Facts about Pennsylvania for each letter of the alphabet.
Click on highlighted words for more information.
although Pennsylvania is a Commonweath, I often use the word state.
A IS FOR AGRICULTURE, AMISH, & ARCHAEOLOGY
The AMISH way of life largely revolves around working and socializing together as a family and community.The farmlands of the Pennsylvania Dutch Country are among the most productive in the nation. Many of the farmers are the Old Order Amish and Mennonites, also known as the "Plain People", and maintain their own traditional religious and social ways.
October is ARCHAEOLOGY month in Pennsylvania. The state has several archaeology events for kids, families, and schools. There are many archaeology sites in the state and most of them are on the National Register of Historic Places in Pennsylvania. The state also has petroglyph sites.The Society for Pennsyvania Archaeology promotes the study of prehistoric and historic Archaeology in the state. The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology has special program, events, exhibits, and collections. Several colleges in the state offer degrees in archaeology.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation maintains the 3rd largest number of State BRIDGES in the country. Pittsburgh is said to have more bridges than any other city in the country. A trio of bridges in Pittsburgh is known as "The Three Sisters Bridges". Many Historic Iron & Steel Truss Bridges are disappearing. Pennsylvania has had 64 Suspension Bridges & some are still used. Pennsylvania had the first covered bridge in the country. The State has more covered bridges than any other state, & Washington County has more covered bridges than any other county in the Commonwealth.
Pennsylvania has scenic BYWAYS, and scenic Drives. It also has a variety of trails including Horse Trails and Water Trails. There are also Birding and Wildlife Trails. The Baughman Trail is considered one of the best in the state. Part of the Appalachian Trail goes through Pennsylvania. The state participates in National Trails Day. Pennsylvania was the 25th state to partner on U.S. Bicycle Route 50. Pennsylvania has many Roadside Attractions.
Pennyslvania was one of the 13 original colonies and was the only colony not located on the Atlantic Ocean. The Pennsylvania Colony was founded by William Penn. His goal was to create a colony that allowed for freedom of religion. By 1700 it was the third biggest and richest colony in the New World. It had a representative assembly elected by landowners and freedom of worship and religion was granted to all citizens.
Pennsylvania has all means of COMMUNICATION including newspapers, magazines, radio ,television, telephone, and the internet. Pennsylvania has 12 Area Codes. There are many Internet Service Providers and webcams are located throughout the state.
There are 67 COUNTIES in Pennsylvania. Lycoming is the largest county and Montour is the smallest. Philadelphia County has the largest population and Forest County has the smallest. Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the country. The term county is used in 48 of the 50 states for the level of government below the state government.
The remains of DINOSAURS have been found in Pennsylvania. Hadrosaurus foulkii, the first nearly complete dinosaur skelton ever found, was discovered in Pennsylvania and is on display at the Academey of Natural Science in Philadelphia. Many fossils have been found in the state and the state fossil is the is the trilobite . During the Paleozoic Era coal forests developed. When the forests died, they were buried, fossilized, and became coal. Pennsylvania is known as Coal Country.
Several important DOCUMENTS were written in Pennsylvania including The Constitution of the United States and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. The Liberty Bell is in Philadelphia and rang out to summon people to hear the first reading of the Declaration of the Declaration of Independence.
Pennsylvania provides free public EDUCATION for children from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The state also has private schools. The Philadelphia Museum of Art has educational resources including art classes for children, summer camp workshops, and family programs. The Pennsylvania Bureau of State Park has a Watershed Education Program. The Jennings Environmental Education Center has educational programs. Information about schools in Pennsylvania is provided by SchoolBug and Great Schools.
Pennsylvania has many EVENTS during the year. There are several State and County Fairs. The City of Pittsburgh and Adams County each have an Irish Festival. The Pennsylvania Folklife Society founded the Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Festival at Kutztown, the first of its kind in the nation and a model for many others. The state observes Fixed Public Holidays and celebrates many other holidays.
The State FLAG of Pennsylvania is more square than rectangle. It is blue with the State Coat of Arms in the center. The Governor has a flag, & some cities, boroughs, & counties have a flag. Pennsylvania is represented on the original 13 star United States flag by a star and a stripe. The Thunder Mountain Lanape Tribe have their own flag. While settlers from England, Ireland, and Germany made up the majority of early immigrants, the Italians had a strong influence on the FOOD in Pennsylvania. The state has food Festivals, Shows, and Events. The Chocolate Chip Cookie originated in Pennsylvania and is the official cookie of the Commonwealth. The state has an interesting variety of food including Sticky Buns - City Chicken - Shoofly pie - Italian wedding soup and Lebanon bologna. Lebanon has an annual winter Bologna Festt. The first Banana Split was made in Latrobe in 1904. Well known companies include Hershey's Chocolate and Heinz 57 products. King George II Inn in Boston is known to be the oldest continuously operated Inn in the country – circa 1681. Food Pantries are located throughout the state.
