Illinois State Trivia

21st Illinois is the 21st state. It was brought into the union and made statehood on December 3rd, 1818.

First President The very first president born in Illinois was Ronald Reagan. He was inaugurated in 1980.

Abraham Lincoln, a senator from Illinois, was born outside of Hodgenville, Kentucky.

Michael & Emily In Illinois, Michael is the top name chosen for boys. Emily is the most chosen name for girls.

Origin of Illinois The word “Illinois” comes from two languages: an Indian prefix and french suffix.

It means “the tribe of superior men.”

Pennies in Illinois Save your pennies! Illinois is the only state that allows pennies to be used in its highway toll booths.

Prairie Grass In 1989 the Big Bluestem became the state prairie grass.

The General Assembly adopted this designation following a poll of students conducted by the Illinois Department of Conservation.

Prairie State Land of Lincoln? Not quite… The nickname for Illinois is the “Prairie State.”

State Animal Hunters be happy! The Illinois state animal is the whitetailed deer.

Illinois schoolchildren voted to select the whitetailed deer as the state animal in 1980.

The vote was made official by the General Assembly in 1982.

State Bird The Illinois State Bird is the Cardinal.

The Cardinal is known for its bright red plummage (males), crowned head, and the fact that it stays in Illinois yearround.

State Dance Round and round and round we go!

Though not terribly popular in Chicago, the Square Dance was designated as the official state dance in 1990.

State Fish Schoolchildren selected the Bluegill as the state fish in 1986.

Although the Bluegill grows to only about 9 inches in length and weighs less than a pound, it has a reputation as one of the best fighting game fish.

State Flower Every spring Illinoians witness the blooming of our beautiful State Flower:

the Native Violet.

State Fossil The Tully Monster is the state fossil!

The Tully Monster was a softbodied marine animal that lived 280 to 340 million years ago.

More than 100 Tully Monster fossils have been found in Illinois.

State Insect In 1974 a thirdgrader from Decatur suggested that the monarch butterfly become the state insect.

Congratulations! Schoolchildren lobbied for the monarch butterfly and the General Assembly passed a bill making it official in 1975.

State Mineral The General Assembly established Fluorite as the state mineral in 1965. Illinois is the largest producer of Fluorite in the United States.

Fluorite is used in making steel, enamels, aluminum, glass, and many chemicals.

State Motto The Illinois state motto is: “State Sovereignty, National Union.” In 1818, this motto appeared on the original state seal.