By Lisa Powell
Ohio commemorates March 1 as Statehood Day. On this day in 1803, the Ohio General Assembly met for the first time in Chillicothe, then the state capital.
Here are 17 things to know about the 17th state in the Union, according to the Ohio History Connection.
1. Ohio is an Iroquois word that means “great river.” The Iroquois Indians began settling in the region in 1650.
2. Ohio became the 17th state of the Union when President Thomas Jefferson endorsed the United States Congress’s decision to grant statehood on Feb. 19, 1803. Due to an oversight, Ohio wasn’t “officially” admitted to the United States until Aug. 7, 1953. Congress never took a formal vote back in 1803.
3. Chillicothe became Ohio’s first state capital in 1803. The Ross County courthouse served as the first statehouse the same year.
4. Buckeye trees are prolific in the state, giving Ohio the nickname the Buckeye State. Aesculus glabra was designated the official state tree by the Ohio legislature in 1953. The nuts of the buckeye tree resemble the shape and color of a deer’s eye, giving it its name.
5. Eight presidents have come from Ohio: William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft, and Warren G. Harding.
6. The northern cardinal became the state bird in 1933. Ohio isn’t the only state with a fondness for the beautiful red bird. The cardinal is also the state bird of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
7. Ohio is one of five states that uses the word “God” in its state motto. “With God All Things Are Possible” became the state motto on Oct. 1, 1959. Ohio’s first motto was Imperium in Imperio, which means “Empire within an Empire.”
8. “Beautiful Ohio” became the Ohio state song in 1969. The state rock song, “Hang on Sloopy,” was approved by the Ohio General Assembly in 1985.
9. Ohioan Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon in 1969.
10. Every state flag is a rectangle except Ohio’s, according to Awesome Almanac Ohio. The Buckeyes flag is burgee-shaped, which means a pennant with two points. The tips on the flag represent the state’s hills and valleys. The white circle is an O for Ohio and the 17 stars represent Ohio becoming the 17th state.
11. The Great Serpent Mound in Adams County is the largest earthen effigy in the world. It was built by ancient American Indian cultures of Ohio and represents a snake with a curled tail.
12. The red carnation became the official state flower in 1904. It was chosen to honor President William McKinley, who was assassinated in 1901. McKinley was known to wear red carnations in the lapel of his jacket.
13. The origins of the 4-H Club began in Ohio when it got its start in 1902 in Clark County. Albert Belmont Graham, the superintendent of Springfield Township Schools, organized a meeting for boys and girls to learn more about harvesting corn, tying knots and planting gardens.
14. Sharp shooter Annie Oakley, known as “Little Miss Sure Shot,” was born in Darke County, Ohio. Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler, joined “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West Show and performed around the world.
15. Barbed wire was patented by Lucien B. Smith of Kent, Ohio in 1867. The inventor claimed his wire, made of iron, was adapted for the prairies of the western states.
16. The first game of what would become the National Football League was played in Ohio. The Dayton Triangles beat the Columbus Panhandles on Oct. 3, 1920 at Triangle Park in Dayton.
17. Tomato juice became Ohio’s state beverage in 1965. By that time the state had become the second leading producer of tomato juice in the country – only California produced more.