Pennsylvania has had many forts. At the present time, some forts are historic sites, have a monument museum, and/or some reconstruction. Fort Indiantown Gap is a training site. Reconstruction of the log blockhouse at Fort Bedford was built on the site in 1958 in honor of the fort's 200th anniversary and is currently a museum. A replica of Fort Loudoun was built on the original site in 1993. Fort Mifflin has several standing buildings.
The GLOBAL POSITION of Pennsylvania is approximately longitude 76 degrees West and latitude 40 degrees north. The state is bordered by New York, West Virginia, Maryland, Ohio, Delaware, and New Jersey. The highest point is Mt. Davis and the lowest point is the Delaware River at sea level. The topography of Pennsylvania ranges from sea level to 4500 ft. Geocaching is a high tech adventure game, and Pennsylvania has several geocache sites.
GROUND HOG DAY is based on an old Scottish saying: "If Candlemas Day is bright and clear, there'll be two winters in the year". A ceremony is held every year on February 2 in Punxsutawny to see if the groundhog sees his shadow. He is named Punxutawny Phil. If he sees his shadow, it means there will be six more weeks of winter. If he does not see his shadow, it means spring will soon arrive. The groundhog is also known as a woodchuck. (This day gets special mention because it is the birthday of the creator of this webpag!)
The HISTORY of Pennsylvania dates back to prehistoric times and. Recorded History began in 1492. The state was involved in the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. The National Civil War Museum is in Harrisburg. Pennsylvania participates in National History Day.
The Pennsylvania State HORSE and State Harness Racing Commissions represent racing industry in the state, and horse and harness racing are a valuable industry. The commonwealth has Horse Racing and Harness Racing Tracks. Cowboys and Cowgirls compete in Rodeos in the commonwealth. The Pennsylvania National Horse Show is held in Comberland. The PA Horse World Expo is held in Harrisburg.
Pennsylvania has a variety of INDUSTRIES. Agriculture is the number one industry in the commonwealth. Other industries include retail trade, manufacturing, food products, tourism, and electronic equipment. It leads the nation in financial and insurance companies. Merk is the largest manufacturing employer. The state leads the country in the production of specialty steel. Pennsylvania Hospital was the first hospital in the country. Hershey Corporation has several candy factories in the commonwealth. The Crayola Hall of Fame was established to commemorate the retired 8 crayons and offers informational exhibits on each color. The manufacturer of Crayola Crayons offers a unique experience featuring attractions that allow kids to explore art & technology, express their creativity, and experience color in a whole new way. Nearly 100 Trade Shows are held throughout the year.
Pennsyvania has a wide variety of INSECTS including over 100 species of Butterflies. The Phipps Conservatory has a Butterfly Forest and a Butterfly Day camp for children. The Integrated Pest Management program promotes pest management. Some insects cause damage to trees. Penn State University sponsors a Great Insects Fair. The Frost Entomological Museum at PSU has educational programs and over 700,000 specimens of insects. The state has several species of spiders. The State Insect is the firefly.
The JUDICIAL System is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state. The Judicial System in Pennsylvania is structured like a pyramid. In 2011, for the first time, a session of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was televised. Adding to the historical significance of the first televised session is the fact that the proceeding was held in historic Old City Hall in Philadelphia – the first time the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has sat in that room in more than two centuries The historic setting was chosen in commemoration of Constitution Day, which is officially Sept.17, but is celebrated with activities throughout the week.
A variety of MINERALS, metals, & gemstones have been found in Pennsylvania. Hillman Hall of Minerals & Gems is located in the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh. At Bushkill Falls you can be a "goldminer for a day". The Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources provides a Geologic Map of the state. The Geological Survey provides information about Pennsylvania and has been mapping and studying resources in the state.
Pennsylvania has a variety of MUSEUMS. The Pennsylvania Trolley Museum is dedicated to trolleys and has several restored examples. The Museum of the American Revolution is being built in Philadelphia. It will feature the tent used by Gen. George Washington during the war. The Endless Mountains War Memorial Museum has one of the largest collections of personal artifacts from 5 separate conflicts in the history of the country.
The first inhabitants of what was to become the state of Pennsylvania were NATIVE AMERICANS - Paleo-Indians. When first discovered by Europeans, Pennsylvania was inhabited by groups of American Indians that reflected Stone Age backgrounds, especially in material arts and crafts. When the Europeans arrived, the area was home to the Delaware, Susquehannock, Iroquois, Eriez, Shawnee, and other American Indian Nations. Powwows and Gatherings are held during the year throughout the state. Pennsylvania does not have any reservations or federally or state recognized tribes.
Technically, Pennsylvania does not border the Atlantic Ocean. However, the South Eastern part of the state borders the Delaware River, which empties into the Delaware Bay which ultimately empties into the Atlantic Ocean and the state celebrates World Oceans Day. The Port of Marcus Hook has extensive oil refineries and is referred to as “The Cornerstone of Pennsylvania”.
