I've been talking a great deal about DeMolay specific topics lately. While this is a DeMolay blog, I'm not opposed to taking a quick side track to discuss other topics that might be just plain interesting. In this case, I thought it might be fun to tackle some Pennsylvania Trivia and history.
Pennsylvania certainly isn't a glamorous state to live in. Heck, we aren't even a state, we're a commonwealth (one of four in the Union. Massachusetts, Virginia, and Kentucky are the others.) However, there is a great deal of history that Pennsylvanias should be proud of. Having lived in another State for about a year, I quickly realized just how much I loved my home state. Take some time, relax, and be proud to be a Pennsylvanian!
Random PA Facts:
1. Pennsylvania is the first state of the fifty United States to list their web site URL on a license plate.
2. In 1909 the first baseball stadium was built in Pittsburgh.
3. Hershey is considered the Chocolate Capital of the United States.
4. In 1913 the first automobile service station opened in Pittsburgh.
5. In 1946 Philadelphia became home to the first computer.
6. Bob Hoffman of York is hailed the world round as the Father of Weightlifting. Hoffman started York Barbell Corp. in 1932 and preached the gospel of physical fitness throughout his life as an U.S. Olympic coach, businessman and philanthropist.
7. The first daily newspaper was published in Philadelphia on Sept. 21, 1784.
8. Philadelphia saw the first Zoological garden in July 1874.
9. Drake's Well and Museum in Titusville is on the site where Edwin L. Drake drilled the world's first oil well in 1859 and launched the modern petroleum industry.
10. In Hazleton, there is a law on the books that prohibits a person from sipping a carbonated drink while lecturing students in a school auditorium.
11. In Philadelphia in 1775 Johann Behrent built the first piano in America calling it under the name "Piano Forte."
12. Philadelphia is the site of the first presidential mansion.
13. Betsy Ross made the first American flag in Philadelphia.
14. "Doctor, if you don't give me something to help me breathe, I'm going to stop!" came the urgent cry of 16-year old Frederick Gable of Loganville. Vowing not to lose another patient to pneumonia, Dr. George Holtzapple successfully created the first application of oxygen, thus saving his patient's life and winning international fame through his discovery. The year was 1885.
15. Stewartstown hired its first police officer in 1876. He was also the town lamp lighter.
16. Philadelphia is home to the cheesesteak sandwich, water ice, soft pretzels, and Tasty Kakes.
17. The Rockville Bridge in Harrisburg is the longest stone arch bridge in the world.
18. Kennett Square is known as the Mushroom Capital of the World.
19. The town of Franklin became a center for worldwide oil production following Colonel Edwin Drake's discovery of oil in nearby Titusville.
20. The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776.
21. KDKA radio in Pittsburgh produced the first commercial radio broadcast.
22. Philadelphia is home to the Liberty Bell.
23. Each year on Christmas day the "Crossing of the Delaware" is reenacted at Washington Crossing.
24. The Liberty Tunnel in Pittsburgh opened in 1924. At that time the 5,700 foot facility was the longest artificially ventilated automobile tunnel in the world.
25. Pennsylvania is the only original colony not bordered by the Atlantic Ocean.
26. Benjamin Franklin founded the Philadelphia Zoo, the first public zoo in the United States.
27. Indiana County is the Christmas Tree capital of the world.
28. Actor Jimmy Stewart was born and raised in the town of Indiana. Each year at Christmas the downtown area is decorated in the theme of the film "It's a Wonderful Life."
29. Pittsburgh is famous for manufacturing steel thanks to the United States Steel Corporation. Its professional football team is named the Pittsburgh Steelers. This is the only team in professional sports named for a company!
30. Fairmount Park in Philadelphia is the largest city park with over 8,000 acres.
31. Pittsburgh has over 300 sets of city maintained steps. If they were stacked on top of each other, they would reach over 26,000 feet high. They would measure higher than a lot of the Himalayan Mountains.
32. Little League Baseball's first World Series was held in 1946 in Williamsport.
33. Nazareth is the home of Martin guitars. Finger picking good since 1833.
34. The State College Area High School was the first school in the country to teach drivers education in 1958.
35. Philadelphia was once the United States capital city.
36. Originally Bellefonte, a town now with a population of 5,000, was once considered to be Pennsylvania's capital. But Harrisburg was chosen because of the easy navigation on the Susquehanna River.
37. The first coal festival was held 201 years after the establishment of "Peter’s Camp" on Memorial weekend 1993 in Blossburg.
38. The oldest stone railroad bridge in use in Pennsylvania is the Starrucca Viaduct that crosses PA Route 171 north of Lanesboro in Susquehanna County.
39. In June 1778, a 700 wagon caravan escorted the Liberty Bell on its return to Philadelphia from Allentown along Towamencin's Allentown Road. Nine months earlier, when British troops threatened to capture the city, the bell had been whisked into hiding via the same route.
40. The Shenango River Dam near Sharpsville is a concrete gravity dam with an uncontrolled center spillway. The roadway crossing the top of the dam, over the spillway is nearly 68 feet above the stream bed. The dam has a top length of 720 feet with a base width of 66 feet.
41. At the Moravian Pottery & Tile Works in Doylestown handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the potter's founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer.
42. The Borough of Kane is known as the Black Cherry Capital of the World.
43. George G. Blaisdell founded Zippo Manufacturing of Bradford in late 1932. He started with a simple idea: create a product that answers a real need, design it to work, and guarantee it to last.
44. When completed in 1882, the Kinzua Railroad Bridge near Mount Jewett was acclaimed "the highest and longest railroad viaduct in the entire world." Rising 301 feet from the valley floor at its center, with a total length of 2100 feet.
45. Antrim Township is located in South-Central Pennsylvania with its southern border being a part of the Mason-Dixon line.
46. Ringing Hill in Lower Pottsgrove Township is named after the "ringing rocks" which were known for the unique ringing sound they made when struck by a hammer.
47. During the depression canned goods served as admission to The Star Theater in Mercersburg to help supply the local soup kitchen.
48. Located in the Grape Coast region of Pennsylvania, the city of North East, in Erie County, has four thriving wineries and is home to the largest Welch's grape processing plant in the country.
49. Penn Township, officially referred to as the Township of Penn, was named after the founder of Pennsylvania, William Penn.
50. Punxsutawney citizens are proud to be over-shadowed by their town's most famous resident, the world-renowned weather forecasting groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Punxsutawney is billed as the weather capital of the world.
51. The largest naval battle to ever take place on Lake Erie was during the War of 1812. It was fought between the United States and the British. The fleet was built in the dockyards of Erie, and sailed from Presque Isle to do battle. The Commander of the American fleet was Oliver Hazard Perry, after whom many counties and towns have been named (including Perry County, PA.)Perry won the battle, and secured the ports on Lake Erie for the remainder of the war.
So why 51? Well, I had to add in some Erie trivia. Also, I belong to Perry-Keystone Lodge No. 392 in Erie, named for Oliver Hazard Perry. C'mon - I can't let go of my Erie roots!
Special thanks to http://www.50states.com/facts/penn.htm for this info!
Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony