Discovering America: 35 Lesser-Known Facts – Part 2

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1Sacramento Public Library

Sacramento Public Library

In 2015, the Sacramento Public Library started a “Library of Things”, allowing patrons to check out, among other things, sewing machines and other items that patrons may find useful, but don't need to own long-term.

2. North Carolina's copy of the Bill of Rights, stolen by a Union soldier in 1865, was recovered by an FBI sting operation in 2003.

3. The University of Oregon's "O" hand sign is equivalent in American Sign Language to screaming "Vagina."

4. The United States has military equipment stashed away in large caves (Frigaard Cave) in Norway so that if they need to defend them, the U.S. can just fly in troops and use the prepositioned equipment.

5. In Yreka, California, a bakery operated for 100 years called the Yreka Bakery, which formed a palindrome. When the business closed and a gallery opened in the same spot, they named themselves the Yrella Gallery so that it would also form a palindrome.

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Barrow, Alaska, the northernmost town in the U.S. changed its name in 2016 to Utqiaġvik, its traditional Iñupiaq name.

7. Montpelier, Vermont is the only United States capital without a McDonald’s.

8. In Boston, if you report a pothole, you get back both a photo of the filled pothole and a photo of the team that filled it.

9. Polio vaccination rates in Seattle is just 81.4% which is worse than Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Algeria, El Salvador, Guyana, Sudan, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia and Yemen, according to the WHO.

10. In 2017, U.S.A. overtook Mexico again as the most obese nation in the world with estimates that 50% of the nation will be obese by 2030.

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11Columbus day

Columbus day

Seattle changed Columbus day to indigenous peoples day in 2014 to acknowledge that native Americans were living in the Americas long before Columbus "discovered" it.

12. In 2013, California shut down an elder care facility (Valley Springs Manor) but didn't relocate the residents before the owners stopped operations. The janitor (Miguel Alvarez) and cook (Maurice Rowland) stayed behind, unpaid, to give around-the-clock care to 16 patients for two days.

13. Seattle has a "tiny house" village that homeless residents can use to sleep, eat and shower. It costs residents $90 a month to cover utilities and is designed to help them get back on their feet.

14. In 2007, when Minnesota passed an anti-smoking law that banned smoking in public buildings, there was a line that said only actors who had to smoke were allowed to do so. Thus, the Barnacles Bar declared that everyone in the bar is an actor in a live performance.

15. New Jersey is home to more scientists and engineers per square mile than anywhere else in the world.

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16Centralia mine fire

Centralia mine fire

The Centralia mine in Pennsylvania has been on fire since 1962 and is expected to burn for another 250 years minimum.

17. The streets in Northeast Minneapolis were named after the U.S. presidents in order of their election to help new residents from Poland, Ukraine, Lebanon, and Germany prepare for citizenship exams.

18. In New Orleans, for a few hundred dollars, you and your friends can rent a brass band and have your very own police escorted personal parade.

19. During the 1980 New Mexico prison riot, prisoners in protective custody waited for 5 hours while prison gangs cut their way into the cell block with blow torches and then tortured and killed them. They could have escaped through a rear door, but the guards refused to open it.

20. In Los Angeles, you can serve a jail sentence in a much nicer "pay-to-serve" jails for $100. These allow day release for employment, food delivery, and better-visiting conditions. Those that can't pay as much clean the jail.

21Mount Elbert

Mount Elbert

Colorado's two tallest mountains (Mount Elbert and Mount Massive) are so close to each other in height that fans of each mountain would repeatedly pile up rocks to try and make their preferred mountain taller.

22. Philadelphia is known as "The City of Brotherly Love" because it's composed of the Greek words for love (phileo) and brother (adelphos).

23. Louisiana has its own version of French called "Creole French" which only 70,000 people can speak. It varies so much from standard French that native French speakers cannot understand it.

24. Charleston, Arkansas was the first southern school system to integrate (not Little Rock, AR.) When asked how it could be done without violence, an attorney named Dale Bumpers said, "We'll just do it." The board integrated the schools without announcing it to the press, and there was no violence.

25. Massachusetts guaranteed access to all public schools to every child in 1845, after a group of black whalers from Nantucket, accustomed to the relative equality they had on whaling ships, began a boycott and petition campaign.

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