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Crazy Laws in the State of Illinois and Fun Facts

Updated on June 28, 2015
I'm innocent, I tell you!
I'm innocent, I tell you! | Source

Crazy Laws in the State of Illinois and Fun Facts

The crazy state laws seem to be getting crazier and crazier.

Although I must admit I find a certain appeal in the Rushville, Illinois law that requires the police to arrest absent city council members.

Here are 34 more strange, bizarre, crazy Illinois laws.

Crazy Laws in the State of Illinois

• In Illinois, animals can be sent to jail.

A monkey once served 5 days in a Chicago jail for shoplifting.

A state law in Illinois mandates that all bachelors should be called ‘master’, not ‘mister,’ when addressed by their female counterparts. The law does not apply to married couples.

‘Master Bates, I will not spend the night at the Bates Motel with you.’ (Sorry, the debbil made me do it!)

According to state law, it is illegal to speak English. The officially recognized language is ‘American’.

‘How are you?’ and ‘Cheerio’ are illegal. Translated to official language: ‘What’s up’ and ‘See ya when I see ya’.

You should see me in shorts!
You should see me in shorts! | Source

Crazy Laws in the Cities of Illinois

• In Champaign One may not urinate in their neighbor’s mouth.

This crazy law wins the title of Most Revolting . . . so far!

In Chicago It is against the law for women over 200 pounds to ride horses in shorts.

Do the shorts pertain to the horse or the rider? Just wonderin’.

it is illegal to take a French poodle to the opera.

But the law does not forbid taking your German Shepherd to ‘Tristan und Isolde’ or your Chihuahua to ‘Carmen.’

"Oops!" says dancer on the right as she drops her fiery baton.
"Oops!" says dancer on the right as she drops her fiery baton. | Source

The law forbids eating in a place that is on fire.

It’s okay to fire up the grill, but not the patrons.

It is illegal to fish in pajamas.

Could not resist this perfect opening for an ancient Groucho Marx one-liner: “One morning (on safari) I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know."

It is illegal to serve liquor to the feeble-minded.

This must have had an immediate negative impact on the bar business in Chicago.

Under a 1872 law still on the books, an alderman in Chicago can carry a gun.

Based on Chicago’s current crime rate, too many of the citizens behave like an alderman.

It is legal to protest naked in front of city hall as long as you are under 17 years of age and have legal permits.

What would you be protesting? Your stupidity???

Wanna go out for a bite?
Wanna go out for a bite? | Source

People who are diseased, maimed, mutilated, or "otherwise an unsightly or disgusting object" are banned from going out in public.

Zombies … beware!

• In Cicero – Humming on public streets is prohibited on Sundays.

You can be a bum, wherever you’re from, or chomp your gum, or beat your drum, or sass your mum until you’re numb, or guzzle rum, but do NOT hum.

• In Crete – It is considered an offense to attempt to have sex with one's dog.

So … if you succeed, does that make it legal? Just asking.

In Evanston – bowling is forbidden.

This one makes sense. Evanston does not permit the construction of bowling alleys.

Where are my curtains?
Where are my curtains? | Source

It is unlawful to change clothes in an automobile with the curtains drawn, except in case of fire.

Curtains in an automobile? How come I wasn’t offered that option with my new car?

• In Eureka – A man with a moustache may not kiss a woman.

What if the woman has a moustache? Just asking.

• In Freeport – It is illegal to expectorate from any second-story window.

Hold it ‘til you reach the first floor.

• In Galesburg – There is a $1,000 fine for beating rats with baseball bats.

Some laws just take all the fun out of life.

A little soap and water and I'll be good as new.
A little soap and water and I'll be good as new. | Source

No person may keep a smelly dog.

Why would any person want to keep a smelly dog? Give the poor thing a bath!

• In Horner – It is against the law to use a slingshot unless you are a law enforcement officer.

Watch those slingshots, officers, you could hurt someone.

In Joliet – Town fathers, reflecting the pet peeve of hearing their town's name mispronounced 'Jolly-ETTE' when all local folk know it's pronounced 'Joe-lee-ETTE', made pronouncing it Jolly-ette a misdemeanor, punishable by a $5 fine.

Watch your mouth in Joe-lee-ETTE.

Women can be arrested for trying on more than six dresses in one store.

The concept of customer service appears to be foreign to Joliet.

• In Kenilworth – A rooster must step back three hundred feet from any residence if he wishes to crow. Hens that wish to cackle must step two hundred feet back from any residence.

I wonder if the tape measure franchise is available.

In Kirkland – Bees are not allowed to fly over the village or through any of Kirkland's streets.

Do you want to be the one who informs the bees?

