Philadelphia is one of the most historically rich cities to visit in the US. That’s what truly makes this place a worthy stopover or a full-on destination. It’s packed with interesting facts and I’m going to list the best ones.
Where else can you walk the streets, that are perfectly preserved, as they were when Ben Franklin, John Adams, George Washington and many more once walked along, rode horse buggies and made the United States what it is today.
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Historic Philadelphia Facts
- William Penn, an English colonist and Quaker, founded Philadelphia in 1682.
- It is the site of the first organized protest against slavery – 1688.
- Benjamin Franklin founded the nation’s first library, The Library Company of Philadelphia, in 1731.
- Pennsylvania Hospital was founded by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond in 1751. It is America’s first hospital.
- The Philadelphia Naval Yard was the first naval shipyard in the U.S. It started somewhat unofficially in 1776 and became an official U.S. Navy shipyard in 1801.
- During the American War of Independence (1775 – 1783), Philadelphia became a meeting place for the nation’s founding fathers.
- Philadelphia hosted the Continental Congress, a meeting where representatives of the original thirteen colonies debated how to win independence from England.
- The second meeting of the continental congress passed Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
- The nation’s first daily newspaper, “The Philadelphia Packet and Daily Advertiser”, was founded in Philadelphia in 1784.
- NASDAQ OMX PHLX was the first stock exchange in America, founded in 1790.
- It served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War until 1800.
- The Academy of Music, built in 1857, is the country’s first musical auditorium still in use for its original purpose.
- The Philadelphia Zoo, which opened on July 1, 1874, is the nation’s first zoo.
- U. Penn’s Houston Hall became the first student union in the U.S. in 1896.
- The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts opened in 1805, making it the country’s first art school.
- From its completion in 1901, Philly’s City Hall was the world’s tallest habitable building until 1908.
- In 1943, new owner Bob Carpenter, Jr. rebranded the Philadelphia Phillies the Philadelphia Blue Jays.
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More Facts about Philadelphia
- It is written “Pensylvania” on the Liberty Bell. It’s not a mistake. At the time, this was an accepted spelling. The same spelling was used in the Constitution and appears on maps in Independence Hall.
- The city has the second-largest Irish and Italian populations in the U.S.
- The municipality’s park system is one of the oldest and biggest in the nation. It consists of 63 parks covering 9,200 acres.
- More than 2,000 outdoor murals in the city have earned it the reputation of Mural Capital of the U.S.
- Elfreth’s Alleyis America’s oldest continually inhabited street.
- 1 out of every 6 doctors in the U.S. receives medical training in Philadelphia.
- The 27-ton Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) was the world’s first electronic computer and was developed in secret at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Bartram’s Garden is the oldest still-living botanical garden in all of North America.
- Philly’s Mütter Museum has a great collection of medical oddities, including slides of Einstein’s brain, slices of a human face, and a book bound by human skin.