- Capital City:
- Land of Lincoln / Prairie State
- State sovereignty, national union.
- December 3, 1818 (21st)
- Origin of State's Name:
- French version of an Algonquin Indian for "warriors"
- Largest Cities:
- Chicago, Rockford, Aurora, Springfield, Peoria
- Border States:
- Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Kentucky, Missouri, Wisconsin
- Land Area:
- 55,593 sq. mi.; 24th largest
- State Bird:
- State Flower:
- Native Violet (viola)
- State Tree:
- White Oak (quercus alba)
- State Song:
Named for the Illinois Indians, Illinois became the 21st state in 1818. Its capital is Springfield, which is the home of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.
The Many Voices of the 9th District
How many ethnic groups can you name that are represented in your community? If your community is like much of the rest of the country, there are probably several. The United States is often referred to as a "melting pot" -- a place where people of many different ethnic groups and faiths live together. Because of this mix of people, the country is a more interesting than it would be if everyone were the same.
The 9th Congressional District of Illinois, part of which is in Chicago, is one of the most ethnically varied, or diverse, congressional districts in the country, with Russian, Indian, Polish, Pakistani, Latino, Haitian, and Cambodian people, among others. There is also a lot of religious diversity, with Jews, Muslims, and Christians all living together in their communities.
Many festivals in the 9th District celebrate "Pride in Diversity" and honor the differences between people and what makes us unique as a country.
Chicago Botanic Garden
When you think of big urban centers like New York City, Washington, D.C., or Chicago you probably don't think of gardens. But each of these cities has a wonderful botanic garden amid their skyscrapers and monuments.
In 1972, the Chicago Botanic Garden opened to teach lessons of nature that can be applied to our own lives. The garden is actually made up of 23 different gardens that visitors may walk through, including the English Walled Garden, the Midwestern Prairie, the Circle Garden, an Educational Greenhouse, a Fruit and Vegetable Garden, a Rose Garden and a Japanese Garden.
The Children's Garden, which was formed when the Botanic Garden opened, offers Chicago schoolchildren the opportunity to try planting, weeding and harvesting. In the Endangered Species Garden visitors can see native plants that are threatened with extinction. There is plenty of wildlife in the gardens as well. There have been sightings of bats, deer, woodchucks, bullfrogs and snapping turtles. There is even a "Big Bugs" exhibit.