5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About California

On September 9, 1850, California became the 31st state of the Union. There are a lot of things that make California, also known fittingly as the Golden State, unique.  Here are five interesting facts about California that will surprise you...

 
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The Fortune Cookie Was Invented in San Francisco Although there are several stories as to when and where in the state the fortune cookie was invented, the prevailing one is that the cookies were made by the San Francisco bakery Benkyodo, and it was first served at the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park.  However, a Chinese immigrant named David Jung contested that he invented the cookie in 1918 in Los Angeles. Jung was the founder of the Hong Kong Noodle Company, and fought the San Francisco’s Court of Historical Review for the title of inventor. He lost.

Fallbrook, California Is the Avocado Capital Of The World Fallbrook, located in San Diego County, claims the title of "Avocado Capital of the World."  A festival is held every year that draws enormous crowds. Avocados are so prevalent in California that they were named the state fruit in 2013.

 
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Beverly Hills Began as a Lima Bean Ranch Originally a Spanish ranch that grew lima beans, Beverly Hills is now one of the most famous neighborhoods in Los Angeles.  Beverly Hills was incorporated in 1914, named after Beverly Farms in Massachusetts and the hills in the immediate area. The city’s glamour and appeal to Golden Age Hollywood movie stars were established when Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford purchased 56 acres there to build an estate.  Other celebrities began to follow suit, making 90210 a prestigious zip code.

The California State Flag Is Based on a Real Bear The California state flag features a majestic looking California grizzly bear named “Monarch.” Monarch was based on a real bear of the same name who was found in the Ventura Mountains in 1889. Monarch was the last grizzly to live in the wild in the state until he was captured and brought to Woodward Gardens in San Francisco. Monarch is now a taxidermy item at the California Academy of Sciences in the city where he died.

A Chemical Element Is Named After California Californium is a rare earth metal that is radioactive and was discovered on March 18, 1950. It was named after the state itself as well as the University of California where it was first synthesized. Californium is produced in particle accelerators and nuclear reactors.