Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  What significant role did Philadelphia play in the history of fire prevention?

The Union Fire Company, thought to be the first volunteer fire company in the world, was founded in Philadelphia in 1736 at the suggestion of Benjamin Franklin.

Source: Morgan, George. The City of Firsts. Philadelphia: Historical Publication Society, 1926.

2.  When was Philadelphia the capital of the United States?

Philadelphia was the nation's first capital between 1790 and 1800.

Source: Booker, Janice L. Philly Firsts. Philadelphia: Camino Books, Inc. pg. 1. 974.811 B644P

3.  Where was the first paper mill in the United States built?

The first paper mill was built by William Rittenhouse, Samuel Carpenter, Robert Turner, Thomas Tresse, and William Bradford in Germantown, PA in 1690.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.410, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

4.  What was the name of the first Philadelphia football team, and when was it founded?

The Philadelphia Athletics was founded in 1902 by Connie Mack. The team won the first night football game on November 21, 1902. They won 39-0 over Kanaweola AC at Elmira, NY. Both the Athletics and Pittsburgh claimed the championship title for that year, and the issue was never resolved.

Source: The Football Encyclopedia: The Complete History of Professional NFL Football from 1892 to the present, 1991, p.17, David S. Neft and Richard M. Cohen, 796.3326 N299f

5.  When was the first Army-Navy football game held, and was it held in Philadelphia?
The first Army-Navy game was held Nov. 29, 1890, at West Point, NY. Navy won, with the final score 24-0.

Source: What happened when, p. 381
6.  Who was the first African American astronaut to fly in space?

On August 30, 1983 Guion (Guy) Stewart Bluford Jr. was the first African American to fly in space. He made his maiden voyage into space on the STS-8. He is a native of Philadelphia.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.621, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 SM61B

7.  When was the first Automat opened, and when was the last one closed?
The first Automat was opened by Joseph Horn and Frank Hardart in Philadelphia in 1902. Customers could buy food directly from windowed compartments. The last Automat closed April 9, 1991, at 42nd St. and Third Ave. in New York City.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 4/11/91
8.  When was the first National League baseball game held?
The first National League game was played on April 22, 1876 in Philadelphia. The Boston Beaneaters defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 6-5; there were 18 hits and 18 errors.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 1/25/76
9.  Who made the first Philly cheesesteak?
There is no documented evidence, but it is popularly believed that Pat Olivieri, who ran a hot-dog cart in South Philly, was cooking up some steak and onions and decided to make a sandwich out of it. Olivieri later opened Pat's King of Steaks.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 6/3/94
10.  Who introduced the first commercially-produced cupcake?
The TastyKake Company of Philadelphia introduced the first commercial snack cake in America in 1914.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 5/11/89
11.  What is ENIAC?
ENIAC, or Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, is considered to have been the first general purpose electronic computer. It was built at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940's.
12.  Who was Philadelphia's first female judge?
Hazel Hemphill Brown was a Municipal Court judge from 1952 until 1974. She died Dec. 12, 1983.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 12/83?
13.  What was the first Department store to sell an ...airplane?
Wanamaker's Department Store, which prided itself on selling anything which could be bought, sold an airplane in 1909.

Source: New York Times, 1/22/95
14.  When was the first Groundhog Day held?
The first Groundhog Day, in which a groundhog predicts the coming of spring based on whether or not he sees his shadow, was held on Feb. 2, 1887.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 2/2/87
15.  Where was the first shopping mall built?

The first was Suburban Square in Ardmore, Pa., built by Frederick W. Dreher in 1928.



Source: Temple Review, Spring 1991
16.  What was the first mystery/detective story ever published?
Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" is believed to be the first detective story ever published. It appeared in Graham's Magazine in 1841. Poe lived in Philadelphia at the time of publication.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 9/17/91
17.  When was the first World Series held?

The first World Series was played in Boston, MA and Pittsburgh, PA from October 1 to October 13, 1903. It was held between the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League and the Boston Pilgrims of the American League. It was intended as a nine-game series and Boston won five games to three.

Source: Famous First Facts About Sports, 2001, p.21, Irene M. Franck and David M. Brownstone, 796 F8475f

18.  When did the Strawbridge & Clothier department store in Philadelphia first open?
Strawbridge & Clothier opened at 8th and Market Streets in Philadelphia on July 1, 1868. The store was sold by the Strawbridge and Clothier families to May Dept. Stores on July 15, 1996, and the name was changed to Strawbridge's.

