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10 Fast Facts About Rhode Island:
1/ The official name for Rhode Island is "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" which is the longest of any state names. There was a referendum on the 2nd Nov 2010 to offer the option of dropping Providence Plantations from the name, but this was defeated, with the population overwhelmingly voting by almost 4 to 1 (78% to 22%) to keep the original name.
2/ The state rock of Rhode Island is called Cumberlandite which is only found in large concentrations in the town of Cumberland in Rhode Island. It is quite valuable because it contains relatively high levels of titanium which is renowned for having the same strength as steel, but as being 45% lighter.
3/ Rhode Island sent 25,236 men to fight in the Civil War and of those 1,685 died.
4/ The first U.S Open Golf Tournament was played on October 4th 1895 at the Newport Rhode Island Golf and Country Club. It was a 36 hole competition and the first winner was Horace Rawlins, a 21 year old professional from England who won by two strokes (91+82=173) and received a cash price of $150, a gold medal (worth $50), and to keep the Open Championship Cup at his home club for a year.
5/ There were only six states in the United States (Presidential) Election of 1980 that did not vote for Ronald Regan, and Rhode Island was one of them.
6/ The state flag of Rhode Island (see above) features a golden anchor which is a symbol of hope that is centered on a white background. It is surrounded by thirteen gold stars to represent the original thirteen colonies, and below the anchor is the state's motto "HOPE", whilst around the edge of the flag is a gold colored fringe.
7/ The Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Rhode Island is the oldest lending library in the United States, being founded in 1747. The original collection of 751 books has now grown to a collection that has more than 160,000 volumes. The architect of the original building in which the library was housed was Peter Harrison who moved to Rhode Island from England at the age of 24 in 1740 and who was an early champion of classical design architecture in America.
8/ The oldest synagogue still standing in the United States is the Touro Synagogue in Newport, Rhode Island, which was also designed by Peter Harrison and was built between 1759 and 1763. It is the only surviving synagogue in the United States that dates back to the colonial era.
9/ There were around 1 million Portuguese Americans in the United States by the year 2000, and Rhode Island has a greater percentage of them then any of the other states. Famous Portuguese Americans include Tom Hanks and Katy Perry.
10/ The first NFL night game was held on November 6th, 1929, at Providence's Kinsley Park. The Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals defeated the Providence Steam Roller 16–0. The game was declared a success as 6,000 people turned up to watch the game. One interesting decision was that it was decided to paint the ball white so that it could more easily be seen at night, and the local newspaper commented that the ball "had the appearance of a large egg", which whenever anyone passed "there was a panicky feeling that the player who made the catch would be splattered with egg yolk".
Unfortunately, Providence Steamroller ended up with egg on their faces as they were only in the National Football League for seven seasons between 1925 and 1931, and despite winning the league's championship in 1928, the team folded in 1933.