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Pennsylvania (PA): State Guide and Fun Facts


When was Pennsylvania Founded? 1682

Who Founded Pennsylvania? William Penn

First settlers: Delaware (Leni Lanape) Mahican, Connoy, Susquehannock and Nanticoke Native Americans

Square Miles: 46,058

US Rank: 33rd

State Flower: Mountain Laurel

State Bird: Ruffed Grouse

State Motto: Virtue, Liberty and Independence

Capital City

Harrisburg – The capital of the Keystone state is located on the Susquehanna River. Harrisburg has made itself an area for cultural, historical and recreational exploration. The city has established great areas such as Second Street’s Restaurant Row and South of Market, which attract visitors and residents to the downtown area of the city. The city has made a point to create bicycle-friendly roads, encouraging families to explore via alternate transportation.

 

What is Pennsylvania famous for?

1. Pennsylvania Dutch – The Pennsylvania Dutch are descendants of German immigrants that came to the United States in the 18th century. The remaining descendents are primarily Amish and Mennonite communities that live in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. These communities, especially the Amish, remain particularly cut off from the “outside” world. They run their own schoolhouses for their children, have a separate church. Their values include hard labor, living the rural life and staying humble.

2. Hershey Candy – Milton Hershey was born in 1857 in a small Pennsylvania town. He was born into a Mennonite family and only attended school until the fourth grade. From early on, Milton was an apprentice with a candy maker in Lancaster County. After four years, he decided he wanted to try his hand at his own candy making business. He failed twice in Chicago and New York, but upon his return to his home, succeeded in establishing the Lancaster Caramel Company. Hershey was responsible for bringing luxurious Swiss milk chocolate to the United States. The chocolatier’s vision extended further than his factory, he went on to build a community for his employees. This included housing, a park, which later grew into a full amusement park, and trolley cars and trains. Today, the park remains, and attracts visitors from all over the world, who come with a sweet tooth and an open mind, ready to learn about one of the world’s most famous chocolate brands.

3. US Mint – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania lays claim to being the home of the first United States mint. The mint was commissioned in 1792 by Congress, and was built in the current capital of the nation, Philadelphia. The first coins produced by the mint were copperpennies. Today, the mint is in its newest home, built in 1969 and is the workplace for the sculptor-engravers that design the reliefs on the coins. Tours are given daily, and in addition to the new technology, visitors can see the old hand coining presses used in 1793.

What is Pennsylvania’s economy?

1. Mining – Pennsylvania is one of the largest coal-mining states in the country. It is the last remaining area to mine anthracite coal, a variety of coal that has a high carbon count and the least impurities of any variety. The state also mines limestone, sand, gravel and petroleum.

2. Farming – Pennsylvania produces a large amount of agricultural products. The primary source of revenue in the farming and agriculture category is derived from livestock and products that are produced from livestock such as milk and cheese. Besides livestock, the state is a large producer of chicken eggs, young chickens, pigs and hogs and turkeys.

3. Manufacturing – Pennsylvania is a leading producer of chemicals, prescription drugs, aspirin, paint, petrochemicals and resins. The state also contributes to a large share of the country’s food manufacturing, with items such as beer, bread, chocolate, cocoa, cookies, crackers, sausages, canned mushrooms, ice cream, chips and pretzels.

 

Pennsylvania Historical Landmarks

1. Gettysburg – Gettysburg, Pennsylvania is a small town of only 7,500 people located in the south central part of the state. It is most well known because it was the site of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863. This battle was the turning point of the American Civil war. On July 3, the last day of battle, almost 50,000 Americans had been killed. It was at this site that, four months later, President Abraham Lincoln honored the fallen in his Gettysburg Address.

2. Liberty Bell – The Liberty Bell, currently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in Londonin 1751 and upon its first test, the bell cracked. The bell was recast, but its sound was described as unmelodic, to be kind. The current crack is said to have happened far later than the original, between 1817 and 1846. The bell was described in 1846 as being “irreparable cracked” and “forever dumb.” Today, the bell is located in the Liberty Bell Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is open daily for viewing from 9am until 5pm.

3. Allegheny County Courthouse – Located in Pittsburgh, the current courthouse was designed and built in 1884 by noted architect, Henry Hobson Richardson. The building reflects Richardson’s typical style (rusticated stone, brownish red roof), but is unique in that it was built around an interior courtyard, which allowed light to reach interior areas of the building. The main part of the building is linked to the prisoner’s wing by a bridge that resembles the Bridge of Sighs in Venice, Italy.

4. Fallingwater – Perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright’s most iconic work, Fallingwater has remained nestled in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania for 75 years. The house possesses Wright’s characteristic horizontality, with large flat roof planes cantilevered precariously over the picturesque waterfall on which the house is situated. The house, however, was not built in the Prairie style, for which Frank himself invented. What the house does accomplish, which is similar to the Prairie homes that he designed, is its incorporation into nature. The use of material and the cascading roof planes mimic the stone rocks and water cascading down Bear Run. It is as if the house was naturally there, before man discovered the area.

Quick Trivia for Kids

Was Pittsburgh named after someone named Pitt? If so, what did he have to do with Pennsylvania?

Pittsburgh was named for William Pitt- even though Pitt never set foot in Pennsylvania. Pitt’s actions as a British war minister during the French and Indian War lead to the city’s founding. He committed money and troops to the war; he mapped out a strategy that included the capture of Fort Duquesne. After the French fort fell in November 1758, a British one was built- Fort Pitt, or Pittsburgh. The city of Pittsburgh still stands on that spot.