Source: GI Vertical File--Philadelphia--Dept. stores
19.  When did John Wanamaker first open his department store in Philadelphia?
Wanamaker opened a menswear store on April 8, 1861, called Oak Hall. In May 1876 he moved it to 13th & Market Sts. and renamed it the Grand Depot. In 1877 the store was expanded and became a department store.

Source: GI Vertical File--Philadelphia--Dept. stores
20.  When was the Philadelphia soft pretzel introduced?

The soft pretzel, a Philadelphia street tradition, was introduced in the early 1820s.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.87, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA

21.  Who made the first lemon meringue pie?
Philadelphia confectioner Elizabeth Coane Goodfellow (1767-1851) gave America its first lemon meringue pie.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.87, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA
22.  When was the first documented labor strike in Philadelphia?

In 1779 sailors dismantled ships, disrupted shipping, and caused a riot because they wanted wages to match prices seven times higher than the year before.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.116, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA

23.  What is the American Philosophical Society?

The American Philosophical Society is America's oldest learned society. It was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1743. American Philosophical Society Hall located at 105 S. 5th Street was built in 1789. The motto of the American Philosophical Society is Nullo Discrimine, which means We are Open to All.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.121, 145, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA

24.  What was the first insurance company managed by African Americans?

The African Insurance Company of Philadelphia is the first known black insurance company. It was established in 1810. Its president was Joseph Randolph; treasurer, Carey Porter; and secretary, William Coleman.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.85, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

25.  Who was the first African American woman elected to a state legislature?

Crystal Bird Fauset (1893-1965), of Philadelphia, was elected to the Pennsylvania state legislature in 1938.

Source: Black Firsts: 4,000 Ground-Breaking and Pioneering Historical Events, 2003, p.262, Jessie Carney Smith, 909.0496 Sm61b

26.  What was the first college established for African Americans?

The first college established for African Americans was the Ashmun Institute in Chester County, PA. It was chartered by an act of the Pennsylvania legislature on April 29, 1854 to give theological, classical, and scientific training to African Americans. It opened January 1, 1857. The charter was amended in 1866, and the college changed its name to Lincoln University.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.174, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

27.  What was the first Methodist church for African Americans established in the northern United States?

Mother Bethel Church, founded in August 1794, was the first Methodist church in the North to be organized by African Americans. It was founded by Richard Allen, a former slave, at 6th and Lombard Street in Philadelphia.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.482, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

28.  What was the first book to be entered for copyright in the United States?

The first book to be entered for copyright in the United States was the Philadelphia Spelling Book arranged upon a plan entirely new, adapted to the capacities of children and designed as an immediate improvement in spelling and reading the English Language. It was registered on June 9, 1790 by the author, John Barry. It was printed in 1790 by Carey, Stewart, and Company in Philadelphia.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.316, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

29.  Where was the first wallpaper in the United States manufactured?
Wallpaper was manufactured in 1739 by Plunket Fleeson of Philadelphia.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.288, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED
30.  Where and when was the first Constitutional Convention held?

The Constitutional Convention met at Philadelphia from May 25, 1787 to September 17. The Constitution was signed at the conclusion of the Constitutional Convention. It began with fifty-five delegates, but only forty-one remained until the conclusion. Three delegates refused to sign.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.81, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f

31.  What city was the first capital of United States?
Philadelphia was the first capital of the United States, from 1774-1776.

Source: Welcomat 7/10/91
32.  Where was the Centennial Exhibition held?

The Centennial Exhibition was the International Exhibition which was held in Fairmount Pak in Philadelphia. It opened on May 10, 1876 and was host to 9,010,916 visitors. It closed on November 10, 1876.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.125, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

33.  Where was the first American zoo established?

The first zoo in U.S. was the Philadelphia Zoological Garden in Philadelphia. It was under the management of the Zoological Society of Philadelphia. The garden was opened to the public on July 1, 1874.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.15, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

34.  Where and when was the first medical school established in the United States?

The first Medical College in the United States was the College of the Philadelphia Department of Medicine, now the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, which was established in Philadelphia on May 3, 1765.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.191, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

35.  Where and when were the first meetings of Congress held?

The first session of Congress to meet in Philadelphia was the third session of the First Congress which was held from December 6, 1790 to March 3, 1791. Congress continued to meet in Philadelphia until May 14, 1800, the last day of the first session of the Sixth Congress.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.79, Steven Anzovin, 973 An99f

36.  Where and when was the first flower show held in the United States?

The first flower show was held in June 1829 in Masonic Hall on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. It was sponsored by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.20-21, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P

37.  Where was the first successful American-made locomotive built?
The first American-made locomotive was built in Philadelphia in 1832 by Matthias Baldwin, who started the Baldwin Locomotive Works.

Source: Welcomat 7/10/91
38.  Where was the first bank of United States established?

The first Bank of the United States was sponsored by the Federalist Party and was chartered in Philadelphia on February 25, 1791.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.245, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

39.  Where was the first chartered American fire insurance company formed?

The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Houses from Loss by Fire was formed in 1752 in Philadelphia. It received its charter on February 20, 1768.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.306, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

40.  Where did the first United States Supreme Court sit?

The first U.S. Supreme Court sat in Philadelphia at 5th and Chestnut Sts. before it was moved to New York.

41.  Where and when was the first hospital in the United States founded?

The first hospital in the United States was the Pennsylvania Hospital of Philadelphia. The permanent building opened on February 11, 1752. This was also the first hospital to give free treatment to the poor and offer humane treatment to the insane.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.334-335, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

42.  Where and when was the first American university (as opposed to college) founded?

The first legally designated University was the University of the State of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. The original name of the institution was the College of Philadelphia. It was designated a university on November 27, 1779. Since 1791 it has been called the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.172, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

43.  Who was the first child born of English parents in Philadelphia after its founding?

John Kay was the first child born in Philadelphia after its founding. He was born in 1682 at "Pennypot Landing", a cave on the northeast corner of Vine and Water.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.284, 917.481 B87 1976

44.  Where was the first free medical dispensary in the United States founded?
The Philadelphia Dispensary was founded in Philadelphia on April 12, 1786 by Bishop William White.

Source: Welcomat 7/10/91
45.  Where was the first women's medical school in the world founded?

The Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia was founded in 1850. It changed its name to Woman's Medical College in 1867, and to the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1970.



Source: Welcomat 7/10/91
46.  Where was the first or second daily newspaper in the United States published?
The first or second daily newspaper in the United States, the Philadelphia Packet and Daily Advertiser, was published in Philadelphia. It first appeared as a daily on Sept. 21, 1784.

Source: Inge. Handbook of American Popular Culture. 1981, p.2.
47.  Where and when was the first art school in the United States founded?
The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1805 in Philadelphia.

Source: Welcomat 7/10/91
48.  Where and when was the first national scientific society founded in the United States?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science was organized September 20, 1848 in Philadelphia.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.502, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

49.  Where and when was the first subscription, or social, library in the United States founded?
The Library Company of Philadelphia is the first subscription, or social, library. It was founded in 1731 in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin and his friends.

Source: American Libraries Before 1876, 2000, p. 22, Haynes McMullen, 027.073 M229a
50.  Where was the first abolition society formed?

The Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was formed on April 14, 1775 in Philadelphia. The society was incorporated in 1789 as the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery and for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage and for Improving the Condition of the African Race.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.110, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

51.  Where was the first turnpike in the United States?

The Lancaster turnpike was the first macadam road. It was 62 miles long and connected Philadelphia and Lancaster. Work began in 1793, and it was completed in December 1795.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.133, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P, and the PA Turnpike Website

52.  In what city was America's first sugar refinery?

The first sugar refinery was built in Philadelphia in 1783. It was located around 3rd and Vine Streets.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.107, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P

53.  Where did the first public demonstration of the telephone occur?
The first public telephone demonstration was in Philadelphia at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. It later traveled as part of the "America's Smithsonian 150th" anniversary exhibition.

Source: Welcomat 7/10/91/// Phila CultureFest Trivia Quiz
54.  How was the first electric cooking done?
In 1749 Benjamin Franklin prepared a picnic along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, by killing a turkey with an electric shock and roasting it with the help of electricity.

Source: Famous First Facts, 1997, p. 218, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132f
55.  Where and when was the first United States Naval Yard established?
The first U.S. Naval Yard was established in Philadelphia at Federal Street and the Delaware River in 1801. Before 1801 work had been done there for the government, but only in 1801 was it made a permanent drydock for the Navy.

