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Pennsylvania State Guide

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Pennsylvania is the 6th most populous state which is located in the mid Atlantic and north-eastern region of the United States. Pennsylvania is officially known as the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and is commonly referred to as the Keystone State. Pennsylvania became the 2nd state to join the Union on December 12, 1787 [1]. Prior to statehood, the state was known as the Province of Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Fast Facts:

Capital city: Harrisburg
Largest city: Philadelphia
State Land Animal: The Whitetail Deer
State Bird: The Ruffed Grouse
State Tree: The Hemlock
State Flower: Mountain Laurel
State Song: Pennsylvania
State Soil: Hazleton
Common Languages Spoken: English, Spanish and others
flower bird tree animal

History of Pennsylvania

Prior to European contact, many tribes settled in Pennsylvania, such as the Lenape, Native American, Susquehannock, Erie, Iroquois, Shawnee and other tribes. Smallpox disease became epidemic in those days and large groups of these tribes died.

In the 17th century, Swedish and Dutch were the first to arrive and settle in Pennsylvania. The Swedes established a colony of new Sweden. Later the English seized the Dutch possessions and introduced English laws and government by the Duke of Yorke's Laws.

In the early 18th century, German immigration to the state increased. The first chapel and church was established in Philadelphia. The French expedition, known as Celoron and Longueuil expeditions crossed Pennsylvania region. The Pennsylvanians and French traders competed for Indian trade. The French and Indian War occurred from 1754 to 1762 and later the French were defeated. After the defeat of the French, the Indians rose and fought against the British in Pontiac’s War.

In the American Revolution, Pennsylvania played a pivotal role. For most of the 1900s, Philadelphia was designated as the nation's capital the 19th century. Urbanization increased in the state but agriculture still remained as the main occupation of the large number of people. Several textile mills and industries such as lumbering, leather making, shipbuilding, tobacco and paper factory, publishing manufacture were established and grew in the 1800s.

The 20th century Pennsylvania made many reforms and bring in several changes, such as the formation of Tax Equalization Board, the Council on Civil Defense, the Human Relations Commission, State's Commission for Women. The state became a much sought for filming destinations for many major motion pictures.

Pennsylvania History Timeline

1608 - Captain John Smith visited the Susquehannock Indians.
1638-1655 - The Colony of New Sweden
1664-1681 - Duke of York's Rule
1720 - The first Catholic congregation and the first chapel established in Philadelphia.
1760 - French defeated and Indian war alliance formed.
1777 - The British invaded Pennsylvania and captured the capital.
1840 - Increased urbanization
1860 - Establishment of many industries, such as textile mills, leather making, shipbuilding, lumbering, publishing, tobacco and paper manufacturing industries.
1862 - Organized Bethlehem Company
1955 - Established the Human Relations Commission
1975 - Created State's Commission for Women.
1977 - Pennsylvania became famous for filming of many major motion pictures
2004 - Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia, demolished with 2,800 explosions

Geography of Pennsylvania

Geography Fast Facts:

Total Area: 46,055 sq mi
Longitude: 74o41′ to 80o31′ W
Latitude: 39o43′ to 42o16′ N
Highest point: Mount Davis - 3,213 ft (979 m)
Mean point: 1,100 ft (340 m)
Lowest point: Delaware River at Delaware border sea level
Time Zone Mountain: Eastern: UTC −5/−4
Pennsylvania is the 33rd largest state of the United States covering a total land area of 44,742.70 square miles. The state's Geography may be best described as a variation from sea level marine inlet to mountainous high points. The state also offers many important natural resources and played a major role in the history of the nation. is bordered to the southeast by Delaware, to the south by Maryland, to the southwest by West Virginia, to the west by Ohio, to the northwest by Lake Erie and Ontario in Canada, to the north by New York and New Jersey to the east.

