Welcome to Fun Facts About the 50 States, where – week by week – I’ll be taking you on a tour around this great nation of ours, providing you with interesting, yet completely useless and probably untrue, information about each of the 50 states.
This week, it’s time to buy a pile of sales-tax-free – though horribly overpriced – Revolutionary-War-related souvenirs as we tour New Hapshire. So let’s get started…
* New Hampshire became the 9th state on June 21st, 1788. It was originally founded by refugees from Massachusetts seeking to ensure that their descendants would never know the sick, shameful feeling of voting for Ted Kennedy.
* New Hampshire’s state tourism slogan is “Don’t feel bad. We can’t find us on a map, either”.
* While it was still just a colony, New Hampshire declared its independence from England 6 months before the the Declaration of Independence was signed – an embarrassing case of “premature emancipation”.
* Portsmouth, New Hampshire was the site of the signing of the treaty which officially ended the Russo-Japanese War in 1905, in which the Russians officially apologized for referring to the Japanese as “sake-swilling sushi-munchers”.
* New Hampshire’s state motto is “We were really cool 230 years ago”.
* The first potato field in the US was planted in 1719, just outside of Londonderry, New Hampshire. The experiment failed miserably, and no one planted the crop again for 50 years, when the Irishman-repelling scarecrow was finally developed.
* Born in East Derry, New Hampshire, Alan B. Shepard Jr. was the first American to travel into space. After his historic feat, he spent 30 years in obscurity before finally turning up in an “Astronauts Gone Wild” video, performing lewd acts with moon rocks.
* In 1833, the first free public library in the US was established in Peterborough, New Hampshire. The first book checked out was Nathaniel Limbaugh’s “See, I Toldest Thou So”.
* New Hampshire instituted the first state lottery in 1963, which has been won every week since that time by Shirley Jackson.
* The Cornish Hill Pottery Company of Wolfeboro, New Hampshire still makes their stoneware crafts in the traditional British fashion – glazed with the blood of the Irish.
* In 1828, the first women’s strike in the US took place when 400 mill girls walked out of the Dover Cotton Factory. They vowed not to return to work unless the sexual harrassment they were subjected to started including obnoxious foreplay.
* The first alarm clock was invented in Concord, New Hampshire in 1787, and consisted of two tin cans, a piece of string, and a rooster.
* Legendary orator Daniel Webster was born in Franklin, New Hampshire in 1782. It’s said that his speeches were so persuasive that – were he alive today – he could talk Barack Obama into drilling for oil.
* The first American coin was created by sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens of Cornish, New Hampshire. It had Washington’s portrait on the front, and “America – F*** YEAH!” on the back.
* President Franklin Pierce was born in Concord, New Hampshire. His only accomplishment in office was coining the phrase, “Can you smell what the Pierce is cookin’?”
* The town of Merrimack, New Hampshire is home to the famous Clydesdales owned by the Anheuser-Busch Brewery. They require over 300 gallons of water per day to help them provide the secret ingredient that gives Budweiser its distinctive flavor.
* The Budweiser frogs were also kept in Merrimac until they were dissected by the 8th grade Biology class.
* New Hampshire’s delegates were the first to vote for the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1776, although due to a balloting error, several of them accidentally voted for Pat Buchanan.
* New Hampshire has 10 counties, 13 municipalites, 221 towns, 22 unincoporated places, and one ring to rule them all.
* Sarah Josepha Hale was born in 1830 in Newport New Hampshire, and was the author of the famous poem, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. She also penned the less-well-known follow-up poem, “Mary Had a Little Mint Jelly on the Side”.
* The state bird of New Hampshire is the Purple Finch, which – unlike some Finches – has no qualms about killing mockingbirds.
* New Hampshire’s state constitution was ratified in 1784, and is the second oldest one in the country. It’s also the only one that specifically forbids fat chicks at nude beaches.
* The Mount Washington Auto Road at Great Glenn, New Hampshire is the state’s oldest man-made tourist attraction and annually draws more tourists than anything else in the state. Probably because it ends at a nude beach.
* New Hampshire’s legislature still meets in the original capitol building constructed in 1784. They expect to have the facilities upgraded about the same time that Microsoft upgrades Windows Solitaire.
* Alexandria, New Hampshire, was the birthplace of Luther C. Ladd, the first man to lose his life in the Civil War, after uttering his famous last words “This pistol ain’t loaded. Watch…”
* The first motorized ascent of the Mount Washington Auto Road was by Freelan O. Stanley – inventor of the Staleny Steamer and nude beach afficianado.
* Stonyfield Farm in Londonderry, New Hampshire, features a tour demostrating how yogurt is made. It also includes a free shower at the end so you can wash off that hippie smell.
* The granite profile “Old Man of the Mountain” – which collapsed in 2003 – was one of New Hampshire’s most famous landmarks and appears on the New Hampshire state quarter. It was last visited by Luther C. Ladd IV, whose last words were “You’re crazy! Nothing will happen if I throw a rock at that thing. Watch…”
That wraps up the New Hampshire edition of Fun Facts About the 50 States. Next week we’ll be beaten up by burly Italian men in 3-piece suits as we scream promises to get them their money by this afternoon in New Jersey.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go take a drive down the Mount Washington Auto Road.
[The complete e-book version of “Fun Facts About the 50 States” is now available at Amazon.com. If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download free Kindle apps for your web browser, smartphone, computer, or tablet from Amazon.com]