Source: Welcomat 7/10/96
56.  Where was the first animated picture demonstrated before an audience?

The first animated photograph projection before a theater audience was shown on February 5, 1870 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia. Henry Renno Heyl used his phasmatrope, a converted projecting lantern in front of which was a revolving disc containing sixteen openings near the edge on which photographic plates were placed.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.391, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

57.  When and where was the first talking motion picture shown in Philadelphia?
The first full-length, all-talking picture was Warner Brothers' "Lights of New York," shown in Philadelphia at the Stanley Theater during the week of Aug. 20, 1928.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 11/8/47
58.  Which was the first Catholic church built specifically for a Chinese congregation in the United States?
Holy Redeemer at 10th & Vine Sts., Philadelphia was the first Roman Catholic church and school built specifically for a Chinese congregation in the United States. It was built in 1941.

Source: Phila. Daily News, 7/13/92
59.  Who sponsored the first Miss Pennsylvania beauty pageant?
The Altoona Jaycees and the Altoona-Blair County Chamber of Commerce sponsored the first Miss Pennsylvania beauty pageant.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 6/13/87
60.  When and where was the first steam-powered icebreaker in the world built?
The first steam-powered icebreaker was built in 1837 in Philadelphia, to keep traffic moving on the Delaware River. It was christened "City Ice boat No. 1".

Source: Phila. Daily News, 7/13/92
61.  Franklin published what ethnic newspaper, the first of its kind in British America?
The "Philadelphische Zeitung", a German newspaper, was published by Benjamin Franklin on May 6, 1732.

Source: Famous First Facts, 1997, p. 402, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132f
62.  Where did George Washington spend his first night as President?
He spent it in Frankford, now a neighborhood of Philadelphia.

Source: WPEN radio trivia, 7/1/85
63.  Who was the first Philadelphia police officer to lose his life in the line of duty in the 20th Century?
Officer John Donovan, who was shot and killed by Samuel Archer on Sept. 23, 1903.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 6/10/86
64.  Where and when did William Penn first arrive in Philadelphia?
William Penn disembarked from the Welcome on October 28th, 1682, at what the Lenni Lenape called Coaquannock, and is now considered Front and Dock Streets.

Source: Philadelphia: The Fabulous City of Firsts, 1976, p.2, G. Don Fairbairn, 974.81 F15p
65.  Who was Philadelphia's first regular African American weeknight television news anchor?
That would be Jack Jones, who in 1972 took over WCAU's evening newscast. In 1976 he moved to KYW-TV and then in 1979 to Chicago and WLS-TV. In 1984 he returned to KYW-TV where he stayed until his death in 1991 from pancreatic cancer.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 03/06/91
66.  What were some of the items on exhibit at the Centennial Exhibition?
Among the mechanical devices were typewriters, electric lamps, the Corliss Steam Engine , which provided power for the Exhibition, and Alexander Graham Bell's invention, which he publicly demonstrated for the first time, the telephone.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.29, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
67.  Where did the ice cream soda originate?

Ice cream soda is supposed to have been introduced by Robert M. Green in Philadelphia, PA, who added ice cream to plain soda water. The first demonstration of this beverage was made at the Semi-Centennial Celebration at the Franklin Institute in the summer of 1874.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.253, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

68.  When did the first ferry service connect Camden with Philadelphia?
The first ferry to connect Camden and Philadelphia ran in 1681.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 11/3/97
69.  When was a United States Flag first flown on a warship?
The first United States flag was flown in 1775 by the Alfred, which was built in Philadelphia.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 11/03/99
70.  What two Philadelphians first put toilet paper on rolls?
Brothers E. Irvine and Clarence Scott invented the roll of toilet paper in 1879.

Source: Temple Review, Spring 1991, p.24.
71.  Where is the oldest unaltered Lutheran church in the United States?
The oldest unaltered Lutheran Church in the United States is the Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1743.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.95, 917.481 B87 1976
72.  What is the Wistar Institute, and where is it located?

The Wistar Institute is the first biological research institute in the United States, which was founded in 1891. It is currently located at 3601 Spruce Street in Philadelphia.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.112, 917.481 B87 1976. See also the Wistar Institute website.

73.  What was the first mill on the Wissahickon Creek?
The Wissahickon Mill was built at the mouth of the Wissahickon in 1686.

