Jan 25, 2005 —
In the 19th century, textiles and clothing manufacturing, especially wool and silk, grew from a base in Philadelphia, so that the state led the nation in production. By the 1920s, competition from southern and foreign competition made inroads into Pennsylvania’s leadership in U.S. textile production.
The anthracite strike in Northeastern Pennsylvania, in which President Theodore Roosevelt intervened, sets the pattern for nonviolent arbitration in labor relations. Later, John L. Lewis led the United Mine Workers union for many years, and membership spread in the bituminous areas.
The Hershey Chocolate factory and the incorporation of the H.J. Heinz Co. come on the stateÕs industrial scene. Henry J. Heinz, known as “The Good Provider,” leads a movement for model factories based on the principle that workers deserve clean, pleasant working conditions with some chance for self-improvement.
The first all-motion-picture theater in the world opens on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh. The term “nickelodeon” is coined there. The Warner brothers began their careers in western Pennsylvania.
The state dedicates a new capitol, which stands today.
The first statewide farm products show meets in Harrisburg. The State Farm Show became an annual event in 1917, and the present Farm Show Building was completed in 1931.
Mary Cassatt is the only woman whose artwork is exhibited when the works of the 10 greatest American painters are shown in the Chicago Century of Progress Art Exhibition. Born in Allegheny City, she received her only formal training at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
KDKA in Pittsburgh becomes the first daily commercial radio broadcast station in the world
The first radio church service broadcast airs on KDKA. Herbert Hoover delivers the first radio public address at the Duquesne Club in Pittsburgh.
The Edmonds Act establishes minimum salary standards and qualifications for teachers and county superintendents, centralizes teacher certification, sets up a state Council of Education, provides for consolidation of rural schools and increases state aid to education.
The Valley Forge Historical Society takes ownership of Hanging Rock, a Revolutionary War landmark located in Upper Merion Township. Gen. George Washington, according to legend, stood on it to address his troops in the freezing winter of 1777-78. The rock has drawn the scrutiny of roadbuilders any time proposals arise to improve Route 320. It most recently escaped the dynamite in 1997.
From this decade until the late 1950s, audiences throughout the country enjoy the romantic musical drama of two native Pennsylvanians, singers Jeannette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
The state Legislature declares the hemlock the state tree.
The ruffed grouse becomes the state game bird by act of the state Legislature. The Pennsylvania ruffed grouse, sometimes called the partridge, is distinguished by its plump body, feathered legs, and mottled reddish-brown color.
Gov. Gifford Pinchot calls a special legislative session to explore ways to provide for the poor during the Great Depression.
The mountain laurel becomes the state flower, as enacted by the state Legislature. The flower is in full bloom in mid-June, when woodlands are filled with its pink appearance.
President Roosevelt pushes more “Second New Deal” legislation through Congress: Wagner Act protecting unions, Social Security Act and “soak-the-rich” Wealth Tax Act. Alcoholics Anonymous is founded.
Jesse Owens wins four gold medals at “Nazi Olympics” in Berlin.
The German dirigible Hindenburg explodes and burns in Lakehurst, N.J.
Starting this decade and continuing to the next, band leaders Fred Waring and Les Brown, both Pennsylvanians, distinguish themselves.
The first superhighway in the United States, the Pennsylvania Turnpike, opens.
In World War II, 1.25 million Pennsylvanians, one-eighth of the population, serve in the armed forces. One hundred and thirty generals and admirals hailed from Pennsylvania. In total war production, Pennsylvania ranked sixth among the states, in shipbuilding fifth, and in ordnance fourth. It furnished almost one-third of the nation’s steel. More Medals of Honor were awarded to Pennsylvanians than to citizens of any other state. 1949:
Larry Hatch founds the first Eat ‘n’ Park restaurant. Hatch’s eateries transitioned from car-hop restaurants in 1971 and started building large restaurants with indoor eating facilities. He was able to patent his restaurant’s name by reversing the name of Park and Eat restaurants.
Pennsylvania falls to third in state population. It had long been the second most populous state, behind New York, until growth in California edged it out.
WQED-TV in Pittsburgh begins broadcasting, pioneering community-sponsored educational television.
Pennsylvania takes advantage of Federal Highway Act funds to build an interstate system that totaled more than 1,567 miles in 1995. Interstate 80, known as the Keystone Shortway, is one of the roads in the system at 313 miles long and traversing 15 northern Pennsylvania counties.
