25 Things You Didn’t Know About Philadelphia
It’s home to the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence, and Philly cheesesteaks. But there’s more than that going on in the City of Brotherly Love.
1. Philly is a city of firsts. On top of hosting America’s first birthday, it also started up the country’s first daily newspaper—The Philadelphia Packet and Daily Advertiser—in 1784.
2. The city is home to America's first zoo.
3. It’s also home to the first hospital.
4. And, naturally, the first medical school!
5. Philadelphia is actually renowned for its medical sector. One out of every six doctors in the U.S. is trained in Philly.
6. Move over, England. The Walnut Street Theater is actually the oldest continually running theater in the English-speaking world.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
7. It was originally owned by Edwin Booth—you might know him as John Wilkes Booth’s brother.
8. Philly became home to the first general purpose computer in 1946.
9. It weighed 27 tons!
10. Philly boasts more Impressionist paintings than any other city outside Paris.
11. Art is a big deal here. Boasting over 2000 outdoor murals, it’s been called the “mural capital of the U.S.”
12. If you’re more of a foodie, Philly is also home to the Wing Bowl, an eating contest that draws crowds as large as 20,000 people.
13. In 1943, Phillies owner Robert Carpenter attempted to rename the team the Blue Jays. The nickname obviously failed to catch on.
14. Why are the Flyers called the Flyers? Because Ed Snider’s wife simply thought the name sounded good.
15. As for the Eagles, they’re actually named for the Eagle that appeared on posters during the National Recovery Act, which was part of FDR’s New Deal.
16. Before that, the city's home team was the Frankford Yellow Jackets.
17. In 1988, the Eagles helped make the world’s largest cheesesteak. To no one’s surprise, it was the length of a football field.
18. In the beginning, the Philadelphia mint took several years to produce its first million coins.
19. Today, it can make that many in less than an hour.
20. One of the first businesses in Philly? Beer. William Frampton’s brewery started up in 1683.
Peter Miller, Flickr // CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
21. For the U.S. bicentennial, the city planted a “moon tree.” (That is, a tree grown from a seed taken on the Apollo 14 mission.)
22. 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.
23. Surprise! Neither Thomas Jefferson nor John Adams signed the Constitution—they were out of town.
24. Sorry, but there’s no evidence that Philadelphia resident Betsy Ross stitched the first American flag.
25. The story was made up in 1870, some 100 years after the fact. You can still visit her home in Philly’s Old City neighborhood, though!