95 Pennsylvania Facts And Weird Laws

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Pennsylvania is one of the founding states in United States history.  The Keystone State was key in building the United States. 

Many historical events took place here, including drafting the US Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, and even the Gettysburg Address.

Other than that, tourists can visit the various landmarks in the state. The battle sites in Gettysburg and the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia are some of the state’s historic sites. Pennsylvania features free admission into most of its museums.

The simplicity of Amish people and their culture is one of the reasons why this state registers nearly 210 domestic visitors alone.

Here are the interesting Pennsylvania facts you probably should know.

Best Fun Facts About Pennsylvania

  1. Pennsylvania is home to Hershey – the chocolate capital of the world.
  2. Philadelphia Zoo is the first zoo in the United States.
  3. The Great Dane is the official state dog in Pennsylvania.
  4. Pennsylvania’s Rockville Bridge is the world’s longest stone arch railroad bridge.
  5. Kennett Square in Pennsylvania is the mushroom capital of the world.
  6. Indiana county is the Christmas tree capital of the world.
  7. Nazareth is the birthplace of Martin Guitars.
  8. The Moravian Pottery and tiles operate as a working museum.
  9. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the cheesesteak sandwich.

Pennsylvania Facts —Politics And Government

Credits: Unsplash
  1. Pennsylvania is a key battleground state in presidential elections.
  2. Pennsylvania has 20 electoral votes in the electoral college.
  3. Barack Obama’s 2008 victory margin in Pennsylvania is the largest since 1972. Barack carried this state with more than a 10 percent margin.
  4. Donald Trump is the first Republican to win the state (2016) since George H.W. Bush in 1988.
  5. Joe Biden managed a 1.2 percent lead on Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential elections.
  6. Pennsylvania has a Democrat as the governor, while the Republican Party controls both houses. Pennsylvania is one of the states with a split government in the United States.
  7. Pennsylvania has 18 seats in the United States House of Representatives. Nine Republicans and Democrats represent the state in the US House of Representatives.
  8. Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania.
  9. According to a 2020 study, Pennsylvania is the 19th hardest state to vote in.
  10. The governor and lieutenant governor are elected on a joint ticket.
  11. The current Pennsylvania governor is Tom Wolf of the Democratic Party.
  12. The Pennsylvania legislature has 205 Representatives and 50 senators.
  13. Pennsylvania has sixty judicial districts, each with a district judge except Philadelphia. 
  14. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the top court in the state. 
  15. The Pennsylvania Police Department enforces the law in the state.

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Pennsylvania Facts —History

Pennsylvania State Capitol At Sunset Photograph by Mountain Dreams | Fine Art America
  1. Indigenous people lived in Pennsylvania before the European settlement.
  2. The English and the Dutch laid claims to the regions on both sides of the Delaware River.
  3. Sweden founded the New Sweden Colony at Fort Christina (present-day Wilmington, Delaware) in 1638. New Sweden controlled Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey.
  4. The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British in 1664. 
  5. In 1672, the Dutch re-claimed New Amsterdam during the Anglo-Dutch war.
  6. George Washington was 22 years old when he surrendered his army and this marked the start of the French and Indian War.
  7. In 1681, King Charles II awarded William Penn a land charter as debt payment to Penn’s father, Admiral William Penn. This grant is one of the largest in history.
  8. King Charles II named the region “Penn’s Woods” in honor of Admiral William Penn (Sylvania from the Latin word Silva meaning “woods or forest.” This is how Pennsylvania got its name = Penn + Sylvania.
  9. When silver and gold became scarce, Pennsylvania made their own paper money, called the Colonial Scrip.
  10. The first two Continental Congress occurred in Philadelphia in 1774 and 1775.
  11. Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was written and signed at the Independence Hall in Philadelphia?
  12. John Dickinson’s Article of Confederation established the 13 independent states.
  13.  In 1787, Pennsylvania became the second state to approve the US Constitution. Delaware was the first state to ratify it five days earlier.
  14. At the time of statehood, Pennsylvania had the most ethnic groups among the 13 states.
  15. In 1773, Benjamin Rush founded the first college, the Dickinson College of Carlisle.
  16. The Independence Hall of Philadelphia, Lancaster Courthouse, and Harrisburg have all served as the state’s General Assembly meeting locations.
  17. By 1907, Joseph Miller Huston had designed and built the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
  18. Did you know that the US Capitol and St Peter’s Basilica of Rome inspired the dome of the Pennsylvania State Capitol?
  19. Even US President Theodore Roosevelt praised the State Capitol as the most handsome building he ever saw.
  20. Pennsylvania is the only state to have produced a bachelor US President, James Buchanan. He remains the only bachelor US President.
  21. Pennsylvania, Keystone State, is where one of the main battles was fought during the American Civil War.
  22. The state contributed nearly 350,000 people to the Union forces during the American Civil War.
  23. Pennsylvania is home to the first drilled oil well. The well was located at Titusville.
  24. During the September 11 attacks, the United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in a field in Shanksville, killing forty-four people. 
  25. World War II made the Eagles and steelers to form Steagles as they both couldn’t field a team.