Topography of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is a state that serves as a geographic bridge or connectivity between the Northeast and the Southern states, and also between the Midwest and the Atlantic seaboard. It even has a toehold on the Great Lakes, with the Erie triangle. The state is crossed in the middle by the Appalachian Mountains.

The ridges of the Appalachian Mountains run through the middle of the state from southwest to northeast. The Allegheny Plateau comprises the northwestern portion and the plateau is divided by many valleys. The region has many deposits of Pennsylvanian and Mississippian age's sedimentary rocks, with plenty of fossils, petroleum and natural gas. Around Wilkes-Barre and Hazelton, anthracite or hard coal is mined.
Orchards and Vineyards are prevalent near the Lake Erie shores. The central and western state depends on dairy farming and timber as important sources of livelihood.

Given below are the major mountain peaks in Pennsylvania-

  • Mount Davis (3,213 ft / 979 m) - It is the highest peak in Pennsylvania.

  • Baughman Rocks Baughman Rocks (3,153 ft / 961 m) - Located near Milford, Pennsylvania.

  • Blue Knob Blue Knob (3,127 ft / 953 m) - Located near Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.

  • Glade Mountain Glade Mountain (3,071 ft / 936 m) - Located near Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

  • Ringer Hill Ringer Hill (2,963 ft / 903 m) - Located near Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

  • Maust Hill Maust Hill (2,956 ft / 901 m) - Located near Ligonier, Pennsylvania.

  • Vought Rock Vought Rock (2,946 ft / 898 m) - Located near Milford, Pennsylvania.

  • Schaefer Head Schaefer Head (2,946 ft / 898 m) - Located near Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.

  • Bald Knob Bald Knob (2,930 ft / 893 m) - Located near Waterford, Pennsylvania.

  • Painter Rock Hill Painter Rock Hill (2,930 ft / 893 m) - Located near Derry, Pennsylvania.

  • Birch Rock Hill Birch Rock Hill (2,923 ft / 891 m) - Located near Derry, Pennsylvania.

  • Sugar Camp Hill Sugar Camp Hill (2,910 ft / 887 m) - Located near Somerset, Pennsylvania.

  • Pea Vine Hill Pea Vine Hill (2,907 ft / 886 m) - Located near Waterford, Pennsylvania.

  • Mystery Hill Mystery Hill (2,881 ft / 878 m) - Locvated near Somerset, Pennsylvania.

  • Ritchey Knob Ritchey Knob (2,867 ft / 874 m) - Located near Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.

  • Pikes Peak Pikes Peak (2,848 ft / 868 m) - Located near Milford, Pennsylvania.

  • Irwin Hill Irwin Hill (2,848 ft / 868 m) - Located near Somerset, Pennsylvania.

  • Cattle Knob Cattle Knob (2,838 ft / 865 m) - Located near Gallitzin, Pennsylvania.

  • Ulery Hill Ulery Hill (2,831 ft / 863 m) - Located near Waterford, Pennsylvania.

  • Cover Hill Cover Hill (2,831 ft / 863 m) - Located near Friedens, Pennsylvania.

State Forests in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania is home to many state forests. The forest provides the natural habitat of many flora and fauna and also features some of the most endangered ecological communities. Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources oversees and manages the conservation of all forests resources.

Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resourceswoods
Bureau of Forestry Central Office Directory
Rachel Carson State Office Building, 6th Floor
P.O. Box 8552
Harrisburg, PA 17105-8552
Phone: 717-787-2703
Fax: 717-783-5109
email: PaForester@pa.gov
Website: http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/

Listed below are some of the major state forests in Pennsylvania-

Bald Eagle State Forest
18865 Old Turnpike Road
Millmont, PA 17845
(570) 922-3344

Buchanan State Forest

440 Buchanan Trail
McConnellsburg, PA 17233
(717) 485-3148

Clear Creek State Forest
Kittanning District Office
158 South Second Ave.
Clarion, PA 16214-1904
(814) 226-1901

