Indiana February 03, 2016
8 Incredible, Almost Unbelievable Facts About Indiana
Every once in a while we stumble upon a little fact morsel that leaves us scratching our heads and desperately needing to know more about the outlandish or obscure topic. When digging through centuries of Hoosier history to learn more about the topics you read about on OnlyInYourState, we inevitably find beautiful, weird golden nuggets of info that not nearly enough people know about.
We decided to share some of our favorite quirky facts and stories with you…we think you will enjoy them too. These 8
almost unbelievable facts about Indiana may surprise you, amuse you, confuse you, or just crack you up!
1. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway takes up a whopping 253 acres. To put that into perspective, the home of the Indy 500 is so large that Yankee Stadium, the Rose Bowl, Churchill Downs, the Roman Coliseum, AND the entire Vatican City could all fit comfortably inside its track!
2. Vigo County voters have successfully predicted the winner of every Presidential election since 1956 and have only voted for the losing candidate twice since 1888.
With a 29:2 record, we wonder if Vegas bookies accept bets on Vigo’s foresight…
3. The famously delicious Wick’s Pies started out making 20 Sugar Cream Pies per day, but these days their production rate has skyrocketed to over 10,000 pies in a single day!
Their pies are the standard 8” diameter, so if lined up end-to-end, a years worth of Wick’s Hoosier Pies would stretch nearly 460 miles…roughly the distance between Indianapolis and Memphis, TN!
4. Indiana tried to (legally) change the number pi.
When confronted by a math problem that has stumped the worlds greatest minds for thousands of year, Dr. Edwin Goodwin started thinking outside of the box…or rather, the circle. Instead of accepting the unavoidable imprecision of the infinitely long value of pi (π), Goodwin decided it would be easier to simply change the number altogether. In 1897, Goodwin convinced a state representative to introduce a bill that would legally change the definition of pi from 3.14 (…) to just 3. His proposal was filled with miscalculations, mistruths, and just plain gibberish, but the admittedly confused Representatives passed the bill in a 67-0 vote. We think they must have slept through primary school geometry class…or maybe they just gave up trying to translate Goodwin’s nonsense after the first sentence. Luckily, the bill was killed in the Senate (with the help of Professor Waldo from Purdue), and Indiana avoided the infinite number of mathematical disasters that might have occurred if the bill had passed.
This man, Professor Waldo, saved pi.
5. There is a long-standing debate over who owns the largest adult media collection in the world. Many believe the Vatican archives contain the most (and the oldest) erotica, but church officials (unsurprisingly) deny its existence. The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University is frequently named as the alternate frontrunner.
Whether or not they are the “winners,” the Kinsey library contains more than 100,000 books a collection of over 80,000 photograph images and negatives, and 7,000 other pieces of art and artifacts. That is more than enough to give every single one of the Vatican’s 842 residents a 200-item “private collection.”
6. Indiana is way more than just cornfields…but those cornfields do produce a whole lot of delicious popcorn! Orville Redenbacher, an Indiana native, started selling popcorn in 1919 when he was only 12 years old, and his little business earned him enough cash to put himself through college!
Americans eat 13 BILLION quarts of popcorn each year (that’s 41 quarts each!) and Redenbacher’s is by far the nation’s favorite brand.
7. Asking a Hoosier for the time is a tricky question, as the state is divided into more than one time zone.
Several US states share this dilemma; most simply “choose a side” to solve the problem, but Indiana has debated the issue since the Standard Time Act of 1918 placed the state in the Central Time Zone. Over the years, the “official” time has changed several times, Daylight Saving Time has been adopted, abandoned, and adopted again, and (currently) operates on Eastern Time…with the exception of 12 counties that have elected to stay on Central Time. Maybe we should just go by “Hoosier Time”…
8. Indiana loves…meth?
We’ve learned that Hoosiers love popcorn (but hate the “It’s just a cornfield” jokes), racetracks of truly epic proportions, dirty magazines (ahem…”art”), and Sugar Cream Pie (but are a little confused on the concept of pi), but if not for the official DEA reports on methamphetamine labs, dumpsites, and seizures, we would never believe this statistic: Indiana has had more meth busts than any other state every year since 2012 (when it came in third, behind Missouri and Tennessee). In 2014, the DEA reported 1,471 meth lab-related incidents in Indiana…over 400 more than the runner-up (Missouri). Out of the 9,338 documented DEA cases, Indiana is responsible for 16% of them. For comparison, the combined total of meth busts for the entire Western half of the country is a mere 411. It is a dubious honor, but at least we can say Walter White ain’t got nothin’ on Hoosier kingpins, right? (New Mexico had only 6 reported incidents in 2014)
Do you know any other interesting Indiana factoids? We want to hear about them! Share your stories in the Comments section below!