Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  Who is my public school named after?
The Education, Philosophy and Religion Department has a special collection of biographical sketches that will answer this question.
2.  Can I access information on the political process for the City of Philadelphia online?

The Government Publications Department would like to refer you to the homepage of The Committee of Seventy . "The Committee of Seventy is a not-for-profit, non-partisan political watchdog organization dedicated to advancing good government for the City of Philadelphia and its surrounding communities since 1904." You will find a wealth of political information and data about Philadelphia and the Region.

Source: Committee of Seventy web site
3.  What information about Center City Philadelphia is available online?
The Center City District (CCD) is a private sector organization funded through mandatory assessments on real property owners. The District supplements Philadelphia municipal services, including online publication of Center City information and data on employment, quality of life, city planning, Center City events and real estate.

Source: Center City District Homepage
4.  What resources about Philadelphia neighborhoods does the library have?

The Free Library of Philadelphia can guide you to many different neighborhood resources.  The Social Science and History Department at Parkway Central has history books on many neighborhoods and ethnic groups.  It also has a vertical file of clippings and other information dealing with Philadelphia neighborhoods and local history in general. We also have a file that indexes information about neighborhoods and ethnic groups in other sources. All of these materials must be used at the Library.  You can find the websites of community, business, and historical organizations of Philadelphia neighborhoods in the Social Science and History Department's Internet directory at  You can also search for neighborhood profiles in newspapers in the Newspaper and Microfilm Department. 

5.  What statue is permanently on display outside the Spectrum sports stadium in Philadelphia?

"Rocky," a depiction of the actor Sylvester Stallone as the fictional boxer, Rocky Balboa, that was featured in the 1982 film, Rocky III. The movie was set and filmed in Philadelphia. The statue was originally placed at the entrance to the Philadelphia Art Museum but was moved to its current location after museum officials and Philadelphians complained.

Source: Rocky Statue. Philadelphia Oddities by Ron Avery. 2005.

6.  How many inches of snow were recorded in the Philadelphia blizzard of 1996, known as the blizzard of the century?
30.7 inches of snow were recorded on January 7-8, 1996.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 1/11/94, p. 3
7.  What is the meaning of the word Schuyllkill?
Schuylkill means "hidden creek" in Dutch.

Source: Pinkowski, Edward. Chester County Place Names. Sunshine Press, 1962. p. 179. 929.4 P656C
8.  What condiment is Philadelphia famous for?

Mustard was first manufactured in the United States in Germantown in 1768. Benjamin Jackson advertised of having the original "mustard manufactory in America."

Source: Booker, Janice L. Philly Firsts. Philadelphia: Camino Books, Inc. pg. 109. 974.811 B644P

9.  For which alcoholic beverage was Philadelphia famous?

Fish House Punch, a drink made with brandy, tea, and lemon juice, was invented at the State in Schuylkill Fishing Company in 1732, and, according to tradition, was regularly drank by George Washington.

Source: Booker, Janice. L. Philly Facts. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 1999, p. 13. 974.811 B644P

10.  Where did the term "Philadelphia Lawyer" originate?

"Philadelphia lawyer," a synonym for a shrewd attorney, probably originated in 1735. In New York, Andrew Hamilton, a Philadelphian lawyer, defended a newspaper publisher who had been imprisoned for libel against the government. Hamilton successfully argued that the publisher's attack was based on truth, setting the precedent for freedom of the press in the United States. No New York lawyer had been willing to take the case on and after Hamilton won someone shouted "Only a Philadelphia lawyer could have done it!".

Source: Fairbairn, G. Don. Philadelphia; The Fabulous City of Firsts. Wyncote, PA: Kirsh Publishing Company, p. 75 974.81 F15P

11.  What intersection in Philadelphia has cemeteries on all four corners?
Frankford & Cheltenham Avenues.

Source: Keels, Thomas H. Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries. Charleson: Arcadia, 2003.
12.  Has the Jersey Devil ever been seen in Philadelphia?
Yes. On January 20th, 1909, it was sighted in South Philadelphia, Germantown and on Fairmount Avenue. That year the Philadelphia Zoo offered a $10,000 reward for its capture.

Source: McCloy, James F. and Ray Miller, Jr. Phantom of the Pines; More Tales of the Jersey Devil. Moorestown, NJ: Middle Atlantic Press, 1998. pp. 91-92. 398.2097 M132p 398.2097 M132P
13.  One of the first Romantic novels written in America was set in Philadelphia. What was the novel and who was the author?
Charles Brockden Brown's Arthur Mervyn, written in 1799, was based on the 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia. Its vivid, almost sensationalistic appeal to the emotions mark it as influenced by the British Romantics.

Source: "Charles Brockden Brown" Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 37. Edited by Emory Eliot, The Gale Group, 1985. pg. 69-81.
14.  What does the bronze statue in 30th Street Station represent, and who created it?

Sculpted by Walter Hancock in 1950 as the Pennsylvania Railroad War Memorial, it shows the Archangel Michael holding a dead soldier. It is inscribed with the names of railroad employees who died in WWII.

Source: Fairmount Park Art Association. Sculpture of a City. New York: Walker, 1974. p. 295 730.973 F166S

15.  What is scrapple?
It is a breakfast food made from flour (cornmeal and/or wheat), seasoning, water and parts of the pig not used otherwise, such as pigs' livers, hearts, tongues and skins. It has been popular in the Philadelphia-area since colonial times.

Source: Weaver, William Woys. Country Scrapple: An American Tradition. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2003. 641.66 W379c
16.  What was the original site of the University of Pennsylvania?
Its first home was at 9th and Chestnut Streets, but by 1871 work was already beginning for the present College Hall in West Philadelphia.

Source: Hutchins, Amey A. University of Pennsylvania. Charleston: Arcadia, 2004. 378.73 H971U
17.  What historic locomotive was first used in Philadelphia?

The "John Bull" which was shipped from England for use in the United States in 1831. In 1981 it was operated for the last time, making it the oldest operating locomotive in the world. Today it is on display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC.

Source: "John Bull locomotive, 1831." Smithsonian Institute. 2001.

18.  The Philadelphia region is the center of production for what crop in the United States?

Agaricus mushrooms, the conventional white button variety, are grown in nearby Chester county. In 1992, the county produced 37 percent of the nation's fresh market sales and 69 percent of mushrooms used in processing.

Source: Kestenbaum, Herbert, Ed. The Inquirer Regional Almanac, 1995. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Newspapers, Inc, 1994. p. 302.

19.  Which classical orchestra performed the score in the 1940 Disney film,
It was the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski. The score was recorded at the Academy of Music on Broad Street in Center City.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.20, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA
20.  What was the first non-German textile mill in Germantown?

The first non-German textile mill in Germantown was built by William Logan Fisher on Wingohocking Creek in 1809.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.3:4, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o