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Pennsylvania Facts —Geography

Credits: Unsplash
  1. Also known as the Keystone State, Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest state with 46,055 square miles.
  2. Erie County is the largest in the state, with 4,035 km². Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania (367km²).
  3. The Keystone state shares its borders with Lake Erie, Ohio, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, West Virginia, and Maryland. The twelve-mile circle forms the Pennsylvania-Delaware border. While the lower Delaware River region borders New Jersey.
  4. The state has five geographical locations: the Atlantic Coastal Plain, Allegheny Plateau, Erie Plain, Ridge and Valley, and Piedmont.
  5. The Southeastern portion of the state is flat with narrow valleys. This region is called the Atlantic Coastal Plain Province. It is home to the nation’s first urban wildlife refuge, the Tinicum Marsh.
  6.  The Piedmont province has caves, sinkholes, rocks, ridges, and rolling hills.
  7.  Located in the Northeastern region of Piedmont Province is the New England Province characterized by ridges and steep hills.
  8.  The state’s western portion has the Ridge and Valley Province, consisting of the Appalachian Mountains and dense forests.
  9. A dense forest area extends from the western to the central parts of the state. This region of Appalachian Plateaus Province is home to the Allegheny National Forest.
  10. The Northeast region of Pennsylvania–Central Lowland Province– is dotted by low ridges.
  11. At 3,213 feet above sea level, Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania.
  12. The Delaware River is the state’s lowest point at sea level.
  13. Pennsylvania is home to 250 artificial and natural lakes. Lake Conneaut is the state’s largest natural lake.
  14. The Eastern Continental Divide and St. Lawrence Seaway Divide make up the state’s drainage system.
  15. Allegheny River, Susquehanna River, Delaware River, and Ohio River are some of the major rivers in this state.
  16. Pennsylvania has a humid continental climate –cold winters and hot summers. Summer day temperature ranges from 23.9°C (75°F) to 35°C (95°F) whereas the summer night temperature is in the range of 12.8°C (55°F)  to 21.1°C (70°F). The winter highs are between 33°F to 45°F, whereas winter lows record between  19°F to 30°F. Spring is mostly wet, and autumn is colorful.
  17. Pennsylvania is vulnerable to adverse weather–storms, tornadoes, and tropical cyclones.

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Pennsylvania Facts —Animals And Plants

White-tailed deer. Credits: Unsplash
  1. The state official animal is the white-tailed deer.
  2. The state’s mammals include Elk, black bears, white-tailed deer, and red foxes.
  3. The Keystone State is home to woodpeckers, peregrine falcons, and golden eagles.
  4. Ruffed grouse is the official state bird of Pennsylvania.
  5. The Eastern Massasauga rattlesnakes and northern coal skinks are reptiles that thrive in the Keystone State.
  6. The amphibians in the state include salamander species such as Ridge and Valley salamanders and Allegheny Mountain Dusky salamanders.
  7.  The nation’s largest salamander, the eastern hellbender, is the official Pennsylvania state’s amphibian.
  8. Trout, flathead, crappie, bluegill, walleye, muskellunge, and bass are freshwater and saltwater fish species in Pennsylvania. The official state fish is the brook trout.
  9. Plants native to Pennsylvania include white baneberry, sugar maple, sweet flag, maidenhair fern, and yellow buckeye.
  10. Pennsylvania state symbols for plants include eastern hemlock (state tree) and mountain-laurel (state flower).

