Say you’re really into your state. Like, really. OK, this isn’t Texas, where state pride is all the rage. Despite our governors wearing (a lot of) stripes, and our never-ending budget stalemate, and the fact we can’t pay our bills, we love it here in Illinois anyway.
To show our Illinois pride, we’ve come up with a list of some of our favorites Illinois-inspired baby names:
14. Daley: The Daley family dominated Chicago politics for decades and shaped the city’s past — and future. We’re not trying to get all political on you, we just think it would be a cool name for a cool kid — boy or girl.
13. Wrigley: I haven’t seen many kids named Wrigley, but there have to be some out there. The Wrigley family was best known for manufacturing gum, but it’s their name on the iconic home of the Cubs that has vaulted the name onto this list. (In 2007 an Indiana couple — last name Fields — named their son Wrigley. I kid you not.) Of course, a very popular dog name.
12. Erika: Inspired by Erika Harold, Urbana native and Miss America 2003. Erika is one of five Miss Americas to hail from Illinois.
11. Kirby: This is about as Champaign as it gets. How often do we drive down this stretch of road? I love this name.
10. Jordan: This should really be self-explanatory, but maybe it isn’t anymore. Jordan, as in the greatest basketball player who ever lived. One of the few unisex names that doesn’t seem to be co-opted by either gender. Conveys a confident swagger.
9. Reagan: We enjoy presidential names. I recall seeing President Reagan’s motorcade in my hometown when I was a little girl. President Reagan was born and raised in Eureka. Also unisex.
8. Payton: This Payton is all about Sweetness, aka Walter. Bear down, Chicago Bears. The version with an e is not the same, but we will accept.
7. Bonnie: Don’t see very many Bonnies these days, but if you want to bestow your daughter with an Olympic-sized named in Champaign-Urbana, this is it. Champaign native Bonnie Blair is one of the most decorated Winter Olympic athletes of all time.
6. Marshall (as in Field’s): Now we’re really dating ourselves, but we would love to see more kids named Marshall, if only to honor the world’s best department store (back in the day).
5. Adler and Sullivan: Two of the most important American architects of all time impacted the skyline immeasurably in post-great fire Chicago. Extra points for these two.
4. Jane: Social worker, author, peace activist, and leader in the women’s suffrage movement, Jane Addams is best known as the founder of Hull House in Chicago. Addams was the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. A true hero.
3. Hillary: I left my crystal ball at home, and can’t predict what will happen in the 2016 election. Regardless, Hillary Clinton is one of the most influential women ever to come from Illinois, even if she is at times more closely associated with Arkansas and/or New York.
2. Michelle: Otherwise known as the First Lady of the United States. Her accomplishments on her own speak for themselves.
1. Lincoln: As if No. 1 could be anything else. This is the Land of Lincoln after all. We’re certainly proud of the 16th president and his roots in our fine state. His name is a legend among legends.
What Illinois inspired names did we miss?