As the city nicknamed “The City of Brotherly Love,” Philadelphia is one of America’s more historical cities and is home to some of the most welcoming people on the East Coast. With the city being roughly 300 years old (it was originally founded in 1682!), Philadelphia has a rich and colorful history worth learning about. And what makes it so interesting? Read on to find out!
- The Declaration of Independence and both versions of the Constitution (the Articles of Confederation and our modern Constitution) were both written and signed in Philly
- The country’s first zoo, hospital, medical school, and daily newspaper all started in the City of Brotherly Love
- Benjamin Franklin also founded the nation’s first library in Philly in 1731
- The nation’s first Thanksgiving Day Parade also took place in Philly
- Philly’s Naval Yard is America’s first naval ship yard
- The city was also America’s first city to guarantee religious freedom to immigrants in the 1680s
- The first piano to be built in America was built in Philly in 1775
- America’s first-ever stock exchange began in 1790 in Philadelphia
- The Walnut Street Theater is the world’s oldest continually run theater in an English-speaking country (sorry, England)
- Philly’s own football team, the Eagles, helped make the world’s longest cheesesteak in 1988, with the sandwich measuring 120 yards (AKA, the length of a football field)
- The city is home to 2,000 outdoor murals, earning Philly the title of Mural Capital of the U.S.
- Outside of Paris, Philly is home to more Impressionist paintings than any other city in the world
- The University of Pennsylvania was built in 1784 – making it America’s first university
- The world’s first electronic computer was built in the City of Brotherly Love and weighed 27 tons
- Cheesesteaks were first invented in Philly in 1930 by a restaurant owner named Pat Olivieri (the restaurant is now known as Pat’s King of Steaks and is in South Philly)
- Surprisingly, cheese wasn’t originally part of the recipe for cheesesteaks – it was added in a decade later by a (drunk) manager of Pat’s restaurant
- Although there is little evidence that Betsy Ross was responsible for creating and sewing America’s first flag, her house is in Philly’s Old City
- Behind New York City, Philly is home to America’s largest population of Irish and Italian immigrants & their descendants
- The city was also home to the country’s first organized protest against slavery in 1688
- Surprisingly, roughly 25% of the U.S. population currently lives within 5-6 hours of Philly (with those residents having a very likely chance of hearing someone say that they live “near Philly”)
- The Philadelphia Phillies were first created in 1883 and are the nation’s oldest, continuous team with one name and a one city association (AKA, they haven’t changed cities, and, even with a failed attempt at changing the team’s name to the Blue Jays in the 1940s, they’ve never had a name change since their beginning)
- Philly’s Mutter museum is home to some unique pieces of medical history – it’s home to several slices of Einstein’s brain, a tumor from the jaw of President Cleveland, some tissue from John Wilkes Booth’s brain, and several other interesting artifacts
- The spelling of “Pensylvania” on the Liberty Bell is intentional – at the time the bell was created, that was the accepted and correct spelling of the state’s name
- The Reading Terminal Market in Philly is America’s longest running farmer’s market
- Dutch settlers in the 1700s first introduced the soft pretzel to America in the city known for being the Birthplace of America – Philly, of course!
- Fairmount Park is the largest urban park in both America and the rest of the world, comprising of 9,200 acres, millions of trees, and 63 smaller parks
- Elfreth’s Alley in Philly’s Old City is the oldest, continually-inhabited residential street in America with homes dating back to 1702
- Due to its high density of haunted houses, the City of Brotherly Love is known to be one of America’s most haunted cities
- Half of the answers on the 100 question U.S. citizenship test come from Philly
- Known for doing things like throwing snowballs at Santa Claus during a football game, Philly sports fans were named the most intimidating in the NFL by a Sports Illustrated poll of NFL players
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As an recent college graduate who studied media studies and anthropology in college, Briana Maddox enjoys learning about different cultures, traditions, holidays, historical figures, experiences, and opinions. With a vested interest in sharing such learning experiences, Briana created Life & Anthropology in the hopes of helping other people gain a better understanding and working knowledge of such topics.