Indiana’s nickname is the Hoosier State. That’s why people from Indiana, or Indianians, are also sometimes called Hoosiers. No one is sure where the name comes from. One story says that Indiana pioneers asked, “Who’s yere?” when someone knocked on their doors. From this question, Indiana supposedly became known as the Whosyere or Hoosier State.
THE HOOSIER STATE
Indiana is mostly flat. Only the southern portion near the Ohio River is hilly. The state was once heavily forested, but most of the trees were cleared for farmland. Today, corn is Indiana’s leading crop.
Iowa is sometimes called the Corn State. It produces more corn than any other state. Popcorn comes from corn kernels. Corn on the cob is delicious to eat. Corn is used in making many breakfast cereals, too. It also goes into such varied products as mayonnaise, crayons, and plastics.
Much of Iowa’s corn is used to feed cattle and hogs. Iowa raises more hogs than any other state. Soybeans, hay, and oats are other important crops in Iowa. Farmland covers about 90 percent of the state. Agriculture has always played a big role in Iowa life. Iowa also manufactures farm machinery, computers, and other products.
Kentucky’s nickname is the Bluegrass State. It gets this name from the rolling meadows of the Bluegrass region in the central part of the state. That’s where a blue-green grass called bluegrass thrives. The fertile soils of the Bluegrass region drew Daniel Boone and other early pioneers to Kentucky in the late 1700s.
Today, the Bluegrass region is home to tobacco fields, thoroughbred horses, and the best farmland in Kentucky. The region has played a key role in Kentucky’s history and culture.
“Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore,” Dorothy says to her dog in The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy and Toto have just been swept off their farm in Kansas by a tornado.
Kansas lies in a part of the United States known as Tornado Alley. Tornado Alley extends from Texas northward through Kansas.
Tornadoes hit Kansas every year, usually in spring. These rapidly rotating columns of wind move swiftly across the land.
Los Angeles grew as the movie capital of the world. For a long time, more movies were made here than in any other city. But today Bombay, India, surpasses Los Angeles as a movie capital.
AMERICA’S SECOND LARGEST CITY
Los Angeles is the second largest city in the United States. It has a population of 3.8 million people (2002). Only New York City is larger. More than 13 million people live in the Los Angeles area.