1. Yes, it says “Pensylvania” on the Liberty Bell, but no, it's not a mistake. At the time, this was an accepted spelling. The same spelling was used in the Constitution and appears on maps in Independence Hall.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user picdrops

2. Benjamin Franklin founded the nation's first library, The Library Company of Philadelphia, in 1731. It served as the Library of Congress from the Revolutionary War until 1800.

 

3. The city has the second-largest Irish and Italian populations in the U.S., after only New York City.

 

4. The municipality's park system is one of the oldest and biggest in the nation. It consists of 63 parks covering 9,200 acres; the primary park, Fairmount Park, spans more than 4,100 acres.

 

5. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, which opened in 1805, is the country's first art museum and art school.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Erik Anestad

6. Philly still takes art seriously, the more than 2,000 outdoor murals in the city have earned it the reputation of Mural Capital of the U.S.

 

7. The city is even widely cited as having more public art than any other in the country.

 

8. Philadelphia is home to more Impressionist paintings than any other city besides Paris and its Rodin Museum. In fact, Philly has the largest collection of the sculptor's work outside of Paris.

 

9. The Philadelphia legend that Betsy Ross sewed the first American Flag is unsupported by any factual evidence. Sorry.

 

10. In 1943, new owner Bob Carpenter, Jr. rebranded the Philadelphia Phillies the Philadelphia Blue Jays, which lasted until 1949.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Celine

11. Elfreth's Alley, in Old City north of Arch Street and between Front and 2nd Streets, is America's oldest continually inhabited street.

 

12. The nation's first daily newspaper, “The Philadelphia Packet and Daily Advertiser”, was founded in Philadelphia in 1784 and had a six-year publication run.

 

13. “The Philadelphia Inquirer” is the third-oldest daily newspaper still being published in the U.S.

 

14. “The Philadelphia Tribune”, founded in 1884, is the oldest continuously published African American newspaper.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user chuckyeager

15. From its completion in 1901, Philly's City Hall was the world's tallest habitable building until 1908. It is still the largest municipal building in the country.

 

16. An unofficial agreement kept City Hall (the pinnacle being the top of its William Penn statue) the tallest building in Philadelphia until 1987, when construction of One Liberty Place finished.

 

17. Overshadowing the Penn statue was rumored to start “The Curse of Billy Penn,” preventing Philly's four major sports teams from winning championships. The curse held until a Penn statuette was placed atop the new Comcast Center in 2007, reestablishing him as the highest point in the city; the Phillies won the 2008 World Series.

 

18. Pennsylvania Hospital, founded by Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Thomas Bond in 1751, is America's first hospital.

 

19. And the University of Pennsylvania—the first U.S. university—opened the nation's first medical school in 1765.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Wikimedia user Jeffrey M. Vinocur

20. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, founded in 1855, was the first hospital in the country devoted exclusively to kids.

 

21. Plus, the Fox Chase Cancer Center was the nation's first cancer hospital.

 

22. So maybe it's no surprise that 1 out of every 6 doctors in the U.S. receives medical training in Philadelphia.

 

23. The University of Pennsylvania also started the world's first college-level business school, the Wharton School of Business, in 1881.

 

24. Also, U. Penn's Houston Hall became the first student union in the U.S. in 1896.

 

25. Philly has the fourth-highest gross domestic product in the country and the ninth-highest in the world among cities.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: The Mütter Museum via Facebook

26. You can see pieces of Einstein's brain, a malignant tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland, a piece of John Wilkes Booth's thorax, a 9-foot long human colon, and a corpse that turned into soap at The Mütter Museum.

 

27. And speaking of John Wilkes, his brother Edwin Booth purchased the Walnut Street Theater (the oldest continuously operating theater in an English-speaking country) in 1863.

 

28. The 27-ton Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) was the world's first electronic computer. It was financed by the U.S. Army and developed in secret at the University of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electrical Engineering.

 

29. The Philadelphia Zoo, which opened on July 1, 1874, is the nation's first zoo. Today it houses more than 13,000 animals on 42 acres.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Andrew Kelly

30. The Academy of Music is the country's first musical auditorium still in use for its original purpose. Construction was completed in 1857.

 

31. Philly became the site of the first organized protest against slavery when the 1688 Germantown Quaker Petition Against Slavery was drafted.

 

32. It's also the site of the first African American church, Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, which was established in 1794.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Yuri Long

33. Brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri reputedly invented the cheesesteak in 1930, though it didn't originally include cheese. Pat opened South Philly's famous Pat's King of Steaks.

 

34. It seems cheese was added by Pat's manager Joe Lorenza in the 1940s.

 

35. Bartram's Garden is the oldest still-living botanical garden in all of North America.

 

36. The first Thanksgiving Day Parade was held in Philly in 1920.

 

37. In 1792, the Philadelphia Mint was the first Federal building built under the Constitution.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Jim, the photographer

38. Back then, it took three years for the Mint to make the country's first one million coins—today, it can make that many in 22.2 hours.

 

39. The building that is now the Loews Philadelphia Hotel and 12th and Market Streets was the first international-style skyscraper and the country's first completely air-conditioned building.

 

40. Philadelphia's nicknames include Philly, The City of Brotherly Love, The Birthplace of America, The City that Loves You Back, The City of Neighborhoods, The Quaker City, and The Cradle of Liberty.

 

41. The city's motto is Philadelphia maneto, which means “let brotherly love endure.”

 

42. The Philadelphia Naval Yard was the first naval shipyard in the U.S. It started somewhat unofficially in 1776 and became an official U.S. Navy shipyard in 1801.

 

43. In 1682, Philadelphia became the first city in the New World to guarantee religious freedom.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Jim, the photographer

44. The Academy of Natural Sciences, founded in 1812 and opened to the public in 1828, is the oldest natural sciences center in the Western hemisphere.

 

45. In Philly in 1775, Johann Behrent built the first piano made in America.

 

46. The highest point in Philadelphia is near the intersection of Bethlehem Pike and Germantown Avenue in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood—it's 445 feet above sea level.

50 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Philadelphia

Source: Flickr user Michael Hicks

47. Philly's subway opened in 1907, making it the third-oldest in the U.S. (after Boston's and NYC's).

 

48. The lowest point in Philly is 10 feet above sea level.

 

49. NASDAQ OMX PHLX, better known by its former name, The Philadelphia Stock Exchange, was the first stock exchange in America, founded in 1790.

50. In 1937, the Philadelphia Orchestra became the first to appear in a film. Then, in 1948, it became the first orchestra to appear on national television. In 1973, it became the first American orchestra to tour in China.