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Pennsylvania Facts & Firsts

Fun Facts About the Keystone State


Pennsylvania, the birthplace of our nation, was settled in 1643. It is a state full of rolling hills, lush forests and millions of acres of farmland. Home to the major metropolitan cities of Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as well as the state capital of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania still has many counties which are decidedly rural and pristine, including two counties with NO traffic lights ( Forest County and Perry County).

Several of our country's most important documents were written in Pennsylvania including the Constitution of the United States, the American Declaration of Independence and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Pennsylvania leads the nation in rural population, number of licensed hunters, State Game Lands, covered bridges, meat packing plants, mushroom production, potato chip production, pretzel bakeries and sausage/scrapple production.


Nickname: Keystone State
During colonial times Pennsylvania was the middle colony of the original 13 colonies (there are six states above it and six states below it). It held the colonies together like the "keystone" in a window or door arch.

Meaning of Pennsylvania: Penn’s Woods
Named after the father of Admiral William Penn.

Motto: Virtue, Liberty and Independence

Entered the Union: December 12, 1787

State Animal: Whitetail Deer
Enacted by the General Assembly on October 2, 1959

State Beverage: Milk
Enacted by the General Assembly on April 29, 1982

State Bird: Ruffed Grouse
The Pennsylvania ruffled grouse, sometimes called the partridge, was declared the state bird by the PA General Assembly on June 22, 1931.

State Dog: Great Dane
Enacted by the General Assembly on August 15, 1965

State Fish: Brook Trout

State Flower: Mountain Laurel

State Fossil: Phacops Rana
A small water animal - enacted by the PA General Assembly on December 5, 1988

State Insect: Firefly

State Ship: United States Brig Niagara
The restored Niagra serves as the Flagship of Pennsylvania, as enacted by the General Assembly on May 26, 1988. It was the flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry and was decisive in defeating a British squadron at the Battle of Lake Erie, on September 10, 1813. Its home port is Erie.

State Song: Pennsylvania

State Tree: Hemlock
Enacted by the General Assembly on June 23, 1931

Christmas Tree Capital of the World: Indiana County


Area: 45,888 square miles

Rank: 32nd in nation

Width: 310 miles (east to west) 180 miles (N to S)

Geographic Center: Centre County, home of Penn State University

Highest Point: Mt. Davis, Somerset County 3,213 feet

Lowest Point: Delaware River

Capital: Harrisburg in Dauphin County

Number of Counties: 67

Largest County: Lycoming County is larger than the State of Rhode Island. Bradford County is second in size.

Population: 12,009,000

Lakes: 50 natural lakes (over 20 acres wide) and 2,500 man-made lakes

Rivers and streams: 45,000 miles

State Parks: 116 Acreage: 282,500

State Forest Districts: 20 Acreage: 2,200,000

State Game Lands: 294 Acreage: 1,379,002

Bordering States: New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio.

Largest Cities: Philadelphia (1,436,287), Pittsburgh (340,520), Erie (102,640), Allentown (100,757), Reading (74,762), Scranton (74,683), Lancaster (52,951), Bethlehem (51,053), Harrisburg (49,502), Altoona (49,226)


State Representatives: 203

State Senators: 50

U.S Representatives: 21

U.S. Senators: 2


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