.

The Piscataqua River by Portsmouth NH has substantial tidal currents.

Pretty common, really.
The Indianapolis Speedway isn’t in Indianapolis, it’s in Speedway.
Road Atlanta is in Braselton.
The Atlanta Motor Speedway is in Hampton.

Cincinnati Airport isn’t even in Ohio.

In all fairness though… you can’t get to Speedway, IN without driving through Indianapolis (unless I suppose you have a helicopter). I think it has remained a separate town just for the name.

Topeka< Kansas is the boyhood home of Rex Stout, author of the Nero Wolfe novels. Nero Wolfe’s investigator Archie Goodwin is named after a Topeka policeman from the 1920’s who found young Rex Stout’s stolen crank-up record player.

Clevelander Garrett Morgan invented a hair straightening chemical, a breathing hood for smoke/fire situations and a rudimentary first version of the modern traffic light. Morgan and his brother used his special breathing hood to save lives during an emergency in a tunnel that was being drilled under Lake Erie by personally going in to the wreckage and pulling out living and dead victims. Morgan was not credited with the rescue in many publications because he was black. He also could not sell his hood himself because he was black. He eventually was honored for his traffic signal invention by the US Government, and was also eventually honored for his role in the Lake Erie tunnel event.

Anyway, the traffic signal was, for the most part, invented in Cleveland by a black guy. So was a life-saving breathing hood (a lot of places will say that the gas mask was invented in Cleveland but that is erroneous - according to Wikipedia, Morgan’s invention would not work against gas, as it relies on having clean air at ground level).

Montpelier, VT is the only state capitol without a McDonald’s.

Interesting. My cousin and her fiancee live in Beulah, CO and I have spent time there. That is a really tiny and obscure town that you don’t expect to run across in any discussions like this. I assume they know this factoid already but I will mention it to them anyway.

ZipperJJ, your story reminds me of a man name Joe Thompson. After a long, accomplished life he died in 2003. I met Joe, he was a member of the church I belong to, but I didn’t know him well. He had a lot of “firsts” This is a clip from his obituary in the Topeka Capital-Journal.

As a boy Joe joined the Boy Scouts of America when scouting was only eight-years-old. He was denied membership in the local white troop and became a lone Scout, earning awards on his own without the support of a Scout troop. Joe earned the Eagle Scout rank and he served as a Scoutmaster for 10 years. He was a member of the Jayhawk Area Council board at the time of his death, and may hold the record for the longest actively reg istered person in the Boy Scouts of America. - See more at:

Those from the Detroit area might refer to Canadians as “our neighbors to the south”, as Windsor lies south of Detroit.

The Kansas City Country Club Plaza, which opened in 1922, was America’s first outdoor shopping mall.

Missouri ties with Tennessee as the most "neighborly” state in the U.S., bordered by eight states.

My wife partly grew up in Salem, NJ. The Salem river reverses direction at high tide.

They claim that Fairmount Park in Philadelphia (my home town) is the largest urban park in the nation. (Is it really bigger than Central Park?)

Rhode Island has two notable firsts:

On June 28, 1877, President Rutherford B. Hayes, visiting Rocky Point Park with Gov Charles Van Zandt, addressed a large crowd honoring Civil War veteran while enjoying a traditional clambake. He then made the first phone call by a president when he talked with Alexander Graham Bell who was in Providence at the time.

The Westminster Arcade, also known as the Providence Arcade, Arcade Providence, or The Arcade, is a historic shopping center at 130 Westminster Street and 65 Weybosset Street in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Built in 1828, it is notable as the first enclosed shopping mall in the United States

If you open Google Earth and zoom straight down without rotating the globe, you’ll land in Lawrence KS.

(The story I’ve heard is that one of the lead developers on the Google Earth project was a KU grad, and the actual location it zooms in on is an apartment he lived in while in college.)


The Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport is in Bloomington, much to the consternation of the mayor of Bloomington. Minneapolis’s famous Mall of America is also in Bloomington…

The original name for the state capital was Pig’s Eye, the name of a famous bootlegger who lived in a cave on the river bank.