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Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

25 Peachy Facts About Georgia

Chloe Effron
Chloe Effron

There’s lot more to Georgia beyond the three P’s (peaches, pecans, and peanuts, of course). From pirates to monster pigs, here are 25 things you might not have heard about the Empire State of the South.

1. The southern state is home to the largest Hindu Temple of its kind outside of India. The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Atlanta is part of a series of temples whose pieces were carved in India and shipped around the world to be assembled on site. At 75 feet tall, the structure is the city’s tallest (that city being Lilburn, which is just outside Atlanta).

thespanishpeach via Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2. Savannah's Pirate’s House restaurant is thought to be the oldest standing building in the state. It was frequented by real-life pirates and other seafarers during the 18th century, and is rumored to have inspired parts of Treasure Island

3. Marshall Forest in Rome, Georgia, is the only natural forest located within U.S. city limits. 

4. Reaching 4,784 feet above sea level, Brasstown Bald is Georgia’s highest peak. Its unusual name comes from a translation error. The original Cherokee name for the mountain was Itse’yi, which means “Green Place.” White settlers misheard the term as Untsai’yi, which is the Cherokee word for brass.

5. In Gainesville, “the Poultry Capital of the World,” it’s technically illegal to eat chicken with a fork.

6. Visitors flying into Savannah Airport should keep an eye out for two graves in the middle of Runway 10. After paving over the graves to extend the runway, the airport was courteous enough to lay a pair of headstones into the tarmac. No other known graves on earth can be found embedded in an airport runway.

7. For a brief period in 1947, three men simultaneously claimed to be the governor of Georgia. This followed the death of the actual elected governor, Eugene Talmadge, who passed away before the inauguration ceremony. The “three governor controversy” was eventually resolved by the State Supreme Court.

8. Georgia Southern University is home to the largest collection of tick specimens in the world (over 1 million of them).

9. If the confederacy had won the war, Stone Mountain may have taken the place of Mount Rushmore as a beloved national icon. The massive carving depicts Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee riding horses while holding their hats over their hearts. Not only is it larger than the South Dakota monument, it’s the biggest high relief sculpture in the world. 

SteamFanvia Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 2.5

10. The S.S. Savannah set sail from Georgia in 1819 and became the first steamship to cross the Atlantic when it landed in Liverpool 29 days later.

11. The campus of Berry College in Rome is the largest in the world. Spanning 28,000 acres, the campus is home to a wildlife sanctuary, a working mill, and a plantation home featured in the film Sweet Home Alabama.

12. Athens, Georgia, is the home of The Tree That Owns Itself. It stands in place of an actual tree that was granted legal autonomy by its owner in the early 19th century. When the original was toppled by a thunderstorm in 1942, locals rallied to plant a replacement. 

13. In 1886, Coca-Cola was sold for the first time at Jacob’s Pharmacy in Atlanta for five cents a glass.

14. Covering 700 square miles, Okefenokee Swamp is the largest in North America (the name is also really fun to say). 

15. In 2004, photos spread of a monstrous wild hog that was shot and killed on a Georgia hunting reserve. The beast, dubbed “Hogzilla,” was initially rumored to stretch 12 feet long and weigh half a ton. Experts eventually confirmed its existence, but determined that the specimen was actually less than 8 feet long and weighed 800 pounds. 

16. In addition to Coca-Cola, Georgia is also home to the headquarters of Chick-fil-ACNN, Delta Airlines, the Centers for Disease Control, and Home Depot.

17. Georgia founder James Ogelthorpe initially envisioned the colony as a refuge for the indebted prisoners of London.

18. In 1943, Georgia became the first state to lower the voting age from 21 to 18. 

19. Georgia is the birthplace of the Tsalagi, or Cherokee, alphabet. The written language led to the publication of the first Native American newspaper in 1827

20. Outside of former peanut farmer Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, Georgia, resides a 13-foot-tall peanut statue that bears his toothy grin. 

21. Founded as the “Georgia Female College” in 1836, Wesleyan is the oldest women’s college in the world.

22. "Statesboro Blues," made popular by the Allman Brothers and Taj Mahal, is a cover of Blues legend "Blind Willie" McTell's 1928 tune. Although McTell—who could read and write music in Braille—was born in Thomson, Georgia, he referred to Statesboro, in Bulloch County, as "my real home."

23. Decatur, Georgia, is the site of the very first Waffle House. Today the restaurant acts as the Waffle House Museum featuring memorabilia from the chain’s 60 year history. 