• In Manteno – You cannot “throw, drop or place a used hankie upon any public way or public place or upon the floor of any convenience store or upon the floor of any theater, hall or assembly or public building or upon the surface of any lot or parcel of ground or on the roof on any building or in any light or air shaft, court or areaway.”

Kleenex and Scott Tissue must have cooperated to sponsor this law.

• In Moline – Ice skating at the Riverside pond during the months of June and August is prohibited.

Good idea because the pond isn’t frozen during the summer.

My bite is worse than my bark.
My bite is worse than my bark. | Source

• In Mount Pulaski – It is illegal for boys (and only boys) to hurl snowballs at trees. Girls are allowed to do that, however.

Just more proof that life is not fair.

In Normal – It is against the law to make faces at dogs.

Do not make eye contact with them and you will be safe.

In Oblong – It is punishable by law to make love while hunting or fishing on your wedding day.

Can you make sense of this crazy law?

In Rushville – If the city council doesn't have a quorum, the members present can have the police go out and arrest the absent members and bring them to the meeting.

Finally . . . a crazy law that makes some sense.

Not to worry - Snow White's dwarfs are safe.
Not to worry - Snow White's dwarfs are safe. | Source

• In Springfield – Dwarf-tossing,’ the strange practice of hurling dwarfs in padded suits at a target, is outlawed in the bars because it's dangerous and exploitative. The practice is apparently allowed elsewhere in town, with a special permit.

Attention: little people! Steer clear of Springfield.

• In Urbana – It is against the law for a monster to enter the city limits.

Frankenstein, Godzilla, Hannibal and colleagues are not welcome in Urbana.

In Zion – It is illegal for anyone to give lighted cigars to dogs, cats, and other domesticated animals kept as pets.

Cigars are bad for your pets. Teach them to smoke e-cigs instead.

Algonquin couple
Algonquin couple | Source

Fun Facts and Illustrious Information about Illinois

Illinois is the French version of an Algonquian Indian word for ‘warriors’ or ‘tribe of superior men’ or ‘he speaks the regular way.’ Take your choice.

Illinois was the first state to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolishing slavery in1865.

The first animal purchased for the Lincoln Park Zoo, the oldest public zoo in the U.S., was a bear cub, bought for $10 on June 1, 1874.

John G. Shedd Aquarium
John G. Shedd Aquarium | Source

The Aquarium opened in Chicago on May 30, 1930. John G. Shedd donated $3,000,000 for its construction. More than 2 million people visit the Aquarium each year.

Shedd wanted to give back to the city where he had risen from a stock clerk to president of the giant department store, Marshall Field and Company.

The world's first modern skyscraper, the Home Insurance Building, was built in Chicago in 1885. The building was supported by a revolutionary steel frame.

It was demolished in 1931 to make way for a new skyscraper, the LaSalle Bank Building, 180 feet high with 12 stories. Not impressive today but it was then!

In 1905, president of the Chicago Cubs filed charges against a fan in the bleachers for catching a fly ball and keeping it.

Peoria City Hall
Peoria City Hall | Source
Metropolis Superman Museum
Metropolis Superman Museum | Source

Peoria, established by the French explorer, Henri de Tonti, in1691, is the oldest European settlement in Illinois.

Illinois boasts the highest number of personalized license plates, more than any other state.

At the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, you will find remnants of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico.

Metropolis, the home of Superman in DC Comics, really exists in Illinois.

There is a Superman Museum, and an annual celebration in June which attracts comic book collectors from all over the U.S.

The Chicago River is dyed green every Saint Patrick's Day as part of a more than fifty-year-old Chicago tradition.

Original McDonald's - 1955
Original McDonald's - 1955 | Source

Des Plaines is home to the first McDonald's franchise opened in 1955. Hamburgers were 15 cents; fries, 10 cents.

The highest point in Illinois is Charles Mound at 1,235 feet above sea level.

Chicago is home to the Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, the only buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire.

Yummy chocolate sundae
Yummy chocolate sundae | Source
Yummy Nabisco Oreo cookie
Yummy Nabisco Oreo cookie | Source

Did you ever wonder how the ice cream ‘sundae’ got its name? The town fathers passed an ordinance prohibiting the retailing of ice cream sodas on Sunday.

Ingenious drug store operators obeying the law, served ice cream with the syrup of your choice without the soda.

Objections then were made to christening a dish after the Sabbath. So the spelling of ‘Sunday’ was changed. It became an established dish and an established word – the ‘sundae.’

Nabisco's plant in Chicago (a 1,800,000-square-foot production facility) is the largest bakery in the world employing more than 1,500 workers and producing approximately 320 million pounds of snack foods annually.

The slogan of 105.9, the classic rock radio station in Chicago: 'Of all the radio stations in Chicago...we're one of them.'

