Pennsylvania State Facts: 24 Facts About Pennsylvania

Last updated on July 5th, 2018

Pennsylvania is the 5th most populous, the 33rd most extensive, and the 9th most populated of the United States. It is located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. Pennsylvania attained statehood on December 12, 1787, becoming the 2nd state to join the union. It has six (6) bordering states that include New York, Ohio, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey. See the complete list of the states and their borders here. Pennsylvania (nicknamed: the Keystone State) has 67 counties. The state’s capital is Harrisburg. With these facts about Pennsylvania, let us learn more about its history, economy, geography, people and more.

1. Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn. The name of the state comes from the name of the founder’s father and not his own. The founder William Penn wanted the state to be named “Sylvania”.[2]

2. It is one of the thirteen original (Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Georgia, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, South Carolina, New Hampshire, Virginia, New York, North Carolina, and Rhode Island) founding states of the United States.[1,14]

3. Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, is home to Independence Hall where the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States’ Constitution were drafted. Philadelphia is also the first planned city in North America.[1,5]

4. Pennsylvania is the second state after Delaware to ratify the Constitution of the United States of America.[2]

5. The Liberty Bell, an iconic symbol of American Independence, is located in Pennsylvania. The bell can be seen in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. The bell was commissioned from London in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly.[5]

6. Benjamin Franklin and Bill Cosby are the famous Pennsylvanians.[2]

7. Pennsylvania is almost rectangular in shape.[3]

Pennsylvania on map

8. Before the establishment of Washington D.C. as the permanent capital of the United States of America; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was the nation’s capital between 1790 and 1800s.[2]

9. The first computer in the world–The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer–was invented at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946.[4]

10. The first Zoo in the United States of America was opened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1874.[4]

11. And the first public library was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 in Philadelphia.[4]

12. Philadelphia is also the place where the first American Flag was sewn in 1777 by Betsy Ross.[4]

13. In 1883, the City Hotel in Pennsylvania was the first building to be lit with Thomas Edison’s three-wire system.[6]

14. Pennsylvania is also home to one of the largest manufacturer of chocolates in the world – “Hershey”. The company is headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The company’s products are sold in over 60 countries.[7]

15. The license plates on automobiles registered in Pennsylvania also have the state’s official website’s URL ( on it. It is the first state of the 50 states to do so.[16]

License plate from Pennsylvania
Vehicle license plate from Pennsylvania. Image via – Flickr

16. The state also has the oldest gas station in America. It is situated in Altoona and is operational since 1909.[8]

17. Mount Davis (3,213 ft or 979 m) is the highest point in Pennsylvania.[15]

18. In Pennsylvania, Beef is the third most produced food by value.[10]

19. According to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service, PA Office, between 2011 and 2012, there were 63,200 farms in Pennsylvania covering an area of 7,750,000 acres.[9]

20. Developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, on February 1954, children of Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received the first injections of the new polio vaccine. [11]

21. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, PA, is home to the first complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever found.[12]

22. Philadelphia, the state’s largest city is known as “the city of Brotherly Love” because of the religious tolerance of William Penn, the state’s founder.[13]

23. Pennsylvania was nicknamed “The Keystone State” because of its geographical location among the thirteen original colonies.[13]

24. President Lincoln delivered his famous speech, the Gettysburg Address, in Gettysburg, PA.[13]

Pennsylvania State – Quick facts, State symbols

State AbbreviationPA
State CapitalHarrisburg
State SizeTotal (Land + Water): 46,055 sq miles; Land Only: 44,817 sq miles
(Estimate July 1, 2017 from United States Census Bureau)
StatehoodDecember 12, 1787
State rank by population5th
State rank by date of formation2nd
State rank by area33rd
Number of Counties67
Bordering StatesDelaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, West Virginia
Official LanguageNone
ReligionProtestant - 47%
Catholic - 24%
None - 21%
Highest PointMount Davis
3,213 ft (979 m)
Lowest pointDelaware River at Delaware border
Sea level
Length280 miles (455 km)
Width160 miles (255 km)
GovernorTom Wolf
Electoral Votes20
State MottoVirtue, Liberty, and Independence
State NicknameKeystone State
% Water2.7
Nobel Prize WinnersBarry Sharpless (Chemistry, 2001)
Gary Becker (Economic Sciences, 1992)
Joseph H. Taylor Jr. (Physics, 1993)
Clifford G. Shull (Physics, 1994)
Edward B. Lewis (Physiology or Medicine, 1995)
William D. Phillips (Physics, 1997)
Keffer Hartline (Physiology or Medicine, 1967)
Christian Anfinsen (Chemistry, 1972)
Howard M. Temin (Physiology or Medicine, 1975)
William A. Fowler (Physics, 1983)
Famous PeopleJason Taylor (Pro Football Player)
Ken Griffey Jr. (Baseball Player)
Zack Clayton (Basketball Player)
Hobey Baker (Hockey Player)
Will Smith (Actor)
Taylor Swift (Singer)
U.S. President Born in Pennsylvania1. James Buchanan.
State FlagFlag of Pennsylvania

Flag of Pennsylvania.svg

State sealSeal of Pennsylvania

Seal of Pennsylvania.svg

State Coat of armsCoat of Arms of Pennsylvania

Coat of arms of Pennsylvania.svg

State quarter

1999 PA Proof.png

State AnimalWhite-tailed deer

White-tailed deer.jpg

PlantPenngift Crownvetch

Crown Vetch
FossilPhacops rana

Field Museum - trilobite - Phacops rana milleri - Sylvania, Ohio.jpg
DogGreat Dane

Dogge Odin.jpg

State InsectPennsylvania firefly

Photuris pennsylvanicus 1665.jpg

State FishBrook trout

Salvelinus fontinalis GLERL.jpg

State FlowerMountain laurel

Kalmia Latifolia.jpg

State Game BirdRuffed grouse

Bonasa umbellus 1905.jpg

State AircraftPiper J-3 Cub

Piper J-3 Cub

Electric locomotiveGG1 4859

PRR 4859 in Harrisburg.jpg

State TreeHemlock

Tsuga canadensis morton.jpg

ShipUS Brig Niagara

Brig Niagara full sail.jpg

Longitude74° 41′ to 80° 31′ W
Latitude39° 43′ to 42° 16′ N
Time ZoneEastern Time Zone
Area Codes215, 267, 272, 412, 445, 484, 570, 582, 610, 717, 724, 814, 835, 878
Data SourceWikipedia, 1Keydata, State Symbol USA
Table Last UpateMarch 30, 2018