Pennsylvania, The Keystone State

Pennsylvania, The Keystone State

by Sandra Merville Hart

Pennsylvania is known as the Keystone State because it was key to important ways the United States developed economically, politically, and socially. It was also the middle colony in the thirteen original colonies.

roman-837622_960_720In architecture, keystone describes the stone in the center of an arch – important because it holds all the arch’s stones in place.

Pennsylvania’s early years

In 1681, England’s King Charles II gave the area we know as Pennsylvania to William Penn because of a debt owed to his father. William, a Quaker, had a good relationship with the Native Americans. 

Pennsylvania played an important part in Revolutionary War

In 1774, Philadelphia hosted the First Continental Congress. The Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia in 1776.

U.S. Capital in Philadelphia

radio-702845_960_720From 1790 to 1800, our first two presidents used the President’s House in Philadelphia. They stayed at this mansion at Sixth and Market Streets until the White House was built in the District of Columbia.

First commercial radio broadcast in Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, station KDKA aired the country’s first commercial radio broadcast on November 2, 1920. This date was chosen because it was Election Day for the Harding-Cox presidential race.

Listeners could hear that Warren G. Harding won the election before reading the newspaper.

ferris-wheel-1236415_960_720Pennsylvania becomes a state

Pennsylvania became the second state on December 12, 1787. The capital is Harrisburg.

Largest chocolate factory

The world’s largest chocolate factory is in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

chocolate-bar-524263_960_720There are many fun things to do at Hershey, including Hersheypark and Hershey’s Chocolate World. And, of course, there’s plenty of chocolate!


Other fun facts about Pennsylvania

The historic Battle of Gettysburg was fought in Pennsylvania from July 1—3, 1863, which was a Union (Northern) victory.

President Abraham Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg in November of 1863.

The first official Major League World Series was played at Pittsburgh’s Exposition Park in 1903. The Boston Americans won the victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The state bird is the ruffed grouse.

The state flower is the mountain laurel.



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“13 Originals: Founding the American Colonies,” The Time Page, 2013/01/04

“A Brief History of the President’s House in Philadelphia,” U.S., 2013/01/28

Cheney, Lynne. Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2006.

“Find Things To Do: Something for Everyone,” Hershey, PA The Sweetest Place on Earth, 2013/01/28

Gutman, Bill. The Look-It-Up Book of the 50 States, Random House, 2002.

“KDKA begins to broadcast 1920,”, 2013/01/28

“The Keystone State,” State Symbols USA, 2016/06/05

“Pennsylvania,”, 2020/05/31


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