American Trivia Questions



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American Trivia Questions
What room in the average American home is the scene of the greatest number of arguments?
A: The kitchen.

In 1960, the citizens of Hot Springs, New Mexico, voted to rename their town in honor of a popular radio show. What is it now called?


A: Truth or Consequences--known as T or C for short. The change was made after radio (and later TV) show host Ralph Edwards promised to hold a program there annually.

What are the names of the two landmark stone lions sitting in front of the New York Public Library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street in New York City?


A: Patience and Fortitude, names given them by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.

How many windows are there on the 102-story Empire State Building?


A: 6,000.

How much time--in months --does the average American motorist spend during his lifetime waiting for red lights to turn green?


A: Six months.

Borden is the name of a county in Texas. What is the name of its county seat?


A: Gail, for Gail Borden, the man who brought us condensed milk--but only after drawing the first topographical map of Texas and surveying and laying out the city of Galveston.

Two states bill themselves as the "Sunshine State." Can you name them?


A: Florida and South Dakota.

In 1954 the Pennsylvania coal mining communities of Maunch Chunk and East Maunch Chunk merged and adopted a new name in honor of a famous athlete. What was it?


A: Jim Thorpe, after the great Oklahoma Indian athlete. The renaming was part of a plan to establish the town as a shrine to Thorpe, who was buried there.

What are school teams nicknamed at Jack Benny Junior High, the school the citizens of Waukegan, Illinois, named after their most famous son?


A: The 39ers--39 was the age comedian Benny claimed for more than 39 years of his life.

What was the name of the first series of U.S. postage stamps ever produced outside the country?


A: Great Americans. The series, introduced in 1991, was printed in Canada.

What employee-grooming regulation at Disney World would prevent the hiring of Walt Disney--if he were alive and job hunting today?


A: The ban on facial hair. Disney had a mustache.

What was put between the steel framework and the copper skin of the restored Statue of liberty to prevent corrosion?


A: Teflon.

On the reverse side of the $100 bill, what time is shown on the Independence Hall clock?


A: 4:10.

In what state can you find the towns of Romance, Sweet Home and Success?


A: Arkansas.

Where are the only remaining free-roaming panthers in North America?


A: In Southern Florida--in the Everglades and Big Cypress Swamp.

Why was the entire village of Hibbing, Minnesota, relocated?


A: The village was sitting atop huge beds of iron ore.  After it was moved south, the original site became one of the largest open-pit iron mines n the world--covering over 1,600 acres and running 535 feet deep.

What physical handicap afflicted Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America?


A: She was deaf.

What car is shown in front of the U.S. Treasury Building on the back of the $10.00 bill?


A: A 1926 Hupmobile.

Which is the only state on the eastern seaboard to fall partially in the central time zone?


A: Florida.

Through how many states does U.S. 80--the main northern route from New York to California ---pass?


A: 12--from east to west: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California.

Which two states have neighboring towns named for explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark?


A: Idaho and Washington.  The towns-- Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Washington--are separated by the Snake River. Lewiston was a Lewis and Clark campsite.

Which of the 50 states takes in the least amount of tourist dollars?


A: Rhode Island. California takes in the greatest amount.

What animals-besides horses--accompanied Buffalo Bill Cody when he sailed his Wild West Show to London in 1887 t appear before Queen Victoria?


A: Buffalo(18), elk(10), mules(10), steers(5), donkeys(4), and deer(2).  His cowboy-and-Indian entourage also included 180 horses.

What are roller coasters classified as by the U.S. Patent Office?


A: Scenic railways. The classification was first used for roller coasters in 1886.

What is the name of the boulevard on which Fort Knox is located?


A: Bullion Boulevard.

Which of the states uses the Napoleonic code rather than English common law as the basis for its civil law?


A: Louisiana.

How many U.S. states and their capital cities have names that begin with the same letter?


A: Four.  Dover, Delaware; Indianapolis, Indiana; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; and Honolulu, Hawaii.

What major vegetable crop was grown in Beverly Hills, California, before it became home to the rich and famous?


A: Lima beans.

What is the only place below sea level in the United States that is not in the California desert? Hint: It's a major city.


A: New Orleans.

What aptly named village has the highest post office in the United States?


A: Climax, Colorado.  It's located in the Rockies at 11,320 feet above sea level.

What newspaper, launched in 1982, was dubbed the McPaper because it provided its readers with "McNuggets" of news?


A: USA Today.

How fast--in words per minute--does the average American adult read?


A: 275 words per minute.

