Pennsylvania Facts

Pennsylvania is also referred to officially as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. It encompasses the Mid Atlantic and Northeastern areas in USA. It shares borders with fellow American states West Virginia, Ohio, Delaware, New York, Maryland and New Jersey and Ontario in Canada.

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Location and Geography : The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is the only original U.S. colony not to border the sea, being mostly surrounded by land and with a small connection to Lake Erie in the northwest. The state is known for its rivers and wooded areas, extending from a cold mountainous region in the west to a warmer, wetter climate in the eastern portion.

Counties and Regions : Pennsylvania has sixty-seven counties, but can also be broken up into more general regions as follows:

  • Allegheny National Forest
  • Coal Region
  • Cumberland Valley
  • Delaware Valley
  • Dutch Country
  • Endless Mountains
  • Happy Valley
  • Highlands Region
  • Laurel Highlands
  • Lehigh Valley
  • Main Line
  • Northern Tier
  • Northeastern Pennsylvania
  • Northwest Region
  • Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area
  • The Poconos (Mountains)
  • South Central Pennsylvania
  • Susquehanna Valley
  • Wyoming Valley
  • Western Pennsylvania

Major Cities : The biggest population center in Pennsylvania is by far the city of Philadelphia and its metropolitan area, which is home to a total of about 6 million people. The city of Pittsburgh is an easy second, with more than two million people living in its metropolitan area. Other major cities, such as Allentown and Erie, are significantly smaller. The state capital, Harrisburg, has less than fifty thousand people and is the ninth largest city in the state.

Population : With a population far exceeding twelve million people, Pennsylvania is the sixth most populous state in the country. During the colonial period of the United States, Pennsylvania (and its main city, Philadelphia) was a major population center.

Story Behind the Name : In the grant from the Duke of York (later to become King Charles II) that signed over the land to the Penn family, it was officially referred to as Pennsylvania. William Penn, who took possession of the colony, had wanted a different name for it, as he did not want people to think that he had named it after himself. As it turned out, he was not able to change the name, and the land was referred to as Pennsylvania from then on.

History and Colonization : Like many places in eastern America, the land that is now Pennsylvania was populated by several native tribes before various European powers began arguing over who owned it.
It was first colonized by the Dutch in the early seventeenth century. Later, Sweden and Great Britain both made claims on the same land. This led to numerous small wars, treaties, and land deals between all the people involved, including the Native American tribes. These conflicts and trades would, over time, result in the current borders of Pennsylvania.

In 1682, British philosopher William Penn was given the Pennsylvania colony as a repayment of debt from the Duke of York. Penn was a devout Quaker and a pacifist, and arrived at the colony with the intent of governing it peacefully. What is now the state of Delaware was originally part of the colony, but disagreed with Penn’s philosophies and split off from the whole, forming a separate government. William Penn did indeed run the colony in a civilized and peaceful manner, and became well-known for developing positive relations between the Quakers and the Native Americans.

Pennsylvania, as one of the thirteen original colonies, played a major role in the American Revolution and in the creation of the modern United States government. William Penn’s Frame of Government for Pennsylvania was one of the models for the later United States Constitution, and the city of Philadelphia was one of the most important and populous cities in the early New World (even serving as the fledgeling nation’s seat of government a few times). During the Civil War, the bloodiest battle and a major turning point occurred in the town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, cementing the historic and patriotic symbolism of the state.

In the early twentieth century, Pennsylvania became known for its industrial industries, most notably textile-making. The state has always been relatively strong agriculturally, with a notably unique rural culture that descends from early German immigrants (dialects of German are even spoken as a primary language among certain communities in Pennsylvania, although this practice is dying out). The nationwide decline in industrial production since the 1950s hit Pennsylvania hard, but the state’s economy has been recovering by focusing on the tourism, information and service industries.

More Pennsylvania Facts & Trivia

1.The original state in USA to have included the URL of its official website on a license shield is Pennsylvania.

2.USA's oldest public zoo is the Philadelphia Zoo. It was set up by Benjamin Franklin.

3.The original stadium for playing baseball was constructed in Pittsburgh. It was done in 1909.

4.The global Christmas tree Capital is Indiana County.

5.USA's chocolate capital is Hershey.

6.The theme of It's A Wonderful Life is used to beautify the city center of Indiana town every year on 25th December. Jimmy Stewart, who acted in the movie, was born and brought up in this town itself.

7.Pittsburgh's original car servicing outlet was inaugurated in 1913.

8.Pittsburgh Steelers is a football team that represents Pittsburgh professionally. The city is has also earned global fame for the local steel industry.

9.The earliest ever computer was used in Philadelphia in 1946.

10.Fairmount Park has an area of at least 8000 acres. It the biggest park in Philadelphia.

11.Bob Hoffmann is a well known humanitarian and entrepreneur but he is better remembered as the man who founded the discipline of bodybuilding and coached the US Olympic team. In 1932 the York Barbell Corp was started by him.