Source: Klein. Fairmount Park. 1974, p.118.
74.  When did the United States Government first issue legal paper money?
In 1862 the Government issued demand notes that were nicknamed greenbacks. $5, $10 and $20 bills were issued.

Source: Fischer. Fast Answers to Common Questions. N.D., p.54.
75.  Who was the first mayor of Philadelphia?

The first mayor of Philadelphia was Humphrey Morrey who held the office when William Penn erected the Town and Borough of Philadelphia into a City by his charter of 1691. It is unknown how long he remained Mayor; however, it is not unlikely he held the office until 1701.

Source: Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, 1932, v.3, p.879, Joseph Jackson, 974.81 J13

76.  Who was the first mayor of Philadelphia to be directly elected by the people of this city?
The first directly elected Mayor of Philadelphia was John Swift for his second term in 1840. In the 1839 Act of June 21 the right was given to the people to elect the Mayor which previously had been chosen by the Common Council.

Source: Encyclopedia of Philadelphia, 1932, v.3, p.881, Joseph Jackson, 974.81 J13
77.  Where was the first Masonic magazine printed in the United States? ?

The Free-Masons Magazine was published in Philadelphia in April 1811. It was edited by George Richards.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.322, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

78.  Where did the United States first make coins?

The first coins made by the United States Mint in Philadelphia were one-cent and half-cent copper coins. They were authorized by Congress on April 2, 1792 and delivered to the treasurer in 1793.

Source: Famous First Facts About American Politics, 2001, p.115, Steven Anzovin, 973.03 D561o2

79.  Why is Benjamin Towne's short-lived "Pennsylvannia Evening Post"(1783-4) important to the history of American journalism?
This Philadelphia-based newspaper was the first daily in the United States.

Source: Inge. Handbook of American Popular Culture. 1981, p.3-234.
80.  When was the first parochial school opened in Philadelphia?
The Roman Catholic Church of St. Mary's opened a parochial school in 1781, followed by Holy Trinity Church in 1784.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p. 291
81.  Where in the United States was the first Parochial School System founded?
John Neumann, Bishop of Philadelphia, started the first such system in the United States in 1852. During his tenure he built 80 schools as well as starting a central Diocesan Board of Education,

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin almanac, 1976, p. 291.
82.  What were Neil Armstrong's first words as he stepped upon the moon?

He said "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."



Source: Gatland. Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space Technology. 1989, p. 171.
83.  In what state was the first oil well in the United States?
It was in Titusville, Pennsylvania, where in August of 1859 a drill went down approx. 70 feet and hit oil.

Source: Fischer. Fast Answers to Common Questions. N.D., p.543.
84.  Where is the birthplace of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States?
At Christ Church in Philadelphia, between 1785 and 1789, the Episcopal Church in the United States was established. In 1789 the first meeting of the House of Bishops was held at Christ Church.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.293
85.  How did the first Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, William White, serve his country?
During the Revolutionary period, William White served as Chaplain to both the Continental Congress and to the United States Senate. He is buried in the Chancel of Christ Church.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.293
86.  Where did Europeans first settle in Philadelphia?
The Swedes, who settled this area before Penn started his colony, settled in what they called Wiccaco, making it the oldest part of Philadelphia. Today, we think of it as Southwark in South Philadelphia.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p. 295
87.  When was the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence?
It was first read near what is now Independence Square and was then the Univ. of Penn., by John Nixon on July 8th, 1776. The Liberty Bell was rung, as a crowd of 8,000 went wild.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.1, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P
88.  Where is Betsy Ross, thought to be the maker of the first American flag, buried?

Betsy Ross, or Elizabeth Griscom Ross Ashburn Claypoole (1752-1836), was first buried in the Free Quaker Cemetery at 5th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia. When it was abandoned in 1857, she and her third husband were moved to Mount Moriah Cemetery at 62nd and Kingsessing Avenue. Near the end of 1975 her descendents got a court order to have her disinterred and reburied in the garden of her home at 239 Arch Street.

Source: Resting Places: The Burial Sites of Over 7,000 Famous Persons, 2001, p.319, Scott Wilson, 920.02 W697R

89.  In what city was the first national convention of the Republican political party held?
They held it in Philadelphia in 1856 at the Musical Fund Hall. There the Republicans nominated John Fremont and adopted a party platform.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.7, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P
90.  In what city was the first Women's Declaration of Rights unveiled?
Susan B. Anthony presented it in 1876 in Philadelphia. In order to call attention to it, she led a march of various suffrage organizations to the Centennial Exhibition, which was being held at the same time.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.8-9, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P
91.  What was the first American publishing house dedicated to Jewish concerns, both theological and secular?

