Ohio gets its name from the Ohio River, which forms the state’s southern border. The word Ohio means “great river” or “beautiful river” in Algonquian, a Native American language. The Ohio River has been central to the state’s history from the beginning.
Ohio is located in the northeastern United States. It joined the Union on March 1, 1803. Today, Ohio is the seventh most populated state in the nation. About 11 million people live there.
THE BUCKEYE STATE
Ohio is called the Buckeye State because of the many buckeye trees that grew on its rolling hills and plains when settlers arrived. Buckeyes are a kind of chestnut. Settlers used buckeye trees to build the first log cabins in Ohio.
What was the gateway to the West at the beginning of the 1800s? The answer is the Ohio River. The American West began a lot farther east back then.
The Ohio River begins in Pennsylvania and joins the Mississippi River at the southern tip of Illinois. It flows for a distance of 981 miles (1,580 kilometers). The states of West Virginia and Kentucky lie to the south of the river, and Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois lie to its north.
Would you believe that the deepest lake in the United States is on top of a mountain? It’s true. Crater Lake lies on the peak of a mountain in the Cascade Range in Oregon. The lake is nearly 2,000 feet (600 meters) deep.
Crater Lake formed after a volcano blew its top about 7,700 years ago. Rain and melted snow then filled the bowl-shaped hole, or crater, left by the explosion. Today, this brilliant blue lake looks peaceful. It’s one of many beautiful areas in Oregon.
Can you imagine thousands of horses snorting and stamping their hooves? The horses were lined up on the prairie, waiting for a race to begin. At noon on April 22, 1889, the signal was given to start the Oklahoma Land Rush. Horseback riders, wagon teams, and people on foot raced to claim land. Over 50,000 settlers found a home in Oklahoma that day.
THE SOONER STATE
Oklahoma is nicknamed the Sooner State. Sooners were people who cheated during the Land Rush. They got there sooner by going to their land claims before the race started. At first, it wasn’t nice to be called a Sooner. In time, though, the meaning of the word changed. Today, a Sooner is someone who gets things done quickly.
Pennsylvania was founded on the idea of freedom. William Penn of England started the colony in 1682. He wanted a place where people of different faiths could worship freely. The name Pennsylvania means “Penn’s woodland.”
Pennsylvania is a Middle Atlantic state. It reaches from the shores of Lake Erie in the northwest to the salty waters of the Delaware River in the southeast. In these corners of the state the land is low and level. But most of Pennsylvania is covered with rolling hills, mountains, and valleys. Thick forests grow throughout the state.