Fun Facts about Pennsylvania - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Campus Life
October 21, 2015

Fun Facts about Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania, the nation’s birthplace, was settled in 1643. Given its historical importance, most people immediately associate it with many of the country's important documents—the Constitution, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, or the American Declaration of Independence. But the state has so many more interesting qualities that make it enticing and unique, such as:

  • Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has been rated two times as the “Most Livable City” by Places Rated Almanac. The city was honored with the title first in 1985 and most recently in 2007.
  • After Ohio, Pennsylvania has the highest Amish population in the world. These communities live, work, and worship much the same way they did a few hundred years ago.
  • Kennett Square, PA is considered the mushroom capital of the world and harvests one million pounds of mushrooms each year. Mushrooms have become one of the most important crops for the state; ranking second in economic importance after greenhouse and nursery products.
  • Benjamin Franklin inaugurated the country’s first public zoo in Philadelphia. The zoo was commissioned in 1859, though the opening was delayed until 1874 due to the American Civil War.

Lions at the PA zoo

  • The nation’s first hospital was the Philadelphia Hospital. Founded in 1751, the facility also includes the nation’s first medical amphitheater and the first medical library.
  • Hershey, PA is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the state. Chocolate Avenue in downtown Hershey is filled with street lamps (Kiss Lamps) in the shapes of the renowned treats. They were first installed in 1963.
  • Pennsylvania's state parks all have free admission, which means you can go out and enjoy the outdoors without spending a penny. For instance, right on Lake Erie, Presque Isle State Park offers great access to water activities like fishing and boating. French Creek State Park on the other hand, has a wide selection of activities for those who want to stay on dry land. The park offers horse trails and hiking paths as well as small lakes and campgrounds.
  • Built in 1902 by the old Pennsylvania Railroad, the Rockville Bridge in Harrisburg is the longest stone arch bridge in the world even to this day. The bridge is considered an icon of railroad engineering—it is 3,820 feet long, composed of 220,000 tons of stone, and took 800 laborers two years to build.
  • Pat Olivieri invented the famous Philly Cheesesteak sandwich in the 1930s. Olivieri was a hot dog seller in south Philadelphia who one day decided to put grilled beef on an Italian rolls. A cab driver thought it smelled delicious and asked for one steak sandwich. Word spread rapidly through the cabbie circles, and soon enough drivers from all over Philadelphia were visiting Olivieri for steak sandwiches. Cheese was added to the recipe by Olivieri’s restaurant manager Joe Lorenza in the 1940s.
  • Ian Naismith, grandson of the inventor of basketball Dr. James Naismith, names Geneva College as the “Birthplace of College Basketball” based on his grandfather’s writings.
  • Pennsylvania has some of the most vibrant college towns in the nation, with over 120,000 college students enrolled within Philadelphia alone. The state is home to institutions such as Geneva College, a well-established undergraduate and graduate-level university with a strong Christ-centered approach to education. Geneva is unique as it acknowledges the inerrancy of Scripture and God's sovereignty over every field of study, athletic program, and extracurricular pursuit.