How many steps are there to the top of the Empire State Building?


A: 1,575.

Who appeared on the cover of the maiden issue of People magazine on March 4, 1974?


A: Mia Farrow.

What was Walt Disney's original title for his dream world, Disneyland?


A: Mickey Mouse Park.

Between 1835 and 1837 a now perennial feature of American life was blissfully absent. What was it?


A: The national debt.

Where is it illegal for a portrait of a living person to appear in the United States.


A: On our postage stamps.

Who was Time magazine's Man of the Year for 1952?


A: Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain. It was her coronation year.

Where is the longest street in the United States?


A: Los Angeles, where Figueroa Street runs for 30 miles.

What did the U.S. government buy for Alaska's Eskimos in 1891?


A: Sixteen Siberian reindeer--the start of the state's herd.

What state was the last to adopt the secret ballot?


A: South Carolina, in 1950.

Uncle Sam made his first appearance--beardless--in 1852. When did he acquire whiskers?


A: In his seventeenth year, in 1869, in "Harper's Weekly" magazine.

What state abolished its personal income tax in 1980 and refunded $185 million already collected to its taxpayers?


A: Alaska, which has the highest per capita income in the country.

What senator gave the longest filibuster on record--24 hours, 18 minutes?


A: South Carolina Republican Strom Thurmond. He was opposing the 1957 voting rights bill.

How many years of schooling did Benjamin Franklin have?


A: Two, one year in grammar school and one with a private teacher.

John Jay, John Marshall, Roger B Taney, and Salmon P. Chase were all chief justices of the U.S. Supreme Court.  What other distinction did they share?


A: They never went to law school.

What was the name of the father of Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull?


A: Jumping Bull

In 1812 New York City's Federal Hall--the site of America's first presidential inauguration--was torn down and sold for scrap at auction.  How much did the city get for it?


A: $425.00.

What was Martin Luther King, Jr's name at birth?


A: Michael Luther King Jr.

Who was the first civilian astronaut launched into space by the U.S.?


A: Neil Armstrong.

In what city did Will Rogers serve as honorary mayor?


A: Beverly Hills.

Eighty-seven-year-old Democrat Rebecca Latimer Selton held what distinction in the political arena?


A: She was the first woman to become a U.S. Senator, when she was appointed by the governor of Georgia to serve the remaining day of a vacated Senate seat, November 21-222, 1922.

In 1992, the governor of Hawaii received a 30,000-signature petition to change the name of the island of Maui--to what?


A: Gilligan's Island, in honor of the TV sitcom. Needless to say, the island is still called Maui.

Which territory in North America did Detroit's founder, Antoine Laumet de la Mothe Cadillac, the man for whom the car is named, serve as governor from 1713 to 1716?


A: Louisiana.

Whose body was the first to lie in state in the rotunda of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.?


A: Senator Henry Clay's. He died in 1852.

What country benefited from the first foreign aid bill approved by the United States Congress?


A: Venezuela.  In May 1812, Congress appropriated $50,000 for relief following an earthquake in Venezuela.

What was the first building erected by the federal government in Washington, D.C.?


A: The executive mansion--later known as the White House. It was first occupied in 1800 by John Adams.

In a 1989 newspaper survey, only 9 percent of those polled knew William Rehnquist was chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.  What judge was identified by 54 percent of those polled?


A: Retire California judge Joseph Wapner, of television's "The people's Court."

Of the 32 civil rights cases Thurgood Marshall argued before the U.S. Supreme Court as the lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, how many did he win?


A: 29

Who was the first black American to win the Nobel Prize for Peace?


A: American statesman and United Nations official Ralph Bunche, in 1950, for his mediation of the 1948-49 Arab-Israeli War.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birth we celebrate today, won the coveted award in 1964.

Which American colony was the first to enact anti-slavery legislation?


A: Massachusetts, in 1641, in its "Body of Liberties."

To what amount did Congress vote to raise the minimum wage on October 26, 1949?


A: They raised it to 75 cents an hour; it had been 40 cents.

Who gave the "in" party for the Black panthers that inspired the phrase "Radical Chic"?


A: Conductor-composer Leonard Bernstein.

What American institution did Napoleon's grandnephew Charles Bonaparte found in 1908?


A: The F.B.I. He was attorney general of the U.S. at the time.

Who was the first U.S. citizen to be canonized as a saint?


A: Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, in 1946.

Which state was the first to pass a right-to-die law?


A: California , in 1976.

The U.S. bought the Virgin Islands for $25 million in 1917---from what country?


