- 1253 VOTES
Portland, OR, Got Its Name Thanks To A Coin Flip
Portland, OR, is named after Portland, ME - but it almost wasn't.
When settlers founded the Oregon city, they couldn't decide if they should name it Boston or Portland. So they let fate decide for them: In 1845, they flipped a coin, and Portland won. The so-called "Portland Penny" remains a cherished artifact of the city's founding.
- 2333 VOTES
Tattooing Became Legal In South Carolina Only In 2004
In the 1960s, the government of South Carolina made tattooing illegal. Lawmakers feared that hepatitis would become an epidemic if tattooing was allowed to continue. Due to this ban, underground tattoo artists known as “scratchers” worked from their homes, garages, and living rooms, providing tattoos to those who wanted them.
These tattoo artists were rarely formally trained and did not follow sanitary requirements. It eventually reached a point where health concerns surrounding unlicensed tattooing could not be ignored.
Tattoo reinstatement opponents were convinced to reverse the tattoo ban, and in 2004 tattooing was officially made legal in South Carolina.
- 3313 VOTES
New Hampshire Doesn't Have A Seat Belt Law For Adults
Though 49 states got on board, a single holdout remains: New Hampshire. To be fair, the Granite State requires people under the age of 18 to buckle up. But adults are exempt.
- 4330 VOTES
Hugh Hefner Saved The Hollywood Sign - Twice
Hollywood's iconic sign might not exist today if not for the intervention of Playboy founder Hugh Hefner. In 1978, the sign was deteriorating after 55 years of use, and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce needed $250,000 to restore it. Hefner held a fundraiser where each letter of the sign was auctioned off for $27,000. Buyers included stars like Alice Cooper and Gene Autry. The sign was completely replaced after about three months.
Then, in 2010, Hefner personally donated $900,000 to prevent a group of land developers from purchasing the 138-acre plot where the sign is located.
“It’s become something iconic and represents not only the town but represents Hollywood dreams, and I think that’s something worth preserving," Hefner said.
- 5223 VOTES
Oklahoma’s State 'Vegetable' Is The Watermelon
In 2007, two lawmakers - Democratic State Rep. Joe Dorman and Republican State Sen. Don Barrington - sponsored House Bill 1669, which proposed adding a new section to the Oklahoma Statutes declaring that “[t]he watermelon is hereby designated and adopted as the official vegetable of the State of Oklahoma.”
In March of 2021, the House passed the bill 78-19, and the Senate did so in a 44-2 vote. Oklahoma Gov. Brad Harry signed the bill into law in April of 2021, and as of May 2021, Sec. 25-98.15 of the Oklahoma Statutes adopted the wording Dorman and Barrington had hoped for. We're unsure how so many policymakers were OK with labeling something so clearly a fruit as a vegetable.
- 6263 VOTES
A Nuclear Bomb Was Lost Off The Coast Of Georgia In 1958
On February 5, 1958, a nuclear bomb was lost in the waters off Tybee Island, GA. The bomb, which has unknown quantities of radioactive material, has never been found.
How did this bomb end up in the ocean? During a training exercise, an F-86 fighter jet experienced a midair collision with a B-47 bomber. This bomber was carrying the Mark 15 thermonuclear bomb. To prevent the bomb from detonating if he were to crash, the pilot decided to drop the 7,000-pound nuclear bomb into the ocean before landing at Hunter Air Force Base.
Shortly afterward, a search team of Navy personnel was dispatched to trace where the bomb fell. After a two-month search was unable to recover the bomb, it was decided that it would be left where it had fallen. According to the US Air Force, as long as the bomb is left undisturbed, it poses no threat to the area.