Pennsylvania Facts
Pennsylvania Facts

24 Pennsylvania Facts that Will Surprise You

Karin Lehnardt
By Karin Lehnardt, Senior Writer
Published April 1, 2024
  • The official name of Pennsylvania is the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.[4]
  • Pennsylvania is the 5th most populous state in the United States, with a population of 13 million people. California, Texas, Florida, and New York round out the top four.[4]
  • Philadelphia hosted the First Continental Congress and is the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed.[4]
  • Pennsylvania was the second state in the United States, after Delaware.[5]
  • Pennsylvania is famous for mushroom production. It produces more mushrooms than any other state, at 425 million pounds annually and a value of $330 million.[4]
  • Mushroom Pennsylvania Fact
    Kennet, Pennsylvania, has the largest concentration of mushroom farms in the United States

  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was the capital of the United States six separate times.[4]
  • The turning point of the Civil War is widely regarded to be the Battle of Gettysburg, in Pennsylvania. President Lincoln's Gettysburg address is one of the most famous speeches in history.[4]
  • Pennsylvania is also known as the "Snack Capital of the World" because it is the largest producer of canned fruit, chocolate and cocoa products, pretzels, and potato chips. Its snack, food, and confectionary products total over $5 billion annually.[6]
  • Scranton, Pennsylvania, was the first city in the United States to be electrified.[2]
  • Philadelphia Zoo Fact
    During its first year, the zoo had 813 animals and over 228,000 visitors
  • The first zoo in the United States was the Philadelphia Zoo, which opened on July 1, 1874. It was also the first zoo to have orangutan and chimp births.[1]
  • Titusville, Pennsylvania, was the birthplace of the oil industry in 1716 and helped fuel the Industrial Revolution.[2]
  • Philadelphia was the main source of uniforms for the Union army during the Civil War.[2]
  • Pennsylvania published the first daily newspaper in the United States. Titled the Pennsylvania Packet and Daily Advertiser, it began daily publication on September 21, 1784.[8]
  • Pennsylvania means "Penn's woods." William Penn named the state for his father, Admiral Sir William Penn.[4]
  • Indigenous groups that originally inhabited Pennsylvania include the Lenape, or Delaware, and the Susquehannock. After the Europeans arrived, other groups, such as the Nanticoke and the Shawnee, migrated there.[4]
  • Pennsylvania was the second state, after Delaware, to ratify the U. S. Constitution.[5]
  • Famous Pennsylvanians include Benjamin Franklin, Daniel Boone, Mary Cassat, and Robert Fulton.[3]
  • Pennsylvania is nicknamed the "Keystone State" because of its central role in colonial history.[5]
  • Pennsylvania is home to the Liberty Bell. The bell weighs about 2,000 pounds and hangs form what is believed to be its original yoke made from American elm wood. Following an attack on the bell by someone with a hammer in 2001, no one is allowed to touch the bell.[5]
  • The Hershey Company is located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and is known as the "sweetest place on earth." Eighty million Hershey kisses are made each day.[4]
  • Betsy Ross Pennsylvania Facts
    Betsy and family moved from New Jersey to Pennsylvania when she was three years old
  • Betsy Ross sewed the American flag in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1776.[4]
  • Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine at the University of Pittsburg in July 1952.[4]
  • Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, is the site of the worst commercial nuclear disaster in the United States. On March 28, 1979, the nuclear plant's core reactor partially melted. The clean up cost $973 million and took nearly 12 years.[5]
  • Pittsburgh has more public staircases than any other city in the United States. The city has 800 sets of steps with over 45,000 individual steps. If stacked on top of each other, they would be over 26,000 feet high.[7]

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