All About Ohio: Facts, Features, and Fun

Learn More About the "Buckeye State"

Male Northern Cardinal
••• The Cardinal is Ohio's state bird. Johann SchumacherCollection:Photolibrary

If you're planning to travel to Ohio for your vacation, there are a variety of interesting facts associated with the state that you may not know before departing that would be helpful in experiencing the diverse culture and vast history of the state.

From the state bird to the largest county, lowest geographical region, and longest river, these facts help inform visitors of the diversity that the Buckeye state offers its guests.

Of the accomplishments under Ohio's belt, the state was the first to have an ambulance in 1865 (Cincinnati), the first to have a traffic light erected in 1914 (Cleveland), and the first professional fire department in Cincinnati. Other notable inventions include the pop-top can in Kettering, the cash register in Dayton in 1879, the first push-button for pedestrian crossings in 1948, and the first automobile manufactured in the United States in Ohio City (then a separate entity) in 1891.

Ohio State Symbols

As with all other states in the United States, Ohio has a list of official symbols and objects associated with the state itself. The official state bird, for instance, is the cardinal, while the official state tree is the Buckeye tree (which is why Ohio is called the Buckeye State). 

The state flower is the red carnation while the state animal is the whitetail deer, which populates most of the region; interestingly, the state insect is the ladybug, the state wildflower is Trillium, the state stone is flint, and the official state beverage is tomato juice.

The official state motto is "With God, All Things Are Possible," while the official state song is "Beautiful Ohio" and Ohio's Official Rock Song is "Hang on Sloopy."

Ohio Geography and History

Ohio was officially admitted to the Union on March 1, 1803, as the 17th state to join the Union, and since then Ohio has been home to eight presidents of the United States, and although the capital city was originally Chillicothe, it changed to Columbus in 1816.

Of the 88 total counties in Ohio that make up its 44,828 square miles, Ashtabula County is the largest at 711 square miles while Lake County is the smallest at 232 square miles. As of the 2010 census, Ohio is the seventh most populous state in the United States with 11,536,504 residents officially residing in the state at the time of the census.

Ohio stretches 205 miles from north to south and 230 miles from east to west, making it the 37th largest state in the United States. The state also features 74 state parks and 20 forests. The highest point in the state is 1549 feet above sea level at Campbell Hill in Logan County while the lowest, at 455 feet above sea level, is found in the Ohio River near Cincinnati in Hamilton County.

Ohio Government and Education

Current government officials for the state of Ohio include 16 seats in the United States Congress, two senators, and all elected officials of the state itself including state legislature and executive branches.

The current governor of Ohio is Republican John Kasich, who's served two terms in office since he was first elected in 2010, and the Lieutenant Governor is Republican Mary Taylor, who was sworn in shortly after Kasich in January 2011. Their cabinet consists of Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, Republican Treasurer Josh Mandel, and Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted. However, 2018 brings another election year to the state so these may change in November of this year.

Sherrod Brown has served as the Democratic senator in the U.S. Senate since 2007 while Rob Portman has served the state as a Republican senator since 2011—both are up for reelection in 2018.

Ohio also features a number of educational institutions including public and private colleges and universities and community colleges and technical schools. Along with the Ohio State University, Kent State University, Ohio University, Cleveland State University, and Bowling Green State University, Ohio boasts 13 total public colleges. It also features 65 private institutions including Oberlin University, Case Western Reserve University, John Carrol University, and Hiram University and 24 community colleges and technical schools including Cuyahoga Community College and Lorain County Community College.