A: Denmark, which had established its first settlement there in 1672.

What concession earned $862,000 in just five months at the Chicago World's Fair in 1933?


A: The rest room at five cents a visit.

What was the Mayflower's cargo before it was chartered to carry the pilgrims to America in 1620?


A: Wine. Just prior to its Atlantic crossing, the Mayflower transported 153 tons and 16 hogsheads (39,564 gallons) of wine from Bordeaux to London.

What speed limit was set by Connecticut in 1901 in the first statewide automobile legislation passed in the U.S.?


A: On country highways, 15 mph; on highways within city limits, 12 mph.

What state was the first to proclaim Christmas as a holiday?


A: Alabama.

What sentence did Patty Hearst receive in 1976 for the bankrobbery she participated in while she was with the Symbionese Liberation Army?


A: Seven years, but she served only 22 months- president Carter commute her sentence.

What event was precipitated by a book entitled "Civic Biology"?


A: The 1925 "Monkey Trial." "Civic Biology" was the text science teacher John Scopes read to his students in defiance of a Tennessee law banning the teaching of evolution.

With what story did the tiny German-Language newspaper "Philadelphische Staatshote" scoop the world?


A: The adoption of the Declaration of Independence. The Staatshote was the only Philadelphia newspaper published on Fridays--and July 5th fell on a Friday in 1776.

What famous early American once boasted: "I can't say I was ever lost, but I was bewildered once for three days"?


A: Frontiersman Daniel Boone.

How did the town of Showlow, Arizona, get its name?


A: From the card draw held to pick the mayor--giving the town its name. Its main street is called Deuce of Clubs in honor of the winning low card.

What were Robert E. Lee's dying words?


A: "Strike the tent".

How many bullet holes did lawmen put in Clyde Barrow's car when they ambushed and killed him and his gangster girlfriend Bonnie Parker in 1934?


A: They counted 106.

Which of the contiguous 48 states was the last to be explored?


A: Idaho, which was first visited by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1805 during their famous expedition across America.

What are the six flags that have flown over Texas.


A: The flags of Spain, France, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and the U.S..

Columbus had three ships on his first exploration of America. How many were under his command on his second expedition?


A: Seventeen.

How did the American Indian brave shave?


A: With clam shells, which he used as tweezers.

How did the Pilgrims celebrate New Year's Day?


A: They didn't. They considered it a blasphemous reverence for the Roman god Janus, for whom the month of January is named. The Pilgrims referred to January as First Month.

How many days did the historic civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, take?


A: Five days.

According to poetic legend, Lizzie Borden used her ax to give her mother 40 whacks and her father 41. How many whacks did the police actually accuse her of delivering?


A: Dad, 10; step mom, 19. But Lizzie was acquitted at her trial for the 1892 double slaying.

What does Apache chief Geronimo's Indian name---Goyathlay--mean in English?


A: One who yawns. He was given the name Geronimo--Spanish for Jerome--by Mexicans.

How long did the April 18, 1906, earthquake in an Francisco last?


A: 48 seconds. The San Francisco earthquake of 1989 lasted 15 seconds.

What were the dimensions of the "Star Spangled Banner" Francis Scott Key saw flying over Baltimore's Fort McHenry "by the dawn's early light" almost 185 years ago?


A: 30 feet by 42 feet.  The fort's commander had it made that large so "the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance."

What size was the first footprint on the moon--the one made by astronaut Neil Armstong when he took his historic "one small step for man" on July 20,1969?


A: It was 13 inches by 6 inches--the dimensions of Armstrong's boot.  The exterior shell is the same size for all the astronauts' boots.

What were the police in Atlantic City, New jersey, craking down on when they arrested 42 men on the beachin1935?


A: Topless swimsuits on men.

What is Mary E. Surratt's significance in U.S. history?


A: She was the first woman executed by hanging.  A military panel convicted her of conspiracy in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. Her guilt, however, is still in question.

What did famed bank robber Charles Arthur "Pretty boy" Floyd do whenever he pulled off a job, which made him a hero to many people?


A: He destroyed all first mortgages he could find on the chance they had not been recorded, and tossed money out of the window of his getaway car.

How many children did Mormon Leader Brigham Young have?


A: 57, with 16 of his 27 wives.

How many crates did it take to transport the Statue of Liberty from France to New York in 1885?


A: 214.

What did gangster Al Capone's oldest brother Jim--who went by the name Richard "Two Gun" Hart--do for a living?


A: He was a lawman in Nebraska--serving as a town marshal and a state sheriff.