The OIL industry traces its roots to Titusville where the first oil well was drilled in 1859. An Oil Festival is held there in August. Pittsburgh became the earliest refining center because of its location on the Allegheny River. The original oil boom took place in and around what is now Oil Creek State Park. Drake Well Museum at the north end of the park has a collection of oil field equipment, photographs and other displays of the oil days.
Nearly 13 million PEOPLE live in Pennsylvania, and people there are called Pennsylvanians. Many famous people have called Pennslyvania their home including James Buchanan, 15th President of the United States; Grace Kelly, Actress/Princess; Pearl S. Buck, Author; Richard Gere, Actor; and Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of the United. States. The Jimmy Stewart Museum is in the city of Indiana. Residents are called Pennsyvanians. The Pennsylvania Folklife Society has a special collection featuring unique and rare materials related to the folklife and folk culture of the Pennsylvania Germans.
QUILTING is popular in Pennsylvania and there are Quilt Guilds throughout the state. The State Museum has a display of quilts. Lancaster has a Quilt Museum and a Quilt Show. There are also Weaving, spinning, knitting and other fiber groups .
Pennsylvania has a variety of REPTILES and amphibians. There are 14 species of frogs and 3 toads. There are over a dozen species of turtles. There are nearly 2 dozen species of snakes and 3 of them are venomous. Timber rattlesnakes live in the state forests. There are several species of salamanders. Several of the reptiles are endangered.There is a Reptile Show in Hamburg. The commonwealth is part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program.
Pennsylvania has several major RIVERS and many Creeks. It also has scenic rivers. The Monogahala River joins the Allegheny River at Point State Park to become the Ohio River. The Allegheny and Clarion are designated Wild & Scenic Rivers. The Susquehanna and Lackawanna Rivers are designated American Heritage Rivers. Nearly 50 island are located on rivers and most of them are on the Susquehanna River
Unlike most states the STATE SEAL of Pennsylvania has both a reverse and obverse side. It is a Commonwealth State and does not use the term but legal processes are in the name of the Commonwealth and it is a traditional official designation used in referring to the state. In 1776, Pennsylvania's first state constitution referred to it as both "Commonwealth" and "State", a pattern of usage that was perpetuated in the constitutions of 1790, 1838, 1874 and 1968.
Pennsylvania has all forms of TRANSPORTATION. The Pennslyvania Department of Transportation oversees highways, promotes , and has an Adopt-a-Highway Program. It also promotes, preserves, and develops the many airports in the state and has a public transportation system. Specialized License Plates are available. Pennsylvania has many turnpikes and tunnels, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike is the grandfather of the Interstate Highway System. The Federal Highway Administration provides traffic and road closure informaton in the state. Pennsylvania was the first state to put its webpage address on its license plates . To celebrate its 50th bithday in 2002, Matchbox cars issued a vehicle for each state in the order in which it was admitted to the Union. For Pennsylvania it was the Chevy Tahoe Police car.
Pennsyvania has 108 native
TREES. The state tree of Pennsylvania is the
Eastern Hemlock. Nearly 60% of the state is covered in forest. The
Allegheny National Forest is located in the northwest part of Pennsylvania and is the only national forest in the state. The
School of Forest Resource at Penn State has several Educational Centers and Programs. The
Public UNIVERSITIES and
Law Schools and
Medical Schools. There are also many
Independent Universities and Colleges and
Nature Centers and Environmental Education Centers.
Four ships have been named USS Pennsylvania. The 1st ship the USS Pennsylvania (1837) was commissioned in 1836. The 2nd ship, the USS Pensylvania (ACR-4) was commissioned in 1905 and was the lead ship of her class of armored cruiser and was renamed Pittsburgh before serving in World War I. The 3rd ship, the USS Pennsylvania (BB-38), was commissioned in 1916 and was lead ship for her class of Battleships and saw action in WW II. The 4th USS Pennsylvania (SSBN-735) was commissioned in 1989 and is an Ohio-class submarine and the 1st submarine to bear the name of the state. The restored USS BRIG NIAGRA is the Flagship of Pennsylvania and was the flagship of Commodore Olive Perry and decisive in defeating the British at the Battle of Lake Erie.
Pennsyvania does not have any volcanoes volcanoes it does have volcanic past dating back a billion years ago.
The WEATHER in Pennsylvania is typical of a temperate zone and has 4 distinct seasons. Summers are warm, and winters can be cool with periods of snowfall. The state has several tornadoes every year. The State Climatologist provides current information about the weather. The Environmental Protection Agency provides information about climate change. NOAA has activities for kids about the weather.
Pennsylvania has a variety of WILDLIFE and 2 National Wildlife Refuges including John Heinz At Tinicum and Erie which is the only refuge in the country protecting endangered Northern riffleshell and clubshell mussels. Pennsylvania participates in the Wildlife Action Plan. The White-tailed Deer is the state mammal. The state has many endangered species including the Indiana bat and the bog turtle.
The Philadelphia Zoo was the first zoo established in the country. Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium is one of only 6 zoos in the country to have a major aquarium. Reptileland is located between Williamsport and Lewisburg and has more than 40 species of reptiles.