Astronauts, Presidents, Inventors…and Football

6 reasons Ohio's story is totally unique

The seventeenth state to join the union was Ohio on March 1, 1803. However, no formal declaration was made about Ohio’s statehood, and it wasn’t until 1953 that President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed documents officially making Ohio a state. (Thank goodness the documents made the declaration retroactive to 1803!) About 12 million people live in the Buckeye State, so called because of the large amount of Ohio Buckeye trees in the state. Surprisingly, about 50% of the population of the United States lives within a 500-mile radius of the city of Columbus, Ohio. The Buckeye State also has one of the largest Amish populations in the country. But there’s so much more to Ohio—here are six reasons this state isn’t like any of the other 49.


Ohio boasts several firsts in public service and safety.

Thank goodness for Ohio! Much of the foundation of public safety in our country can be credited to the state. In 1853, the first professional city fire department was created in Cincinnati. Before this, volunteers and private companies fought fires, and afterward, it was common for individuals to be charged for such services. The first ambulance service was established in Ohio in 1865 by the Community Hospital in Cincinnati. And in 1899, Akron, Ohio, was the first city to ever use a police car. The “car” was actually a wagon that was run by electricity. The downside was that the vehicle could only travel at 16 miles per hour, and every 30 miles, it had to be recharged. But, hey—it was certainly a great start and it was what led to the police cruisers of today!

The 18th President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant / Wikipedia

Seven of our nation’s leaders were born in the Buckeye State.

Ohio is the birthplace of more of our country’s presidents than any other state. Ohio afforded the United States its 18th president, Ulysses S. Grant, its 19th president, Rutherford B. Hayes, its 20th president, James A. Garfield, its 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison, its 25th president, William McKinley, its 27th president, William H. Taft and its 29th president, Warren G. Harding.

Pro Football Hall of Fame / Wikipedia

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in the city of Canton.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in 1963 in Canton, Ohio—the result of the city of Canton lobbying the National Football League for the honor of being home to the Hall of Fame. The NFL chose Canton for two reasons—first, the NFL was founded in Canton in 1920 and second, the Canton Bulldogs (a now-defunct team) were a successful NFL team during the first few years after the NFL was formed.

The mission of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is “to honor the heroes of the game, preserve its history, promote its values and celebrate excellence everywhere.” Each year, the Hall of Fame inducts between four and eight “enshrinees.” The 2019 enshrinees—who are to be inducted in a ceremony in August of 2019—are Tony Gonzalez, Ed Reed, Champ Bailey, Pat Bowlen, Ty Law, Kevin Mawae, Gil Brandt, and Johnny Robinson. Including these enshrinees, there are now 326 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Tickets to the museum in Canton, Ohio, are $26 for adults, $22 for seniors (65 and better) and $19 for children. Tickets to the enshrinement ceremony in August 2019 cost between $29 and $175, depending on seats chosen. For more information, visit www.profootballhof.com.

Thomas Edison / Wikipedia

Goosebumps, a golfer, diners and LeBron James

The list of celebrities that were born in Ohio is quite lengthy. In addition to film director and partner in Dreamworks, Stephen Spielberg being born in the Buckeye State, Ohio is also the birthplace of singers John Legend and Dean Martin, Henry Mancini, golfer Jack Nicklaus, basketball star LeBron James, Olympic ice skater Scott Hamilton and the inventor with the most patents of any American—Thomas Alva Edison. Dr. Oz and Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives host, restauranteur Guy Fieri were born in Ohio. Author of the children’s book series, Goosebumps, R. L. Stine was too, as were Halle Berry, Anne Heche, Clark Gable, Sarah Jessica Parker, Teri Garr, Drew Carey, Paul Newman, Doris Day, Molly Shannon and Jonathan Winters.

Neil Armstrong / Wikipedia

Ohio is the birthplace of astronauts.

We’re not sure what the correlation is between Ohio and outer space, but some of the best-known astronauts in the history of the American space race have been from the Buckeye State. John Glenn was born in Cambridge, Ohio, in 1920. Glenn was the first American to orbit the earth. In 1962, he circled the earth three times. After his retirement from NASA, Glenn served as Ohio senator from 1974 to 1999.

James Lovell was born in Cleveland in 1928. He was the commander of the Apollo 13 mission to the moon that suffered a critical failure. Thanks to Lovell and his crew, the crippled spacecraft was brought back safely to earth.

Astronaut Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta, Ohio, in 1930 and was the first person to walk on the moon. Armstrong uttered the famous words “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” from the surface of the moon during the Apollo 11 mission on July 20, 1969.

Astronaut Sunita Williams was born in Euclid, Ohio, in 1965. She worked mainly on the International Space Station, and once held the record for total number of spacewalks by a woman and most spacewalk time for a woman.

Vacuum inventor James Murray Spangler / Wikipedia

Ohio was also the birthplace of several inventions.

Ohio natives are a creative and ingenious bunch. Many of our modern conveniences began as the brainchildren of people living in Ohio. In 1869, W. F. Semple from Vernon, Ohio, received a patent for chewing gum. He and Amos Tyler of Toledo, Ohio, are credited with the creation, but it is Semple who received the patent. In 1878, James Ritty from Dayton, Ohio, invented the cash register, and in 1907, a janitor named Murray Spangler from Canton, Ohio invented the vacuum cleaner. It was Spangler’s relative, W. H. Hoover, who manufactured and sold the vacuum cleaners around the globe.

In 1911, Charles Kettering from Loudonville, Ohio, created the automobile self-starter. No more need to crank! And in 1938—strictly by accident—Roy J. Plunkett from New Carlisle, Ohio, discovered Teflon. And these inventions are just the beginning!

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