In an effort to avoid recapture, how did convicted bank robber Robert Alan Litchfield change his features after his 1989 escape from Fort Leavenworth, where he was serving a 140-year term?


A: He underwent plastic surgery so he would look like actor Robert DeNiro.

Why didn't the anti-porn law passed by the town council of Winchester, Indiana, ever take effect?


A: The editors of the only newspaper in town refused to publish it claiming the law itself was pornographic. Under local statutes, no law could take effect until published in a newspaper.

What plant's leaves did American colonists use to brew a tea substitute following their Boston Tea Party tax protest?


A: The goldenrod's-- the drink it yielded was known as "liberty tea."

When police and federal agents finally decoded the notation "K1,P2,CO8,K5" found in a Seattle woman's little black book in 1942, what did it turn out to be?


A: Knitting instructions:" knit one, purl two, cast on eight, knit five."

What was the name of the ship that was supposed to accompany the Mayflower on its historic journey across the Atlantic in 1620?


A :The Speedwell. It was left behind in Plymouth, England, when it started taking on water.

What well-known millionaire died when the Titanic sank?


A: John Jacob Astor.

What song was the band playing while the Titanic sank?


A: Not "Nearer My God To Thee," as is popularly believed, but the hymn "Autumn," by Francois Barthelemon.

Who gave our country the name, the United States of America?


A: Thomas Paine.

What article of clothing were women required to wear on the beach at New Jersey's Atlantic City until 1907--along with their standard attire of long bathing dresses, bathing shoes and straw hats?


A: Stockings.

How did Massachusetts sea captain Joshua Slocum-- the first an to sail solo around the world--fight off pirates attacking his sloop?


A: He turned away the barefoot pirates by spreading carpet tacks on the deck of his boat.  Slocum completed his historic 46,000-miole, 38-month voyage in 1898.

What famous American's father headed the investigation into the Lindbergh kidnapping in 1932?


A: General h. Norman Schwarzkopf's. The senior Schwarzkopf was a retired brigadier general who was New Jersey's state chief of police at the time of the kidnapping.

What triggered the legendary feud between the hillbilly Hatfields and McCoys in 1873?


A:  The alleged theft of a pig.

What was the powder used by America's Founding Fathers to keep their wigs white?


A: Ground Rice.

Judge Roy Bean gained fame as the Law West of the Pecos. What was his brother, Josh known for?


A: He was the first mayor of the city of San Diego California.

What was astronaut Neil Armstrong's total annual salary when he walked on the moon on July 20, 1969?


A: Just over $30,000.

What was the name of the prospector who discovered gold in the Alaska panhandle in 1880?


A: Joseph Juneau--the man for whom the capital of Alaska is named.

In what year did the average American salary pass $100 a week?


A: In 1963.

Which state was the first in the nation to recognize Labor Day as a  legal holiday?


A: Oregon, in February 1887--followed later the same year by Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

What famous Cherokee Indian was known to the Americans of his time as George Guess?


A: Sequoya.

What famous words did Francis Bellamy write to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of America?


A: "The Pledge of Allegiance"--which was published in "The Youth's Companion" magazine.  Bellamy was on the magazine's staff.

What was the name of the very first ocean-going vessel built by Englishmen in the New World?


A: Virginia. The 30-ton ship was built by settlers who landed in Main in 1607, established a colony, but found life and the winter weather so harsh that they built a ship to escape a second winter.

What was the name of the first permanent settlement in Kentucky, established in 1775 by frontiersman Daniel Boone?


A: Boonesborough.

What role did the ships "Discovery," "Sarah Constant" and "Goodspeed" play in American history.


A: They landed in what is now Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607, carrying the colonists who established the first permanent English settlement in the United States.

What house is the second most visited American home in the United States--outdrawn only by the White House.


A: Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee.

In 1784 American settlers established an independent state named Franklin,,,, in honor of Benjamin Franklin. Where was it?


A: In what is now eastern Tennessee. The territory had been ceded to the federal government by North Carolina.

How much expense money did Congress allot Meriwether Lewis and William Clark for thier expedition across America that lasted from May 1804 to September 1806?


A: The sum of $2,500.

What famous frontierswoman was buried in Deadwood, South Dakota, wearing a white dress and holding a gun in each hand?


A: Calamity Jane, aka Martha Jane Burke.

Why couldn't surgeon Charles Richard Drew, who organized the first blood bank in the U.S., donate his own blood?


A: Segregation lasws in 1941 prohibited it---he was black.
 

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