12.There are more than 300 groups of steps in Pittsburgh that are looked after by the city authorities. Their total height would exceed 26,000 feet, which is more than several peaks in Himalayas.

13.21st September 1874 is when the original daily tabloid was brought out. It happened in Philadelphia.

14.It was in Williamsport that the earliest World Series of the Little League Baseball was staged. The event was organized in 1946.

15.July 1784 was when the oldest zoo ever was opened in Philadelphia.

16.Martin guitars were made for the first time in Nazareth.

17.The original oil well of the world was drilled in 1859 by Edwin L Drake in Titusville. This oil well played a very important role in founding the present day oil and petroleum business. Drake Well Museum is located on the extraction site.

18.Once upon a time Philadelphia had functioned as USA's capital.

19.When a teacher is giving a lecture at the school auditorium in Hazleton he would not be able to consume a fizzy drink. It is prohibited in the laws.

20.It is easy to steer on Susquehanna River in Harrisburg. This is the reason this city was selected as the capital of Pennsylvania. It replaced Bellefonte.

21.Piano Forte is the first ever piano that was made in USA. It was made by Johann Behrent in 1775 in Philadelphia.

22.The original home for the US President was constructed in Philadelphia.

23.Starrucca Viaduct is situated in Pennsylvania. It is a railroad bridge made from stones and among this type of bridges that are used in the city it is the oldest.

24.The original flag of USA was created by Betsy Ross. It was made in Philadelphia.

25.The Liberty Bell was taken back to Philadelphia in June 1778. It was carried in a caravan of 700 wagons. Allentown Road in Towamencin was used to bring it back from Allentown. When the British soldiers had said that would take the city the bell had been taken away and the same route had been used at that time too.

26.In 1885 the original and successful application involving oxygen was made by Dr. George Holtzapple. He also won global acclaim for this finding. He had pledged not let Frederick Gable, a 16 year old boy from Loganville, die from pneumonia and this had led to invention of the particular therapy.

27.Driver's education started in USA in 1958. The school in question is State College Area High School in Pennsylvania.

28.In 1876 the first ever cop of Stewartstown was employed. He also used to work as a lighter of the lamp posts in the town.

29.The width at the base of Shenango River Dam is 66 feet and it is 720 feet tall. The roadway that crosses the dam at its upper portion is almost 68 feet from the creek bed. Shenango River Dam can be classified as a gravity dam and its center spillway is unrestrained. It is located close to Sharpsville.

30.Cheese steak sandwiches soft pretzel, water ice and TastyKakes were made for the first time ever in Philadelphia.

31.Henry Chapman Mercer built and founded Moravian Pottery & Tile Works. The company still makes hand-crafted products like tiles in a way that is just like the way Mercer used to make them. The company is located in Doylestown.

32.The tallest domed bridge made from stones is Rockville Bridge. It is located in Harrisburg.

33.The global black cherry capital is a Pennsylvanian borough named Kane.

34.The global mushroom capital is Kennett Square.

35.The basic idea behind the creation of Zippo Manufacturing was to make a useful, durable and necessary product. The company was set up in 1932 in Bradford by George G Blaisdell.

36.After Colonel Edward Drake found oil in Titusville a nearby town named Franklin rose to become a hub of global production of petroleum.

37.The complete length of Kinzua Railroad Bridge is 2100 feet and it goes up to 301 feet from the valley's ground, which is also at its center. When it was constructed in 1882 it was labeled as globally the tallest and biggest railway bridge. It is located close to Mount Jewett.

38.It was in Philadelphia in 1776 that the signing of Declaration of Independence took place.

39.The southern border of Antrim Township is included in Mason-Dixon Line. It is situated in the south-central part of Pennsylvania.

40.The earliest radio broadcast to have been aired on a commercial basis was done in Pittsburgh. The program was financed by KDKA radio, a local station.

41.When hit by a hammer the ringing rocks produce a distinct sound that has made them famous. At Lower Pottsgrove Township too the Ringing Hill has been dubbed after these rocks.

42.The Liberty Bell can be observed in Philadelphia.

43.The Star Theater at Mercersburg used to admit patrons in lieu of canned goods as they acted as supplies for the soup kitchen located in that area. This used to happen at the time of Great Depression.

44.The historic occasion named Crossing of the Delaware is repeated every year. This reenactment happens in Washington Crossing on 25th December.

45.The biggest plant for processing Welch's grapes in USA is at North East in Pennsylvania. The city also has four wineries that have been doing well. It is situated in Grape Coast area.

46.Liberty Tunnel is 5,700 feet long - it is the biggest synthetically ventilated subway for cars. It was inaugurated in 1924 in Pittsburgh.

47.William Penn founded Pennsylvania. It is after him that Penn Township has been named. It is also officially known as Township of Penn.

48.The Atlantic Ocean surrounds all the first colonies of USA other than Pennsylvania.

49.The global weather capital is Punxsutawney. Punxsutawney Phil, a groundhog which is famous for its weather prediction, is the city's most celebrated resident.

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Last Updated on: September 29th, 2017