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aboutPhiladelphia Travel Guide

May 11, 2018
by Logan Hunt

Intriguing Facts About Fun Philly

In our history books, the fact that the city of Brotherly Love was the site of the Declaration of Independence; it’s where you are encouraged to ditch your diet and dig into delicious Philly cheesesteaks; and it also played a pivotal role in the American Revolution, was a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the country...but these are all common knowledge. Having been one of the country’s capitals, it’s had its run as a headliner, before Washington D.C. took over. Suffice to say, there is a lot more from where that came from. 

Being the city where many of the country’s firsts came about, the can-do spirit is still very much rife and alive. The spirit of intense excitement of being able to forge ahead in multiple industries and being written repeatedly on pages of our history books has created a society of influencers. Philly handily beat out New York City and Columbus, OK, for the hosting of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, while Republicans will be holding their nominating convention in Cleveland. With its history, knowing nuggets of its decorous past will inevitably lead down the road of politics.

Even with that said, there’s really more to Philly than cheesesteaks, politics, and history. So, without further ado, here are some compelling facts about the city to tickle your noggin. 

1. The Birth of the Giant Brain in the 1940s

We’re going on out a limb to say that, apart from the brains in the humans who helped come up with ENIAC, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, the Giant Brain, was the closest we came to an automated system at the time. It was also the first fully electronic computer in the world when it was designed and built at the University of Pennsylvania. The endeavor received enthusiastic response and support from the United States Army which started using the computers right off the bat during WWII. Reputed to be 1,000 faster than any other computers known to man at that time, it was a natural winner.

It was smart enough to out-calculate the best of human beings and was said to be Turing-complete. Just by inputting data (read: numbers), it helped in artillery firing tables for the Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory and was included in the study of thermonuclear weaponry.

You won’t find the computer around anymore, that goes without saying, what with a smartphone in everyone’s hands, we literally have something that outperforms this relic device. But it’s interesting to explore what was successfully salvaged of ENIAC. Visitors who are into computing and science will find original bits and pieces of it at The School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania, National Museum of American History in Washington D.C., The Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, The United States Army Ordnance Museum in Maryland, The U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum in Fort Sill, The United States Military Academy at West Point in New York, and a little further away, in the London Science Museum
  • University of Pennsylvania
    Philadelphia, PA 19104
    (215) 898-5000
  • National Museum of American History
    1300 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20560
    (202) 633-1000
    info@si.edu
    www.americanhistory.si.edu
  • Computer History Museum
    1401 N Shoreline Blvd, Mountain View, CA 94043
    (650) 810-1010
    www.computerhistory.org
  • University of Michigan
    500 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
    (734) 764-1817
    www.umich.edu
  • U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum
    Corral Rd, Fort Sill, OK 73503
    (580) 442-1819
    www.sill-www.army.mil/famuseum
  • United States Military Academy
    Building 606, West Point, New York  10996
    (845) 938 4041
Liberty Bell grounds, Museum in Philadelphia - Google Maps


2. The Liberty Bell

New York has the Statue of Liberty, Philly’s got its iconic Liberty Bell (originally called the State House Bell). As broken as the bell is (it cracked for the first time when it JUST arrived in Philadelphia and has since been recast twice by named workmen, John Pass and John Stow - their names are on the historic bell itself), it STILL an iconic symbol of America’s independence and is a reminder of America’s immigration history

It has the words ‘Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof’ inscribed onto it and even as a tourist, there's a sort of camaraderie, a sense of brotherhood just by looking at it. The grammar Nazi in your group may gripe about an apparent ‘misspelling’ on it, naming Pennsylvania ‘Pensylvania’; but let’s be clear, it WAS the right way to spell the name of the State at the time, so, a spelling mistake it was/is not. 

The bell was rung to alert people to meetings and important announcements during the days before the internet and telephone. Sitting snugly in the midst of Independence Hall, it is one of the country’s top tourist attractions. Admission into the building is absolutely free of charge, but that could also account for the fact that people are encouraged to be there early if they disliked long lines. On top of that, expect to be frisked from top to bottom by diligent security personnel who are, understandably, carrying out their duties. It’s been reported that some queues can take you from half an hour to an hour. If you’re tight on time, the bell can still be viewed from the outside on the sidewalk without entering the museum, which is also visible at night inside its glass room.

Right outside, visitors can enjoy the serene cobblestone streets, saunter along the bustling Riverwalk a short walk away, ride The Duck tours, pop by the National of American Jewish History, or sign up for a tour on a Segway run by the Wheel Fun Rentals...the ball's in your court. In fact, if you spot a little cart selling cheesesteaks, grab it!


3. The City Hall’s Curse

It may sound like Old Wives’ Tale to some but the ‘curse of Billy Penn’ seems to hold water. For countless years, there was a secret handshake between establishments that there would be no other building in Philly that is taller than the City Hall. It was an agreement between gentlemen, agreed by the Philadelphia Art Commission.

So, when the One Liberty Place skyscraper was constructed, much to the chagrin of the locals and authorities involved, it was taller than the William Penn’s statue at City Hall. Thus, began the Curse of Billy Penn; this meant no Philly sports team would win a major championship ever again. Fact or folklore, the curse remained and saw the near-demise of countless professional sports teams based in Philadelphia.