24. Punxsutawney has Phil, and Atlanta has General Beauregard Lee. Every Groundhog Day locals tune in to see Beau’s weather forecast for the year. He spends the rest of his days residing in his groundhog-sized white, columned mansion dubbed “Weathering Heights.” 

25. Atlanta’s 68 streets with “Peachtree” in the name outnumber actual peach trees in the city. 

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16 Geeky Coasters to Keep Your Coffee Table Safe
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iStock

Avoid unsightly ring stains on your coffee table with this delightful selection of coasters:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FLOPPY DISKS; $22.79

Floppy disks are not obsolete—at least in your living room area.

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2. MARIO; $20

Mario Question Mark Block Coaster Set
Etsy

Unfortunately, no coins will be coming out of these coasters, but they will keep your table dry.

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3. GAME OF THRONES; $12.99

Game of Thrones coasters
HBO Shop

Avoid a royal mess with house sigils of houses Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister.

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4. PACMAN; $20.95

Use these on a black table to recreate the retro video game.

Buy on Epic Giftables.

5. AGATE; $35

Rock on: These fancy agate coasters will look solid resting under your glass.

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6. ELEMENTS; $56.99

These glowing coasters are perfect for chemists, Breaking Bad fans, and anyone who forgot to pay their electric bill.

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7. BUILDING BLOCKS; $19.99

Build your own coaster with this LEGO-esque design.

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8. STAR TREK; $16.63

Star Trek ship coasters
Amazon

This ceramic set celebrates all the best ships from Star Trek.

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9. DR. WHO; $22.99

Just make sure you don’t accidentally send your glass into a different time period when you set it down.

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10. RILAKKUMA; $1.95

Rilakkuma coaster
Bonanza

Cover your counter space with the cute face of Rilakkuma.

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11. HARRY POTTER; $50

Set of wood burned coasters featuring the crest of each Harry Potter house
Etsy

All the houses are present in this set of wood coasters.

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12. FALLOUT; $25

fallout coasters
Etsy

Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean all manners go out the door: Never forget to use a coaster!

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13. BRAIN; $19.99

This set comes with 10 coasters, each with a slice of brain specimen. When you’re not using them, you can stack them together to create a full brain.

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14. THE LAST AIRBENDER; FROM $13

Aang and his entourage face off on these wooden coasters.

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15. BUFFY AND CO; $20

Getting totally wigged by the idea of a stained table? All your favorite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can give you an assist.

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16. STUDIO GHIBLI; $25

Studio Ghibli Stone Tile Coasters
Etsy

These coasters feature scenes from the classics My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.

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15 Educational Facts About Old School
DreamWorks
DreamWorks

Old School starred Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin, an attorney who—after catching his girlfriend cheating, and through some real estate and bitter dean-related circumstances—becomes the leader of a not-quite-official college fraternity. Along with his fellow thirtysomething friends Bernard (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell), they end up having to fight for their right to maintain their status as a party-loving frat on campus.

The film, which was released 15 years ago today, marked Vaughn’s return to major comedies and Ferrell’s first major starring role after seven years on Saturday Night Live. Here are some facts about the movie for everyone, but particularly for my boy, Blue.

1. THE IDEA ORIGINATED WITH AN AD GUY.

Writer-director Todd Phillips was talking to a friend of his from the advertising industry named Court Crandall one day. Crandall had seen and enjoyed Phillips's movie Frat House (1998) and told his director buddy, “You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own.” After being told by Phillips to write it, he presented Phillips with a “loose version” of the finished product.

2. SOME OF THE FRAT SHENANIGANS WERE REAL.

While Crandall received the story credit for Old School, Phillips and Scot Armstrong received the credit for writing the script. Armstrong put his own college fraternity experiences into the script. “We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves," Armstrong shared in the movie's official production notes. "A lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of ‘brilliance' might be different from other people's.”

3. IVAN REITMAN HELPED OUT.

Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes and Ghostbusters, was an executive producer on the film. Phillips and Armstrong wrote and rewrote every day for two months at Reitman’s house, an experience Phillips described as comedy writing “boot camp.”

4. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT VINCE VAUGHN.

Vince Vaughn in 'Old School' (2003)
DreamWorks

It didn’t seem to make a difference to DreamWorks that Phillips and Armstrong had written the role of Bernard with Vince Vaughn in mind—the studio didn't want him. After his breakout success in Swingers, Vaughn had taken roles in dramas like the 1998 remake of Psycho. “So when Todd Phillips wanted me for Old School, the studio didn’t want me,” Vaughn told Variety in 2015. “They didn’t think I could do comedy! They said, ‘He’s a dramatic actor from smaller films.’ Todd really had to push for me.”

