The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

December 3, 2013

"Alabama" is the official state song of (Your guess here)

20 facts you need to know before visiting Alabama

— 1. Alabama introduced the Mardi Gras to the western world. The celebration is held on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins.

2. Alabama workers built the first rocket to put humans on the moon.

3. The world's first Electric Trolley System was introduced in Montgomery in 1886.

4. Alabama is the only state with all major natural resources needed to make iron and steel. It is also the largest supplier of cast-iron and steel pipe products.

5. Montgomery is the capital and the birthplace of the Confederate States of America.

6. The Confederate flag was designed and first flown in Alabama in 1861.

7. Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819.

8. The town of Enterprise houses the Boll Weevil Monument to acknowledge the role this destructive insect played in encouraging farmers to grow crops other than cotton.

9. Baseball player Henry Louis (Hank) Aaron was born in Mobile in 1934.

10. Boxer Joe Louis was born in Lexington in 1914. He died in 1981.

11. "Alabama" is the official state song.

12. Baseball player Willie Howard Mays was born in Westfield in 1931.

13. A skeleton of a pre-historic man was found in Russell Cave.

14. At 2,405 feet Cheaha Mountain is Alabama's highest point above sea level.

15. Huntsville is known as the rocket capital of the World.

16. The Alabama Department of Archives is the oldest state-funded archival agency in the nation.

17.  The musical singing group Alabama has a Fan Club and Museum in Fort Payne.

18. In 1902 Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performed the first open heart surgery in the Western Hemisphere by suturing a stab wound in a young boy's heart. The surgery occurred in Montgomery.

19. To help fund education Alabama instituted its state sales tax in 1937.

20. Schools established in Mobile include Washington Academy (founded in 1811) and Huntsville Green Academy (founded in 1812).