Something you don't know about Pennsylvania

Judging from the CentralPA Dopefest thread, there are quite a few Pennsylvania Dopers on this board. I thought y’all might be able to assist me with an article I am writing called “Six Things You Don’t Know About Pennsylvania.” I’m hoping to submit it to the Black Table for their irreverent series about the states.

Do you have any suggestions for unique, not-well-known facts (or even misconceptions) about the state of Pennsylvania and her folk? Some things I’m considering:

PA is a junk food mecca (Hershey’s, potato chips, pretzels, cheese steaks)
Something about our coal miner heritage
Our roads suck
Three of our cities have served as U.S. capitols
We use our postal abbreviation (P-A) in casual conversation

All the steel for the Golden Gate Bridge came from Pennsylvania.

Countries largest grower of…mushrooms.

Clay used to treat major league baseballs all comes from Pennsylvania.

First oil rig/discovery.

The Pennsylvania State Beverage is: Milk
The Pennsylvania State Dog is: the Great Dane

Punxsutawney, home of the world famous groundhog, was named after the Indian name for the area, which loosely translates as “marsh of the biting flies.”

In the Battle of the Bulge, in World War Two, the American units in the direct path of the German breakout included the Pennsylvania National Guard- the 28th division. The casualties were so high, some say 90%, that the unit crest was changed from a keystone with the state seal inside to a solid red keystone. This came to be known as the “bucket of blood.”

There have actually been three Johnstown Floods that resulted in deaths. The third one was in 1977, when as much as 11" of rain fell in a small area, and several dams broke. Not as many people were killed but the destruction was more widespread.

Other subjects:

The Kecksburg UFO
The day the Susquehanna River disappeared
The Homestead strike
Fort Duquesne and Fort Pitt

I can add more as I think of them later.

What’s the name of that town that’s been on fire for about a hundred years? (Due to uncontrollable fires in abandoned coal mines.)

hm, it fields a medieval war every summer with one of the largest private armies around?

Centralia. Population: 6 (or thereabouts)

Wouldn’t exactly call that “little known”. Truckers have consistently rated PA roads in the bottom 3 for years.

Pennsylvania is a Commonwealth.

Hollywood producer Donald Bellisario was born and raised in the little (under 700 population) town of Cokeburg, characters in his Quantum Leap series were named after those he knew growing up (Al, Sam, Ziggy), and the series finale was set in what was once a real bar during the town’s coal mining time.

IMDB’s listing of ‘North Charleroi’ is wrong, actually. North Charleroi is about a 10 to 15 minute drive from Bellisario’s true home. His father’s bar (Al’s Bar) was located on what is now Grant Street, and in those days all the streets in the town were lettered.

Ziggy, oddly enough, was named after my uncle Zigmund.


Every August, over 20,000 amateur medievalists gather in Slippery Rock to recreate medieval life, including shopping, food, period encampments, and enormous battles with armor and swords and catapults and so forth.

Wanna do a doper get together there war week? I know the known worlds cooks potluck is probably tuesday evening, but our camp is right on the lake in W-10 and we have a full kitchen and are set up for entertaining=)

What’s the story here?

Famous Pennsylvanians include Grace Kelly, Gene Kelly (No relation as far as I’m aware), Perry Como, Shirley Jones and Jimmy Stewart.

In Indiana, PA, Jimmy Stewart’s home town, his father used to display one of the actor’s Oscar statuettes in the window of his hardware store.

The banana split was invented in Latrobe.

Reading has a pagoda, one of two in the U.S.

PA also has its own Official State Soil. It’s called Hazleton Soil Series, and it can be found in the majority of counties.


Of the eight original states named after people, Pennsylvania was the only one named after an American.

There is a Perry Como memorial in Canonsburg, PA, where Como was from.

Not a fact, but rather a question.

Is it true that a lot of the waste chocolate from the Hershey plant winds up being fed to cows? I remember reading that a LONG time ago.

NO relation? Are you kidding? Brother and sister! :eek:

Other famous Pennsylvanians worth a mention: Andy Warhol, Martha Graham, August Wilson, Henry Mancini, Sharon Stone, Jeff Goldblum, Dennis Miller, Michael Keaton, Dick Clark, Charles Bronson, Will Smith, Dan Marino, Arnold Palmer, Stan Musial, Ken Griffey, Jr., Jim Thorpe, Johnny Unitas, Mike Ditka, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Honus Wagner, Bill Cosby, Fred Rogers and my personal favorite, a dude named Ben Franklin. You might’ve heard of him once or twice. :smiley:

Joe Montana and Stan Musial are both alumni of my high school. There probably aren’t too many high schools in America that can claim two Hall of Famers.

While there doesn’t appear to be a Hershey Highway, specifically, there is a Hershey Park Drive, as well as both W. and E. Chocolate Drives… (zoom in one).


Ah. So that’s where chocolate milk comes from.

My father’s from Pennsylvania.

Well, none of you knew it…