World's largest catsup bottle
World's largest catsup bottle | Source
Enrico Fermi (1901-1954)
Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) | Source
Popeye the Sailorman
Popeye the Sailorman | Source

Collinsville is the home of the ‘the world’s largest catsup bottle’ – the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower.

This unique 170-foot tall water tower built in 1949 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Every July, Collinsville hosts the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival.

The University of Chicago opened on October 1, 1892 with an enrollment of 594 and a faculty of 103.

Today, enrollment is approximately 15,000 students and academic staff of 2,168.

On December 2, 1942, Enrico Fermi (often referred to as the father of the atomic bomb) and a small band of scientists and engineers demonstrated the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

The space chosen for the first nuclear fission reactor was a squash court under the football stadium at the University of Chicago.

Elzie Crisler Segar, the creator of ‘Popeye, the Sailorman’ cartoon, was born in Chester, Illinois.

In the first strip drawn in 1929, Popeye was asked if he was a sailor. His response: “Ja think I’m a cowboy?”

Comedy showcase, ‘Second City,’ was founded on North Wells Street in a former Chinese laundry in 1959.

The Chicago Public Library consists of 80 locations and is one of the world's largest public libraries with a collection of almost six million books.

What’s a library?

The Chicago Style of ‘jazz’ was developed by leading members of big-band swing music, Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa, during the 1930s.

Illinois has the largest recoverable bituminous coal reserve of any state in the United States – almost 1.2 billion tons.

Genuine Twinkies
Genuine Twinkies | Source

Twinkies were invented on April 6, 1930 in Schiller Park, Illinois.

The Chicago Post Office at 433 West Van Buren is the only postal facility in the world you can drive a car through.

New York Sun Editor, Charles Dana, tired of hearing Chicagoans boast of the world's Columbian Exposition, dubbed Chicago the ‘Windy City.’

Robert Pershing Wadlow and his father
Robert Pershing Wadlow and his father | Source

The world's tallest man was born in Alton. Robert Pershing Wadlow was 8'11", weighed 439 pounds, and wore a size 37 shoe.

Illinois generates more nuclear power than any other state. Nuclear power plants supply about 55% of the electric power generated in the state.

Abraham Lincoln’s first public office was as Postmaster in New Salem, Illinois.

Springfield is the state capital and the home of the National Historic Site of the home of President and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln before he became our 16th president.

Morton is the ‘pumpkin capital of the world.’ 85% of the world's canned pumpkin is produced in Morton.

John Dillinger (1903-1934)
John Dillinger (1903-1934) | Source

John Dillinger, 'Public Enemy Number One', was shot and killed by FBI agents in 1934 as he emerged from the Biograph Theatre in Chicago. 1903-1934

Ironically, the movie he had seen was 'Manhattan Melodrama', a gangster film. A plaque on the historic building describes the event.

Aurora is known as the ‘City of Lights’ because it was one of the first U.S. cities to implement an all-electric street lighting system in 1881.

The first all-color TV station, Channel 5, debuted in Chicago.

A smaller replica of the Leaning Tower of Pisa has been erected in the town of Niles. It is named the Leaning Tower of Niles.

Nearly 80% of the state's land area is farm land.

President Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004)
President Ronald Wilson Reagan (1911-2004) | Source

Ronald Wilson Reagan, our 40th President, was born in Tampico in an apartment above a store in 1911. Before he became an actor, he was a radio station sports announcer.

The first store in the Dairy Queen (DQ) soft-serve ice cream franchise was opened in Joliet on June 22, 1940 by J. F. and Alex McCullough.

What began as an ordinary fire in Patrick and Catherine O’Leary’s barn on October 8, 1871, quickly turned into what became known as the Great Chicago Fire.

The fire destroyed almost 18,000 buildings, left close to 100,000 inhabitants homeless, and killed between 200 and 300 people.

State Symbols

State amphibian – Eastern Tiger Salamander

State animal – White-tailed Deer

State bird – Northern Cardinal

State fish – Bluegill

State flower – Violet

State folk dance – Square dance

State fossil – Tully Monster *

State fruit – Goldrush apple

State insect – Monarch butterfly

State mineral – Fluorite (Illinois is the largest producer of fluorite in the U.S.)

State motto – State Sovereignty, National Union

State nicknames – The Prairie State, Land of Lincoln

State prairie grass – Big Bluestem

State reptile – Painted Turtle

State snack – Popcorn

State tree – White oak

* A Tully Monster is a soft-bodied invertebrate up to 14 inches long that lived in shallow water about 300 million years ago found only in fossil beds in Illinois.

More Illinois Fun Facts

San Jose, Atlanta and Charlotte are also cities in Illinois.

The first Ferris wheel made its debut in 1893 at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Hugh Hefner began publishing ‘Playboy’ magazine in Chicago in 1953.