Cornplanter District Office
323 N. State Street
North Warren, PA 16365
(814) 723-0262

Delaware District Office
2174A Route 611
Swiftwater, PA 18370-7746
(570) 895-4000

Elk District Office
258 Sizerville Road
Emporium, PA 15834
(814) 486-3353

Forbes District Office
1291 Route 30
PO Box 519
Laughlintown, PA 15655
(724) 238-1200

Gallitzin Forest District
155 Hillcrest Drive
Ebensburg, PA 15931
(814) 472-1862

Lackawanna District Office
RR 1, Box 230
Dalton, PA 18414
(570) 945-7133

Loyalsock District Office
6735 Route 220
Dushore, PA 18614
(570) 946-4049
Moshannon District Office
3372 State Park Road
Penfield, PA 15849
(814) 765-0821

Rothrock District Office
181 Rothrock Lane
Huntingdon, PA 16652
(814) 643-2340

Sproul District Office
15187 Renovo Road
Renovo, PA 17764
(570) 923-6011

Susquehannock District Office
P.O. Box 673
Coudersport, PA 16915
(814) 274-3600

Tiadaghton District Office
10 Lower Pine Bottom Road
Waterville, PA 17776
(570) 753-5409

Tioga District Office
One Nessmuk Lane
Wellsboro, PA 16901
(570) 724-2868

Tuscarora District Office
4455 Big Spring Road
Blain, PA 17006
(717) 536-3191

Weiser District Office
P.O. Box 315
Aristes PA 17920
Tel: 570-875-6450
FAX: 570-875-3605
Email: FD18@pa.gov

William Penn District Office
845 Park Road
Elverson, PA 19520
(610) 582-9660

Michaux District Office
10099 Lincoln Way East
Fayetteville, PA 17222
(717) 352-2211

Economy of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has a stable and constantly growing economy in the United States Pennsylvania has been ranked 6th in Gross Domestic Product and 26th in per capita GDP in 2013 in the United States.

Economic growth

Economy Fast Facts: [2] [3]

  • Unemployment rate, in December 2014: 4.8%

  • Per Capita Real GDP, in 2013: $47,274

  • Total Gross State Product (GSP): $644 billion

  • Gross Domestic Product of all private industries: $577,344

Agriculture in Pennsylvania

  • The top 5 agricultural products based on revenue generated include dairy products, greenhouse and nursery products, cattle and calves, chicken eggs and mushrooms. The largest revenue is generated by greenhouse and nursery products

  • Pennsylvania's most important crops are soybean, corn for grain, hay crops, oats, wheat and tobacco.

  • The main vegetables produced are mushrooms(rank 2nd), sweet corn, tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and beans.

  • Apples, peaches, grapes and strawberries are the major fruits produced in Pennsylvania.

  • Almost nearly 70% of the farm income of the state is incurred from livestock and its products.

  • Milk is the major livestock products and produced in surplus quantity and Pennsylvania leads the nation in milk production.

  • The 2nd most important livestock product is beef cattle.

  • Other important livestock products include broilers, chicken eggs, turkey, hogs and aquaculture.

Industries in Pennsylvania

  • The major manufactured products of the state are chemicals.

  • Processed food production is ranked 2nd in the manufacturing sector. The state leads the nation in the production of canned mushrooms. Additionally it is a surplus producer of pretzels, ice creams and potato chips.

  • Computer and electronic products are also important manufactured products of the state.

  • Coal contributes immensely to the state's mining income and is the nation's leading producer of coal.

  • Superior quality granite, made from Quarries is also available in Pennsylvania.

  • Limestone and natural gas are the state’s major mined products.

  • Banking sectors are also an important source of the state’s service income.