The Jewish Publication Society of America was founded in 1845 in Philadelphia by Judge Mayer Sulzberger, Isaac Leeser, and Abraham Hart.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.73, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P

92.  Where was the first American eye hospital founded?

In 1832, Willis Eye Hospital was founded in Philadelphia. It was the first ophthalmology hospital in the country. Willis Eye Hospital played an important role in establishing ophthalmology as a separate medical specialty.

Source: Philly Firsts: The Famous, Infamous, and Quirky of the City of Brotherly Love, 1999, p.101, Janice L. Booker, 974.811 B644P

93.  Where was the first documented botanical garden in the United States?
It was naturalist John Bartram's, started in Philadelphia in about 1728. His house, with a garden, still stands at 54th Street and Eastwick Avenue.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.330
94.  What is the classical orchestra which has been the first to have been featured on a sponsored radio show, shown in a motion picture, and seen on television?

On October 6, 1929 the Philadelphia Orchestra was the first orchestra to make a commercially sponsored radio broadcast. Leopold Stokowski was the conductor. Stokowski was also the conductor in 1937 when the orchestra performed for the motion picture The Big Broadcast. On March 21, 1948 Eugene Ormandy conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra on television. The broadcast on CBS was the first symphonic telecast.

Source: Those Fabulous Philadelphians: The Life and Times of a Great Orchestra, 1969, p.68, 74-75,146-147, Herbert Kupferberg, 785 P53ZK

95.  Where in The United States was the first church for Italian-speaking people founded?
It was founded in South Philadelphia in 1852 by Bishop John Newmann, and is called St. Magdalene de Pazzi Roman Catholic Church.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p 392
96.  Where was the first craft labor union in the United States?
It was in Philadelphia, where in 1792 the shoemakers organized. In 1774 they reformed as the Federal Society of Journey Cordwainers, striking in 1799 for 10 weeks and negotiating the first labor contract with an employer.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.411
97.  Where is the first stone arch bridge built in the United States?
The Frankford Ave. Bridge over Pennypacker Creek was built in 1697 by the people of Holmesburg. Part of the King's Highway between Philadelphia and New York, in 1803 it became part of the Frankford-Bristol Turnpike.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.419
98.  When was the first savings bank founded in the United States?

The first Savings Bank to receive money on a deposit was the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society in Philadelphia. It opened for business on December 2, 1816 and was chartered February 25, 1819.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.245, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

99.  What was the first modern skyscraper in Philadelphia?
It was the PSFS Building, designed by George Howe and William Lecaze, and then constructed by the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society in 1932. Standing at 12th and Market Streets, it rose 36-stories high, and was topped by a lighted sign reading PSFS.

Source: Philadelphia Inq., 12/12/1992
100.  What cemetery in Philadelphia was declared a National Historic Landmark?

Laurel Hill Cemetery, located at 3822 Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia, was place on the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark on August 5, 1998 thanks to the work of the Friends of the Laurel Hill Cemetery. The first American rural cemetery was founded in Cambridge, MA in 1831, and shortly after John Jay Smith and a group of investors wanted Philadelphia to have the second rural cemetery in America. They acquired land about four miles north of Philadelphia overlooking the Schuylkil River. In 1836 the group organized the Laurel Hill Cemetery Company, and John Notman was the designer of the cemetery. The Laurel Hill Cemetery now covers 95 acres.

Source: Philadelphia Graveyards and Cemeteries, 2003, p.21-23, Thomas H. Keels, 974.802 K248P, See also the National Historic Landmarks website.

101.  What was the first Jewish congregation in Philadelphia?

It is believed that in the 1740s a small group of Jews began holding services in a house on Sterling Alley. Mikveh Israel was the first synagogue, and construction began in 1782. It was originally supposed to have been built on Sterling Alley, but protests from the Protestant community lead the Jewish leaders to build the synagogue on Cherry Alley (North of High Street) between Third and Fourth Streets. Today it is located between Arch and Market at Fourth Street.

Source: Jewish Life in Philadelphia 1830-1940, 1983, p.291-292, Murray Friedman, 974.811 J556L, and The Mikveh Israel website.