Do you know what is so unusual about Ahlgrim’s Funeral Home in Palatine? In addition to its name?

Believe it or not, there is a miniature golf course in the basement of this funeral home. It was started over 35 years ago as a pastime for staff and family, and has become a tourist attraction.

In 2014, the most popular name chosen for baby boys in Illinois was Noah. Olivia was the most popular name for baby girls.

Celebrities born in Illinois include: Walt Disney, Robin Williams, Harrison Ford, Betty White, Dwyane Wade, Ludacris, Melissa McCarthy, Bill Murray, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama.

Favorite Illinois quote: "In politics, you never know who's going to die, retire or – in Illinois – get indicted." - Aaron Schock (former US Representative from Illinois)

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2015. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

Comments for Crazy Laws in the State of Illinois and Fun Facts

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    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Now that is one bit of news, Don, that I somehow missed. But I once lived in Illinois, so I am not too surprised. If the incident had somehow been recorded for YouTube, that cop (and his 'accomplice') might be stars today! :)

      Thanks for the anecdote.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      3 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      You have probably only hit the surface of the craziness in Illinois. There was an incicent in a town near where we lived where a cop had sex in a police car and accidentally switched on the polkice radio. The incident,as I recall, did hit the newspapers.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Genna. Happy to see you here and delighted that my series of crazy laws is seen as a tonic. I do agree with you. The U.S. may be crazy and odd at times but it is still the most wonderful country on earth.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 

      3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Laws prohibit eating in a place that is on fire, and fishing in your pajamas. Lol! Your series is a tonic, Doc. Who could not love this crazy, odd and wonderful place that is the US of A?

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Will. Thanks for reminding me that we both appreciate the finer humor in life. And thanks for the sublime comment - I treasure it ... and you.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Alicia. It is always a special comment when you mention the research and effort I put into my hubs. It takes one to know one and in your hubs, you provide the hallmark for the rest of us.

      I agree with you on that revoltin' law. What were they thinking?

    • WillStarr profile image


      3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Reminds me of that old joke about the kid working in the bait shop as an apprentice baiter, until he was promoted to master.

      Excellent Hub by the master!

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for all the research and effort you put into your Crazy Law hubs, drbj. The facts in this hub are very interesting, as always, and the laws are funny or in some cases very strange. I agree about the urination law being the "Most Revolting" so far!

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Instinctively, I knew, bp, that you would like that Rushville, IL crazy law as much as Eric and I do. Imagine if all the states and DC upheld that law. Politicians might finally get some positive work done.

      Oh, I know, I'm dreaming.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, shanmarie. Illinois is my home state, too, and I was happy to be an Illini there until I found Florida on my honeymoon. Though I must admit Florida's laws are also hilariously crazy.

      I went to school in Champaign-Urbana so it's just as well that I did not know about these crazy laws then.

      Thanks for finding me again, m'dear.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      I do agree, Faith. The Illinois crazy laws are among the most bizarre so far to be sure. Delighted you enjoyed my cute jailed monkey - that punishment was far worse than the crime. How much could one banana cost?

      Thanks for finding my hubs funny and hilarious and the Up pluses. You ARE the best! Hope the coming weekend is your best!

      Your hubs are funny....YOU make them hilarious!!.....UP+++

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      Hi, Eric. Thanks for the visit and the kind words. Happy to learn that you agree with me about that Rushville, IL statute. Seems fair to me.

    • drbj profile imageAUTHOR

      drbj and sherry 

      3 years ago from south Florida

      A real dog, eh, Bill? That's okay for you to say with all your open-space-life. But for me a real dog would take up too much space, sad to say. But since you LOL, I promise not to take you seriously.

      Especially since you love this series as I love writing it and my comments as well. What more could I ask?

    • breakfastpop profile image


      3 years ago

      I like the law that says that absent city council members can be jailed. I would amend it and expand it to all politicians who actually attend meetings.

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Been needing to catch up on yourbcrazy law posts. And it just so happens you have reached my home state! I knew quite a bit of these, but learned some too. I see you found the monster law. I grew up in Urbana-Champaign and I must admit I could have gone a lifetime without knowing Champaign's crazy law!

    • fpherj48 profile image


      3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      ROFLMAO.....In rare form you are Doc......Illinois has to be the topper, don't you think? These laws are not just crazy.......they are absurdly ludicrous!!!

      "I'm innocent I tell you." That monkey started me out laughing before I even read the first sentence!

      Your hubs are funny....YOU make them hilarious!!.....UP+++

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very entertaining and informative. I sure like the idea of being able to arrest politicians and make them do their job.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It seems perfectly natural to me to take a French poodle to the opera...and then leave it there permanently while you go out and buy a real dog. LOL I absolutely love this series and your comments are classic.


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