It ended in 2008, a year after the famed and respected statue of William Penn was affixed to the final beam in 2007, making it taller than Comcast Center. In October 2008, the Philadelphia Phillies went on to cinch the 2008 World Series.
  • Philadelphia City Hall
    1401 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19102
    www.phila.gov
  • Liberty Place
    1650 Market St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 851-9000
    www.onelibertyplace.com
  • LOVE Park
    Arch St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
    (215) 686-1776
  • One Liberty Observation Deck
    1650 Market St #5700, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 561-3325
  • Rocky Statue
    2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130
    (215) 643-2858
  • Elfreth's Alley
    124-126 Elfreth's Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106
    (215) 627-8680
    www.elfrethsalley.org

🧀 ☺️ #LOVE #Philadelphia #Pennsylvania #TheRedChair

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4. The Stranger Side the Philly

The ‘Moon Tree’ is a result of 50 sycamore tree seedlings that went to the moon and back. The seedlings were then planted for the U.S. bicentennial after they made it back to earth by way of the Apollo 14 mission. This, however, is only skimming the tip of the iceberg as far as oddities are concerned in the city of Philly.

The Moon Tree in Philadelphia was planted in Washington Square Park and it thrived...until it started deteriorating. Officials wanted to maintain the historic feat and did it by ‘planting’ a clone, thanks to the help extended by Morris Arboretum. The tree was uprooted and its parts were turned into plaques around the park; the replica is a surefire reminder of the tree that went on an out-of-this-world trip.

And if that piques your interest in exploring the many different sides to Philadelphia...and life, in general, making a charter bus trip to Mutter Museum is a must. Here’s where oddities are taken to a whole new level. It features slices of Albert Einstein’s brain, parts of human faces, skeletal remains, a book bound by preserved human skin, a tumor removed from President Grover Cleveland’s jaw and bodily tissues from John Wilkes Booth’s vertebra. The museum is a part of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, so, their interest in these medical phenomena and unknown human conditions is absolutely reasonable. It has not veered too far off the rails from its original intention of exploring the reaches of biomedical research and education.
  • The Moon Tree, Washington Square Park
    W Washington Sq, Philadelphia, PA 19106
  • Mütter Museum
    3001, 19 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103, United States
    www.muttermuseum.org
  • Chima Steakhouse
    1901 John F Kennedy Blvd, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 525-3233
    www.chimasteakhouse.com
  • Mama's Vegetarian
    18 S 20th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 751-0477
  • Good Karma Cafe
    331 S 22nd St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 546-1479
    www.thegoodkarmacafe.com
  • La Colombe Coffee Roasters
    130 S 19th St, Philadelphia, PA 19103
    (215) 563-0860
    www.lacolombe.com

5. The World’s Most Euphoric Buffalo Wings Eating Contest

Phillies also created the world’s largest cheesesteak (measuring the length of an entire football field) in celebration of their Super Bowl win in 1988 during the Cheesesteak Festival; the cheesesteak and event attracted tens of thousands of people. Taking place at Lincoln Financial Field’s parking lot, it drew countless vendors, inspired a jaw-dropping eating contest, saw the emergence of a sandwich measuring about 480 feet (it broke world records), and if you’re a foodie, don’t miss the Wing Bowl event. As insane as it may sound, the camaraderie and jubilance are addictive. Regardless of your stand about food, you’ll find yourself cheering on the competitive eaters during the Buffalo Wing eating contest. It’s the biggest and most euphoric prelude to the Super Bowl in Philadelphia.

Be prepared to watch contestants devour hundreds of buffalo wings at Wells Fargo Center where there is a live broadcast of the event on the radio. The people who are there are either foodie fans, restauranteers scouting for their next competitive eater, curious tourists or people who just love the upbeat party atmosphere.
  • Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia
    3601 S Broad St, Philadelphia, PA 19148
    (215) 336-3600
    www.wellsfargocenterphilly.com
  • Lincoln Financial Field
    1 Lincoln Financial Field Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148
    (267) 570-4000
    www.lincolnfinancialfield.com
  • Xfinity Live! Philadelphia
    1100 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19148
    (267) 534-4264
    www.xfinitylive.com
  • American Swedish Historical Museum
    1900 Pattison Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19145
    (215) 389-1776
    www.americanswedish.org
  • FDR Skatepark
    Broad and Pattison Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19145
    (215) 685-0000

Bus Rentals Philadelphia is the One-Stop-Shop for All your Ground Transportation Needs

We are dedicated to serving you, ensuring that you’re getting the best deal in the market, making comparisons and helping you get to where you need to be at in a comfortable Philadelphia charter bus, coach or limousine. We are here to serve you. Our mission and vision have always been simple: to be the one-point contact for all your charter bus rental needs...not just Philadelphia, but also out of town, and nationwide! We want to serve you no matter where you are, and whatever time it is that is convenient for you. We offer you a personal account executive who will act as a contact for all your travel and transportation needs. So, if you have a day-trip, church outing, sporting event, city tour, corporate event, bachelor or bachelorette party, wedding, prom, or field trip coming up, we would like to be the charter bus company of choice. Wait no more! Give us a call at 1-800-304-1993 right now to get your quick charter bus quote or complete this simple contact us form and we’ll get back to you promptly with all the information that you need.

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