Exploring American Monsters: South Dakota

South Dakota is a state in the Midwestern U.S. It’s the seventeenth largest of the United States, but the fifth least populated. Famous residents include TV game show host Bob Barker, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, TV journalist Tom Brokaw, and Charlie’s Angel Cheryl Ladd. It’s also home to Wall Drug Store. Located on the edge of the Badlands in the town of Wall, people as far away as France, Afghanistan,…

Exploring American Monsters: South Carolina

South Carolina, one of the original thirteen British colonies, was the first to ratify the original U.S. Constitution (the Articles of Confederation) in 1781, and was the first state to vote to leave the United States during the Civil War in 1860 (don’t worry, it came back). South Carolina is known for many other firsts for the U.S.: the first round of golf in the New World was played in…

Exploring American Monsters: Rhode Island

Rhode Island is the smallest of the United States. In size, literally fiftieth out of fifty at 1,545 square miles (the same size as a single county, Marathon, in Wisconsin). It’s forty-third in population density at a little more than a million. One of the original British colonies, it is called an island because the colony began on Aquidneck Island in Narragansett Bay, and Rhode because the colony was once referred…

Exploring American Monsters: Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, one of America’s thirteen original British colonies, is a treasure trove of important points in United States history. Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the building in which the Declaration of Independence, as well as the U.S. Constitution were signed. Philadelphia is also home to the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence. Author, inventor, statesman, and founding father Benjamin Franklin died and is buried there. More modern famous residents…

Exploring American Monsters: Oregon

Oregon is nestled in the northwest corner of the United States between California and Washington. The state (the ninth largest) has 363 miles of Pacific coastline, the Cascade mountain range, forests, high desert, and beautiful expanses of water, from the Columbia River, to Crater Lake (with an average depth of 1,148 feet), to the 620-foot-tall Multnomah Falls. Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon, reaching 11,249 feet. Famous people from…

Exploring American Monsters: Oklahoma

The Sooner State is a mid-sized state nestled in the center of the U.S. It got the nickname “Sooner” because some early residents cheated on land claims when they settled in prime spots sooner than they were supposed to. Not sure I would have gone with that moniker, Oklahoma. The name Oklahoma comes from two Choctaw Indian words okla (red) and humma (people). Although a large part of Oklahoma is…

Exploring American Monsters: Ohio

Ohio, named after the Iroquois word “ohi-yo” meaning “large creek,” lies in the Midwestern United States. It’s home to a number of firsts, such as America’s first automobile (built by John Lambert in 1891), the first use of x-rays in surgery in 1896, Superman (by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in 1933) and the invention of the pop-top can in the 1960s. Eight presidents were either born in Ohio, or…

Exploring American Monsters: North Dakota

Located in the Great Plains of the American Midwest, North Dakota is flat. Really, really flat. At least most of it. The western part of the state (the 19th largest of the United States) is dotted with hills and buttes. North Dakota is sparsely populated, with 739,482 residents. The largest city, Fargo, has 113,658 people, which is 15 percent of the entire state’s population. North Dakota is bordered by South…

Exploring American Monsters: North Carolina

North Carolina is of average size when compared to the rest of the 49 United States (twenty-eighth out of fifty, but it’s still twice as big as Ireland, so take that Emerald Isle), but it’s crowded, ranking ninth in population density with 9.944 million residents. It’s home to the highest point in North America east of the Mississippi River (Mount Mitchell at an elevation of 6,684 feet), and more than 300…

Exploring American Monsters: New York

The state of New York is big, slightly bigger than the country of Nicaragua, with a population of 19.8 million – 8.55 million of that in New York City alone (Nicaragua’s population is 6.08 million). With a Gross Domestic Product nearly the same as Mexico, New York is vital to the economy of the United States. The first Europeans to walk New York soil were French and Dutch colonists. The French eventually migrated…

Exploring American Monsters: New Mexico

 Jason Offutt Mountains and desert make up much of the state of New Mexico. Bordered by Texas, Arizona, Colorado, (not enough of Oklahoma to really count), and Mexico, the forty-seventh state to join the Union is a mix of rugged Southwest history, and a rich art community. The state capital Santa Fe was founded by Spanish conquistador Don Pedro de Peralta in 1610. Roughly 2.086 million people call New Mexico home,…

Exploring American Monsters: New Jersey

New Jersey is the butt of a lot of jokes, and the schlock MTV reality program “Jersey Shore” didn’t help the state’s reputation any. New Jersey is dubbed “The Garden State” for reasons no one can seem to agree on. Abraham Browning, while attorney general of New Jersey, apparently gave the state that moniker in 1876 during a speech in Philadelphia, although it seems he may have stolen the term…

Exploring American Monsters: New Hampshire

Compared to most of the United States, New Hampshire is small. The Dominican Republic – which shares a Caribbean island with another country – is twice the size of New Hampshire. Yes, New Hampshire is small, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in beauty. Forests of white pine, red oak, northern hardwood, and birch stretch over great swaths of the state, along with lakes – 944 of them…