The nation’s first nuclear power reactor for civilian purposes starts producing electricity at Shippingport.
The state General Assembly enacts the whitetail deer as the official state animal.
The last convict is executed in Pennsylvania until 1995. That year, the state carried out two executions. In 1997, 210 prisoners carrying death sentences were incarcerated in state prisons.
Barbara Weisberger founds the Pennsylvania Ballet. The ballet later gained an international reputation.
More than 500 people are injured during a three-day race riot in Philadelphia.
The state Legislature declares the great dane the state dog.
Philadelphian Kathryn O’Hay Granahan, first female member of Congress from Pennsylvania, leaves office as U.S. treasurer after a four-year stint.
A Constitutional Convention meeting through 1968 revises the 1873 Constitution. A provision prohibits the denial to any person of his or her civil rights. In 1971 the voters amended the state constitution to guarantee that equal rights could not be denied because of sex.
The number of school districts falls from more than 2,000 after World War II to 742.
The Governor’s Residence along Harrisburg’s Front Street is built. Four years later, it was damaged during flooding caused by Tropical Storm Agnes.
The state Legislature names the brook trout the state fish.
Penn Central Railroad goes bankrupt the same year the federal government creates Amtrak, a service system subsidizing passenger service on the major rail lines of the northeastern states. The federal government took control of the major freight lines in 1974 by the formation of Conrail. Conrail subsidized 80 percent of the freight lines in Pennsylvania.
The state adopts two revenue builders: an individual income tax and a lottery designed to alleviate the property tax load for the elderly.
Tropical Storm Agnes devastates the state causing death and billions in damage.
U.S. coal production rises 67 percent from this date through 1995. Pennsylvania’s output dropped by more than 17 percent.
The firefly is the state insect, as enacted by the state Legislature. An act in 1988 gave the particular species of firefly “Poturis PennsylvanicaDe Geer” official honors.
By the time Saigon falls, 1,449 Pennsylvanians lose their lives. The Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., lists these state names among the 58,715 who died as a result of combat.
Fort Indiantown Gap is pressed into service as a processing center for 19,000 Cuban refugees.
Conrail begins to operate profitably. The federal government sold it to private stockholders in 1987.
Unemployment reaches more than 11 percent statewide as a number of steel plants close.
Milk becomes the official state beverage.
John Updike wins the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1982 for “Rabbit Is Rich.”
Bill Cosby, a Philadelphia native, receives the first Governor’s Distinguished Pennsylvania Artist Award. Among the famous Pennsylvanians who starred in the movies were W.C. Fields, Gene Kelly, Joe E. Brown, Richard Gere, Tom Mix, Jack Palance and James Stewart.
Scientists discover that the impact of radon gas on homes built along the Reading Prong can equal that in a uranium mine.
The anthracite region gets new life as several new cogeneration plants begin operations, burning culm from coal mines.
Pennsylvania stands 15th among the states in the number of black-owned businesses, although among the nation’s cities, Philadelphia stands sixth. Total sales receipts of the state’s black-owned businesses is eighth largest. Pennsylvania is ninth in the number of businesses owned by people of Hispanic origin.
More than 700,000 gallons of diesel fuel from a storage tank spills into the Monongahela River, disrupting water supplies in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.
U.S. Sen. John Heinz dies in a plane crash. Democrat Harris Wofford is elected.
An Iraqi scud missile attack in the Persian Gulf War kills 13 members of the 14th Quartermaster Detachment, U.S. Army Reserves, a state unit.
Pennsylvania’s nine nuclear plants produce more than one-third of the state’s electricity, placing it second to Illinois in total nuclear produced electricity.
Pennsylvania ranks eighth in highway mileage, 737 miles behind seventh-ranked Michigan.
Pennsylvania ranks among the top 10 states in such varied products as milk, poultry, eggs, ice cream, peaches, apples, grapes, cherries, sweet corn, potatoes, mushrooms, hay, cheese, maple syrup, cabbage, sugar snap beans, Christmas trees and floriculture crops, pretzels, potato chips, sausage, wheat flour, and bakery products. The state is 19th in the nation in farm income, although in farm acreage it is 37th. In livestock Pennsylvania is ranked fifth in milk cows, 17th in total cattle, 15th in hogs, and 24th in sheep.
The state ranks first or second in the nation in child support collections, and a new law is intended to crack down further on “deadbeat parents.”
About 11,000 teaching candidates vie for 2,000 vacancies in the state, but many rural districts face teacher shortages in science and math.