Ohio is the heartland of America. As the home to eight of our presidents, the 2014 National Football Champions, and the unluckiest sports franchise in the nation, the 17th state to join the United States in 1803 has an interesting history.
When people who’ve never had the pleasure of living in the greatest state in the Union are asked what’s here, they say something along the lines of corn, old factories, and god awful sports teams. As a lifelong Ohio resident, I know we have so much more to offer.
So, here are the 17 best things the United States of America has to thank Ohio for.
Cleveland isn’t just home of the most cursed sports franchise in America — the CLE gets to claim Superman, as well. In the late 1930s, amongst the Great Depression and a brewing war across both oceans, the DC superhero emerged and saved America’s youth from the world around them. Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s famous house is still able to be viewed in Cleveland to this day.
2. Quaker Oatmeal
Yeah, that’s right. The stuff that comes in that fun cylindrical container your grandma let you use as a drum came from Akron, Ohio. In the dynamic year of 1877, Henry Parsons Crowell decided that everyone should have the right to a great bowl of oatmeal, and the rest is history. Today, Quaker Square is owned by The University of Akron, and is home to a variety of dining, shopping, and hotel opportunities. For a fun way to upgrade your oatmeal, check out this article.
3. Hot Dogs
Okay, this one is pretty controversial. I’ve spent about four hours researching this one, but I’m going to give Ohio the benefit of the doubt and say that the official food of America’s past time were first sold by a man from Niles, Ohio. The inventor, Harry Mosley Stevens, originally called them “red hot dachshund sausages,” but the journalist covering the Giants game that day didn’t know how to spell dachshund, so he called it a “hot dog” instead. Thus, the hot dog was born, and to this day anyone can visit Niles, Ohio for the Hot Dog Day celebration. If you want to try a cool take on the hot dog, try this cool recipe.
4. Stadium Mustard
We can’t have hot dogs on the list without stadium mustard, and we can’t have stadium mustard without Cleveland. When I asked someone who actually likes mustard what it tastes like, they said it’s like dijon mustard mixed with regular mustard — a little spicy, a little original, a lot of Cleveland. If you want to try it, take a trip up to the 216 and watch an Indians game at Progressive Field, located right on Lake Erie. I promise, it’s worth it.
Yet another Akron original, the Rubber City was the #1 rubber producing city in the world during World War II. This brought hella jobs and hella money to the area, even employing my very own great grandfather. Akron is the home of the original Goodyear blimp, Firestone Tire Company, and of course Goodrich. On any given summer day, the blimp can be heard flying around the area, and to this day, tours are given at Wingfoot Lake, one of the oldest airship bases in America. Go Akron.
6. Skyline Chili
Don’t think I forgot about the bottom of the state. People from Cincinnati are proud, and won’t waste a second telling you that they’re from Cincy, and will be sure to tell you about their obsession with Skyline Chili. From an outsider’s point of view, Skyline is some delicious chili on top of pasta. Yep, you read that right, pasta. (Or french fries, whatever tickles your fancy). Cincinnatians swear by it, and so do I. Find the closest Skyline to you right here.
Thomas Alva Edison, America’s favorite inventor, was born in little old Ohio. Thomas himself came up with this really cool idea of a bulb that gives off light. Rad, huh? If it wasn’t for him, you’d probably be reading this article on a newspaper next to a candle. So thanks, Edison, for arguably one of the most influential inventions of the 20th century. Tours are available for his birth home in the beautiful town of Milan today.
Guess who? T. Edison is back with yet another invention that changed the course of history — and that’s the phonograph. For those of you who don’t know, the phonograph was your great great grandparents’ iPod, and revolutionized the way music was listened to. It led the way to inventions such as the record player, the walkman, and, eventually, the beloved iPod.
Damn, Akron, back at it again another great invention. Those things that keep your pants up, keep your coat closed, and keeps your tent raccoon-free — AKA zippers — had their name coined by B.F. Goodrich in Akron back in 1923. The name came from the sound a zipper makes, and to this day the University of Akron’s mascot is named Zippy just for that invention. Way to use onomatopoeia, Goodrich.
10. Buckeye Candies
This is one for the whole state, because if you’re an Ohioan, you’re also a Buckeye. This chocolate-peanut butter candy originated in the Buckeye state and resembles the nut from the Buckeye tree. It’s impossible to find someone who was born and raised in Ohio and has never had or heard of a Buckeye — it’s basically our state candy. So go pick some carnations for your vase, sit back, and enjoy the sight of a cardinal or a white tail deer in your backyard, you proud Ohioan.
11. Pop-Top Can
This is something every college drinker can appreciate — the first pop-top can was invented in Kettering, Ohio by Ermal Fraze in the 1960s. Little did Fraze know his invention would help college students everywhere compete to chug their beer faster than their frat brothers. This is what invention and innovation is all about, folks.
Contrary to what North Carolina’s license plates say, Aviation was born in Ohio. Orville and Wilbur Wright were born in Dayton, Ohio, and in 1903, they decided to take their first flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Ever since, proud little fourth graders all over Ohio learn about the Wright brothers and are trained to recite these facts to you until the day they die. So yes, we did make planes. And yes, we’ll keep claiming that until it’s past irrelevant.
13. Life Savers
The candy, not the flotation device. Although, these candies were shaped and named after the flotation device. Life Savers were invented in Garrettsville, Ohio in 1912 by a concerned father named Clarence Crane, who wanted a summer candy that wouldn’t melt in his kids’ hands like chocolate did. Well done, and good lookin’ out, Clarence.
14. The National Football League
Canton, Ohio is the home of the Football Hall of Fame and the Hall of Fame Parade that brings countless crazy football fans and football greats into town each year. What some people don’t know is that it is also the home of the National Football League, started in September of 1920. So next time you sit down to watch some Sunday afternoon football, think of Canton, and next time you’re in the area, visit the Hall of Fame.
15. Steven Spielberg
Here you were, thinking that Ohio didn’t even give us anything recent. You were surely mistaken, because one of the most important directors/producers of all time is from Ohio. Spielberg is responsible for movies like E.T., Jaws, Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Poltergeist, and Super 8. In fact, the movie Super 8 is set in Ohio. You have my permission to drop that little fun fact in at parties.
16. Fire Departments
Cincinnati must have been pretty on top of their stuff back in the day, because they are responsible for the first professional fire department. In 1853, Cincinnati established the country’s first fully professional, fully paid fire department. Everywhere else is just a copycat.
17. Ohio University
My personal favorite on this list is my hOUme, Ohio University. It was the first university established in the Northwest Territory by Rufus Putnam and Manasseh Cutler in 1804, and can boast several nationally ranked programs, including Journalism and Sports Management. Ohio University was Playboy Magazine’s #1 Party School of 2015, and has impressive alumni like Arsenio Hall, Matt Lauer, Piper Perabo, and Mary Murphy (that screaming judge from So You Think You Can Dance). We have the best school spirit, the friendliest campus, the best drunk food, and the coolest squirrels in the entire state. Basically, OU is the best, and if you are ever near Athens County, you need to visit.