Tourism in Pennsylvania

Tourism is also an important sector that contributes to the economic growth of the state. Some of the top tourist destinations in Pennsylvania include-

  • Hershey Park
  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Philadelphia Zoo
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Kennywood Park
  • Independence National Park and the Liberty Bell
  • Valley Forge National Historical Park
  • King of Prussia Shopping Mall
  • Pennsylvania State Capitol
  • Reading Terminal Market

Demographics of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania had an estimated population of 12,787,209 as of 2014 estimation by the U.S census bureau, which reflected an increase of 0.7% since the year 2010. The population density of the state is 283.9 person per square mile [4]. Philadelphia is the largest city of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania's center of population of Pennsylvania is situated in Perry County, Duncannon borough. The principle ancestries of Pennsylvania are German, Italian, Irish, African and English.

  • White alone: 83.2%
  • Black or African American: 11.55
  • Asian: 3.1%
  • Native American or Alaska Native: 0.3%
  • Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander: 0.1%
  • Hispanic or Latino: 6.3%
  • Two or More Races: 1.8%

Pennsylvania Population Quick Facts:

  • Population, 2014 – 12,787,209
  • Population, 2013 – 12,781,296
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014 – 0.7%
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013 – 5.6%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013 – 21.3%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013 – 16.4%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013 – 51.1%

The majority of the people of Pennsylvania are-

  • Christianity
  • Protestant
  • Mainline Protestant
  • Evangelical Protestant
  • Black Protestant
  • Jehovah's Witnesses
  • Roman Catholic
  • Orthodox
  • Judaism

Education in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has several primary, secondary, higher education institutions and many publicly funded universities and colleges. The public schools of the state are administered and financed by the General Assemble authority and local school boards. The Pennsylvania Department of Education is the division which is responsible to assess and manage the workings of all schools, colleges and universities in the state. The department’s mission is to provide world class education and best values to the students to ensure success in education, workplace and in every spheres of life. Various programs and plans are implemented to enhance the standard of education and also to improve the academic success rate.

education facility

Some of the top Universities and Colleges of the state are listed below-

Government of Pennsylvania

flagThe Pennsylvania Constitution is the foundation of the Government of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Constitution of the state ensures basic rights to the citizens and outlines the structure of the government.

The Executive Department of Pennsylvania consists of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, Auditor General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction and many other officers prescribed by the General Assembly.

The second article of the Constitution gives "legislative power of the Commonwealth" to the General Assembly, which includes both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Members of the General Assembly are chosen at the general election every second year. Their term of service begin on the first day of December next after their election.

The Constitution establishes a unified judicial system that comprises of the Supreme Court, the Superior Court, the Commonwealth Court, courts of common pleas, municipal and traffic courts, community courts in the City of Philadelphia and other such courts as may be provided by law and justices of the peace.

The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania is the highest court in the Commonwealth and the oldest appellate court in the nation. The Pennsylvania court system is structured like a pyramid with the Supreme Court at the top.

Learn more: Government of Pennsylvania

Transportation in Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) looks after the entire system of transportation in the state of Pennsylvania. PennDOT is responsible for planning, maintaining and construction of the multi modal transportation system of the state.

The PennDOT looks after road transportation services in Pennsylvania. The department ensures efficient administration and management of public transportation services and infrastructure in the state. The PennDOT supported intercity bus service consists of one national and four regional carriers operating 17 routes. There are 3,371 route miles statewide.


The Pennsylvania Department Transportation looks after air transportation in the state. The department provides and promotes reliable and safe air system to the travelers. There are 134 public use airports, 313 private use airports and 290 private use helicopters in the state.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation oversees railway transportation in the state. The department works for the preservation and improvement of rail freight infrastructure in the state. It provides technical and financial assistance to railroads for their uplift. The department promotes economic development through the railfrieght properties and facilitates rail freight integration movement with other transportation means. In Pennsylvania there are 67 railroads, most of any state. There are over 6,000 miles of railroads statewide.

Learn more: Pennsylvania Transportation


  1. Statehood
  2. Unemployment Rate
  3. Gross Domestic Product and Per Capita Income
  4. Demographics

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