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Pennsylvania Facts—Demographics

Pittsburgh. Credits: Unsplash
  1. The Keystone State is the fifth most populous in the country, with over 13,002,700 people.
  2. With a population of over 1,500,000, Philadelphia is the state’s largest city.
  3. Other major cities include Allentown, Lancaster, Pittsburgh, Erie, Reading, Scranton, and Bethlehem. Lancaster City is located in South Central Pennsylvania.
  4. With about 283 people per square mile, Pennsylvania ranks 9th in population density.
  5. The median age of the state’s population is estimated to be 40.6 years.
  6. Seventy-three percent of the state’s population are Christians, 6% associate with non-Christian faiths, while 21% are unaffiliated. 
  7. The whites make up over 80% of the state’s population, followed by African Americans at about 11%.
  8. Over 92% of whites graduate from high school, while it’s the Asians who lead in the number of bachelor’s degrees.
  9. Did you know that the largest non-residents in Pennsylvania are from Asia?
  10. The Keystone State is among the most haunted states in the US.

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Pennsylvania Facts—Economy

Credits: Unaplash
  1. Pennsylvania ranks in the 47th position in terms of long-term fiscal stability, with the state’s best attributes being Opportunity [11], Healthcare [19], and Crime & Corrections [17].
  2. The Keystone state has the nation’s largest number of licensed hunters.
  3. Philadelphia Zoo is the country’s first public zoo. Dr. William Carmac founded it.
  4. Philadelphia hospital is a United States hospital. 
  5. This state is home to the first daily newspaper.
  6. Dr. Scot Fahlman invented the first internet emoticon–the humble smiley–at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.
  7. Johann Behrent built the nation’s first piano.
  8. The University of Pennsylvania is home to the first computer.
  9. Benjamin Franklin built the country’s first public library in Philadelphia.
  10. Philadelphia beef production ranks third by value.
  11. Pennsylvania is home to over 63,200 farms.
  12. Altoona is home to the nation’s oldest gas station.
  13. Pittsburgh leads in steel manufacturing. 
  14. With over 440 bridges, Pittsburgh is the “city of bridges.”
  15. Pennsylvania is the leading producer of mushrooms in the United States.
  16. The first human brain cell transplant took place in this state.
  17. Philadelphia has five fortune 500 companies.
  18. Penn State University is home to the world’s third largest stadium.

Famous Locations in Pennsylvania 

  1. Independence National Park is home to the Liberty Bell. Located in Philadelphia, this park is one of the US national treasures.

Independence Hall Visitors Center. Credits: Unsplash

  1. The HersheyPark in Hershey town is where you should visit with your family. 
  2. Gettysburg National Military Park has the Rosensteel collection of Civil war weapons and uniforms.
  3. Presque Isle State Park is near Lake Erie and has Presque Isle Bay.
  4. The Philadelphia Museum of Art building and the extensive collection of American art inside is the source of attraction.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. Credits: Unsplash
  1. Fallingwater is an iconic building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
  2. Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.
  3. Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh.
  4. Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.
  5. Pennsylvania State capital, Harrisburg.
  6. Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
  7. Strasburg town in Lancaster County is famous for its Amish culture.
  8. Valley Forge and Valley Forge National Historical Park in the King of Prussia is a great historical site you can visit.

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Famous People From Pennsylvania 

  • Kobe Bryant, the basketballer, was born in Philadelphia (dead).
  • Taylor Swift, singer-songwriter, was born in West Reading, Pennsylvania.
  • Kurt Angle, a professional wrestler, was born in Mount Lebanon.
  • Will Smith, the actor, was born in Philadelphia.
  • Kevin Hart, the comedian, was born in Philadelphia.
  • Tina Fey, the actress, was born in Upper Darby.
  • Naom Chomsky, the linguist, was born in Philadelphia.
  • Joan Jett, singer & composer, was born in Philadelphia.

Common Misconceptions About Pennsylvania

Credits: Pinterest

Here are some of the misconceptions non-natives have about Pennsylvania. 

Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are the only cities

While Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia are the major cities in the state, Hershey, Erie, and Scranton are also lovely cities.

Life in Pennsylvania is boring

Yes, it is boring to those who hate museums, music, arts, dinner out, outdoors, nightlife, theater, and sports.

Unbearable weather 

This state experiences all four seasons, sometimes in one day. Just stick around for the weather to change.

Pennsylvania’s roads are full of potholes

Credits: Makeameme

Yes, there are bad roads in the state but most of them are in perfect condition.

Weird Laws in Pennsylvania 

Here are our top 10  weird Pennsylvania laws. Read the Craziest Laws in the United States, if you want more.

  1. It’s illegal to catch fish by any body part other than the mouth.
  2. Wearing makeup without a permit in Morrisville is illegal for women.
  3. Hiding dirt in your dwelling is illegal.
  4. You should pull off the road when you see a horse coming. After pulling off, you must ensure the horse is not scared of your vehicle.
  5. Sleeping outside on top of a refrigerator may land you in trouble.
  6. Putting pretzels in bags is illegal in Philadelphia.
  7. Walking backward while eating peanuts in front of the barnstormer’s auditorium during a performance is illegal in Ridley Park.
  8. It is illegal not to check all fire hydrants before fires.
  9. Singing in the bathtub is illegal in Pennsylvania.
  10. More than 16 women shouldn’t live under one roof.

Final Thoughts

Pennsylvania is indeed the state of Independence. The state song precisely described Pennsylvania as the birthplace of a mighty nation and the keystone of the land.

Great people, beautiful landmarks, and diverse wildlife characterized this state. If you are thinking of visiting one of the states which formed the United States, Pennsylvania, it is.

Pennsylvania Facts And Stats

Population2020 (13,002,700)
GovernorTom Wolf ( Democratic Party)
Date Of AdmissionDecember 17, 1787
U.S. SenatorsBob Casey (D)
Patrick J. Toomey(R)
US House of Representatives18 (of 435 Seats) 
State NicknameCoal StateKeystone StateQuaker StateOil State
State MottoVirtue, Liberty, and Independence 
State Song“Pennsylvania” by Eddie Khoury and Ronnie Bonner
State FlowerMountain laurel
State FishBrook trout
State BirdRuffed Grouse
State TreeEastern Hemlock
State AnimalWhite-tailed deer
State AmphibianEastern Hellbender
State MineralCelestine
State GemAmethyst
State FossilPhacRanarana
Neighbor StatesDelaware New York Maryland New Jersey Ohio West Virginia 

Frequently Asked Questions

Was Benjamin Franklin from Pennsylvania?

That’s the question I had. Didn’t Uncle Ben create the University of Pennsylvania? Yes. He did. But Benjamin Franklin, aka Ben Franklin, pseudonym Richard Saunders was born in January 17, 1706, in Boston. But, he died April 17, 1790 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.).

What is Pennsylvania mainly known for?

  • Schools and education. UPenn has world-renowned institutions such as the Wharton School.  
  • Mushroom production.
  • Canned fruits.
  • Chocolate.
  • Lake Erie
  • First United States Capitol, Philadelphia.
  • Delaware river
  • Potato chips.

What are the 10 interesting Pennsylvania facts?

  1. Philadelphia is home to the first piano.
  2. Pennsylvania produces the largest quantity of mushrooms of any state.
  3. Pittsburgh is home to the first baseball stadium.
  4. Hershey is the US chocolate capital.
  5. George Washington delivered a message to the French during his first military mission.
  6. William Penn is the founding father of Pennsylvania. The state was named after his father, Admiral William Penn.
  7. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the first computer.
  8. The first zoo in the country was established in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Zoo.
  9. Province National Corporation was not a banking institution–it was an insurance company. 
  10. Philadelphia is home to the first nationally chartered bank, the first bank of the United States.

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[2] https://www.populationu.com/us/pennsylvania-population

[3] https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings

[4] https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Pennsylvania

[5] https://www.attractionsofamerica.com/attractions/pennsylvania.php

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Sabrina is a former campaign manager who has decided to focus her effort to help people contact senators and get help. She leads our Editorial Team with Ronald and Lawrence to curate content and resources that help us navigate the system.

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