102.  What was the first instance of organized public transportation in Philadelphia?
It was the stagecoach line run by James Boxall,which started in 1831 and ran along Chestnut Street between 2nd and 16th Streets.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.427
103.  What is Christopher Sauer known for?

Christopher Sauer was originally a clockmaker, but in 1743 he opened a printing business in Germantown. He produced the first American German-language Bible.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.49, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA

104.  What was the first Shot Tower in the United States called, and why was it built?

The Sparks Shot Tower was built to fill a need for lead shot created by the 1807 Embargo Act. In 1808 it began manufacturing lead shot for sporting purposes, and during the war of 1812 they began supplying the military with lead shot. The process of manufacturing shot consisted of molten lead was poured through screens at the top of the tower. As the drops of hot lead fell they were cooled and hardened into pellets. They went through the final cooling process in vats of water at the base of the tower. When the shot was cooled it was then screened, polished, sorted, and packed in the main building.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.1:6, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

105.  What was the first ship built completely from scratch at the United States Naval Yard in South Philadelphia?

The first ship built at the United States Naval Yard was the U.S.S. Franklin. It weighed 2,257 tons loaded with 74 guns. It launched in 1815

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.1:8, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

106.  Who were the first Europeans to settle in Germantown?

Francis Daniel Pastorius, a wealthy aristocrat and lawyer, secured 5,700 acres six miles northwest of Philadelphia from William Penn. Pastorius and thirteen Quaker families from Krefeld, Germany settled along what would become known as Germantown Avenue.

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

107.  Who was the first African American to attend the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France?
When Julian Abele ended his university studies, Horace Trumbauer, head of an architectural firm in Philadelphia, payed for Abele to attend the prestigious school for four years. Abele then became chief designer at Trumbauer's firm.

Source: Philadelphia Inq., 03/27/1982
108.  In Philadelphia, where is there a statue to the first American to die for our independence?
In front of the African American Museum in Philadelphia is a statue of Crispus Attucks by Robert Beauchamps. Attucks was an escaped slave who led protesters against British troops in Boston.

Source: Bach. Public Art in Philadelphia. 1992, p.44.
109.  At the Centennial Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia, what neoclassical work was exhibited by Edmonia Lewis, the first female sculptor of African and Native American descent in America?
Edmonia Lewis's statue "The Dying Cleopatra" was exhibited and lauded for its humanistic realism.

Source: Public Art in Philadelphia, 1992, p.49, Penny Balkin Bach, 709.7481 B122P
110.  When was Philadelphia founded?
The city of Philadelphia was designed by William Penn (1644-1718) and first settled in 1681. Penn envisioned "a greene Country Towne, which will never be burnt, and allways be wholesome" that would prosper peacefully alongside native inhabitants and where all religions would be accepted.

Source: Philadelphia; A 300-Year History. Edited by Russell F. Weigley. New York : W.W. Norton, 1982. Pg. 1. 974.811 P53WE
111.  What early role did Philadelphia play in the fight for human rights?

Philadelphia was the birthplace of the abolition movement. On February 18, 1688, Quakers in Germantown protested "traffic in the bodies of men." In 1775, the nation's first antislavery organization, the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, and the Relief of Free Negroes, was founded with Benjamin Franklin as its president.

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

112.  Which Philadelphia advertising school was the first of its kind the United States?

The Charles Morris Price School, founded in 1924 by members of the Poor Richard Club.

Source: Lutz, Jack. The Poor Richard Club. Philadelphia: Poor Richard Club, 1953. pp. 65-67. 659.1 P792L

113.  What was the original Native American name for the site where Philadelphia was founded?
The original site was a camp called Coaquannock by the Lenni Lenapes, the Native American tribe indigenous to the area. It means "the grove of tall pines."

Source: Donehoo, Dr. George. A History of the Indian Villages and Place Names in Pennsylvania. Harrisburg: Telegraph Press, 1928. p. 30 974.8 D716I
114.  What are some of the popular magazines of the 19th-century which were published in Philadelphia?
They include Godey's Lady's Book, Graham's Magazine, Salmugundi, Sartain's Union Magazine, Ladies Home Journal and the Saturday Evening Post.

Source: Bussy, R. Kenneth. Philadelphia's Publishers and Printers: An Informal History. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Book Clinic, 1976. 070.509748 P53p