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11 Reasons Illinois Is Better Than Your State

Come on, you know it's true.

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1. Rebellious drugstore owners in Evanston defied ice cream soda bans by inventing the delicious ice cream sundae.

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Evanston used to be very religious, and leaders of the town banned selling ice cream sodas on Sundays due to the "immorality" of soda fountains. In response, snarky drugstore operators served ice cream with the syrup but sans soda, which they called "Sundays." These same smart alecks then changed the name to "sundae" when the religious objected.

2. Illinois is where wanderlust grew from a dream into an actual possibility.


Commercial air travel was first made possible in Illinois. Jane Eads, a reporter from the Chicago Herald, was the first-ever commercial passenger. She flew from Maywood to Iowa City on July 1, 1927, on a Boeing biplane and freaked out the whole time.

3. Arcades were basically born in Chicago in the 1930s.

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What's the most important staple of every arcade? Pinball, which is based on the French billiard game of bagatelle. But the modern, coin-operated pinball machines with the flashing lights and dinging bells were created in Chicago during the Great Depression to pick up spirits of the unemployed.

4. Chicago had the very first all-color TV station ever.

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On April 15, 1956, Chicago added a little color to cable when WNBQ became the first all-color television station. Most stations around the U.S. were still showing mostly black-and-white programming.

5. Aurora was the first city in the U.S. to light their nights up with electricity.

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In 1881, Aurora became the first city in America to use fully electric street lighting, earning the city the nickname of the City of Lights.

6. The largest (and probably most fragrant) bakery in the world is the Nabisco factory in Chicago.

The Nabisco factory — located at 7300 South Kedzie Ave. — is the largest cookie factory in the world. In 1995, it churned out a mouthwatering 1.5 billion Oreos!

7. Jane Addams of Cedarville was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

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The second woman ever to receive the Peace Prize, Jane Addams was the founder of the Hull House to aid immigrants and the founder of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. She was awarded the Peace Prize in 1931. You go, girl!

8. Chicago's Shedd Aquarium is the second largest in the whole world with 5 million -- yes, MILLION -- gallons.

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With that amount of water, the Shedd can hold a whole lot of fish. In fact, the aquarium, which was opened in 1930, houses over 20,000 specimens.

9. Chicagoan Robert Henry Lawrence, Jr. beat the odds to become the first African American astronaut in 1967.


Lawrence, an Air Force pilot with a Ph.D. in Chemistry, was selected as an astronaut in the Manned Orbital Laboratory, a precursor to the Shuttle Program. Unfortunately, he never made it into space.

10. Josephine Cochran of Shelbyville spared a lot of hands and china when she invented the automatic dishwasher.

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Cochran was a wealthy socialite who was frustrated that her family's antique china would often get chipped during hand-washing. Her invention was unveiled at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, and dry hands have been a worry of the past ever since.

11. Chicago reached for the stars by erecting the first-ever skyscraper in 1885.

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The Home Insurance Building, once located at Adams Street and LaSalle Street in Chicago, was the world’s first modern skyscraper. William Le Baron Jenney engineered the revolutionary steel frame, which made this and all other skyscrapers possible. It was knocked down and replaced in 1931.

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