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6 Historical Facts About Philadelphia

Although Philadelphia wasn’t the United State’s first settlement, there are many reasons to consider it the birthplace of America. As PBS.org notes, the City of Brotherly Love was the nation’s first capital, with the First Continental Congress meeting at Carpenters’ Hall from September 5 to October 26, 1774. 

With an ever-changing government, it’s no surprise that Philadelphia is intertwined with so many historical movements and firsts for the country.  

Philadelphia Was a Pioneer 

There are many firsts for the United States that took place in Philadelphia. The city was home to the nation’s first university, hospital, daily newspaper, and zoo. Additionally, it was the first location of an American medical school, the Perelman School of Medicine, formed in 1765. Another medical accomplishment for the City of Brotherly love is the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the first pediatric-only hospital in the entire country.

The World’s First Computer Called Philadelphia Home

The University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering was the first location in the world to have an electronic computer between 1943 and 1946. The computer called the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), was created right there in Philadelphia. The machine was originally intended to calculate values for artillery range tables during World War II. 

One of the World’s Most Haunted Houses is in Philly

If you are moving to Philly and scouting out some Philadelphia homes for sale, you may want to avoid properties near the infamous Baleroy Mansion if you believe in ghosts. This home is repeatedly investigated by paranormal television and investigation crews and used to have a chair that belonged to Napoleon. The chair had to be put into storage by the owner after four people sat in it and died shortly after.

Philadelphia’s City Hall Was Supposed to Be the World’s Tallest Building

When construction first started in 1870, the designers of Philadelphia’s City Hall was intended to be the tallest building in the world. However, before it was even finished, other structures like the Washington Monument and the Eiffel Tower were completed and surpassed Philly’s city hall.

The First Serial Killer in the United States was Executed at Moyamensing Prison 

Philadelphia’s Moyamensing Prison first opened in 1835 and cost $450,000 to build. H.H. Holmes, one of America’s first serial killers on record, was found guilty of a bunch of murders that took place at Chicago’s World Fair in 1893. While there’s reason to believe that Holmes was responsible for hundreds of murders, he was only found guilty of nine and sentenced to the gallows, where it took him almost 20 minutes to die.

Washington Square Park is Home to the World’s First Moon Tree

 On Apollo 14’s mission to the moon, they brought some tree seeds with them. The seeds returned with the astronauts and were planted back on Earth as the first seeds to leave the planet. The very first one was planted in Philadelphia’s Washington Square Park in May 1975 to be the world’s first “moon tree.”

Written by
Noah Cooper

I'm the head of the Cooper heard. My wife and I moved abroad when our first son who came along in May, 2011. I am a typical Brit abroad with a family to raise and am sharing the journey of the expat life abroad.

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Written by Noah Cooper