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Facts about Pennsylvania

History | Symbols | Interesting Facts | Famous People

Statehood:  December 12, 1787, the 2nd state

Capital:  Harrisburg

Total Area:  33rd among states, 119,290 sq km (46,058 sq mi)

Water Area:  3,209 sq km (1,239 sq mi)

Highest Point:  Mount Davis, 979 m (3,213 ft)

Total Population:   6th among states
2010 census -  12,

Population Density in 2010:  283.9 people per sq mi

Distribution in 2000:  76.8% Urban, 23.2% Rural

Gross State Product - $575.6 billion (2010)
Personal income per Capita - $39,578 (2009)

Largest cities in 2010: 
Philadelphia:  1,526,006
Pittsburgh:  305,704
Allentown:  1

  • The nation's first circulating library, the Library Company of Philadelphia, was founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and others.

  • In 1869 a Philadelphia garment worker, Uriah S. Stephens, helped found one of the first
    major national labor unions, the Knights of Labor.

  • Each February national attention is focused on Punxsutawney, where according to lore the emergence of a groundhog from its burrow predicts the number of weeks remaining of winter.

  • Pennsylvania's outstanding industrial achievements were in iron and steel. Its production of iron was notable even in colonial times, and the charcoal furnaces of the state spread into the Juniata and western regions during the mid-1800s.

  • Hershey is considered the Chocolate Capital of the United States.

  • The first commercial broadcast station in the world was KDKA in Pittsburgh, which started daily schedule broadcasting on November 2, 1920.

  • The first all-motion-picture theater in the world was opened on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh on June 19, 1905, by John P. Harris and Harry Davis.

  • Pennsylvania is the first state of the fifty United States to list their web site URL on a license plate.

  • The Warner brothers began their careers in western Pennsylvania.

  • Pennsylvania's 51,000 farms are the backbone of the state's economy.  Pennsylvania is an important food distribution center, supplying farm and food products to markets from New England to the Mississippi River.

  • The earliest successful experiment of Thomas A. Edison with electric lighting was made in Sunbury.

  • The first U.S. zoo was built in Philadelphia in 1876.

  • In 1940, Pennsylvania opened the first high-speed, multi-lane highway in the country, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which set the pattern for modern super-highways throughout the nation.

  • Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell belong today to the city of Philadelphia, which purchased the property for $70,000 from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 1816.