5. RECYCLED SHOTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY WERE USED.

The film was mainly shot on the Westwood campus of UCLA. The aerial shots of the fictitious Harrison University, however, were of Harvard; they had been shot for Road Trip (2000).

6. VINCE VAUGHN FANS MIGHT RECOGNIZE THE CHURCH.

In the film, Frank gets married at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. Vaughn and Owen Wilson were in that same church two years later for Wedding Crashers (2005).

7. WILL FERRELL SCARED MEMBERS OF A 24-HOUR GYM.

Frank’s streaking scene was shot on a city street. As Ferrell remembered it, one of the storefronts was a 24-hour gym with Stairmasters and treadmills in the window. “I was rehearsing in a robe, and all these people are in the gym, watching me. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘Shouldn’t we tell them I’m going to be naked?’ Sure enough, I dropped my robe and there were shrieks of pure horror. After the first take, nobody was at the window anymore. I took that as a sign of approval.”

8. FERRELL REALLY WAS NAKED.

Ferrell justified it by saying it showed his character falling off the wagon. “The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level," Ferrell told the BBC. "If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense.” Still, Ferrell needed some liquid courage, and was intimidated by the presence of Snoop Dogg.

9. ROB CORDDRY WAS NOT NAKED, BUT HE STILL HAD TO SIGN AWAY HIS NUDITY RIGHTS.

Old School marked the first major film role for Rob Corddry, who at the time was best known as a correspondent for The Daily Show. He had a jewel bag around his private parts for his nude scene, but his butt made it into the final cut. He had to sign a nudity clause, which gave the film the right to use his naked image “in any part of the universe, in any form, even that which is not devised.”

10. SNOOP DOGG AGREED TO CAMEO SO HE COULD PLAY HUGGY BEAR IN STARSKY & HUTCH.

Phillips admitted to essentially bribing the hip-hop artist/actor, using Snoop Dogg’s desire to play the street informant in the modern movie adaptation of the classic TV show (which Phillips was also directing) to his advantage. “So when I went to him I said, 'I want you to do Huggy Bear,' he was really excited. And I said, 'Oh yeah, also will you do this little thing for me in Old School a little cameo?' So he kind of had to do it I think."

11. SNOOP WANTED TO HANG OUT WITH VINCE VAUGHN ON SET, BUT NOT LUKE WILSON.

Snoop Dogg in 'Old School' (2003)
Richard Foreman, Dreamworks

Vaughn and his friends accepted an invitation to hang out in Snoop Dogg’s trailer to play video games on the last day of shooting. Vaughn recalled seeing Luke Wilson later watching the news alone in his trailer; he had not been informed of the get-together.

12. WILSON WAS TEASED BY HIS CO-STARS.

Vaughn, Wilson, and Ferrell dubbed themselves “The Wolfpack”—years before Phillips directed The Hangover—because they would always make fun of each other. A particularly stinging exchange had Ferrell refer to Legally Blonde (which Wilson had starred in) as Legally Bland. Wilson said it didn’t make him feel great. Wilson retorted by telling Ferrell that "the transition from TV to the movies isn't a very easy one, so you might just want to keep one foot back in TV just in case this whole movie thing falls through!"

13. TERRY O’QUINN SCARED HIS SONS INTO THINKING THEY WERE TRIPPING.

Terry O’Quinn (who went on to play John Locke on Lost the following year) agreed to play Goldberg, uncredited, in what was a two-day job for him. He neglected to inform his sons he was in the movie, and when they saw it, one of them called their father. “I got a call from my sons one night, and they said, ‘What were you doing in Old School? We didn’t even know you were in it!’ They said, ‘We’re sitting there, and the first time we see you, it’s, like, in a reflection in a window. And when we saw it, and we both thought we were, like, tripping or something!’”

14. THE EARMUFFS WERE IMPROVISED.

Before filming, Vaughn worked with Ferrell to figure out their characters' backstories and how they knew each other; he credited that with helping him figure out who Bernard was, which led to several ad-libbed moments. “The earmuff scene where he swears in front of the kids, and then I tell the kid to earmuff, that all is off the cuff. But that stuff is a lot easier to do when you know who you are and your circumstances, and who your characters are,” Vaughn explained.

15. FERRELL AND VAUGHN DIDN’T LOVE A SCRIPT FOR A SEQUEL.

Armstrong had written Old School Dos in 2006, which saw the frat going to Spring Break. Ferrell said that he and Vaughn read the script but felt like they would just be “kind of doing the same thing again.” Wilson, on the other hand, was excited over the new script.

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