Points of Pride

Photo © the Chester County Conference and Visitors Bureau

The King of Prussia Mall is the largest on the East Coast.
King of Prussia Mall officially opened in 1963. The shopping complex houses three million square feet of retail space. The mall is divided into three main areas: The Plaza has 250 stores, The Court has 125 and The Pavilion has 11—for a grand total of nearly 400 stores and restaurants.

City Hall is the world’s tallest masonry building without a steel frame.
The building was designed by Scottish-born architect John McArthur, Jr. in 1901. With almost 700 rooms, City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States and one of the largest in the world. It remained the tallest building in Philadelphia until the construction of One Liberty Place in 1987.

The Phillie Phanatic was inducted into the Mascot Hall of Fame in 2005.
The most recognizable mascot in American sports, the Phillie Phanatic first appeared in a 1978 game against the Chicago Cubs. David Raymond played the Phanatic for 15 years, until 1993. Now, Tom Burgoyne is the man behind the green, fuzzy mask.

Bubble gum was created in Philadelphia.
Created in 1928 by Walter Diemer while experimenting with new gum recipes, bubble gum was less sticky and more flexible than regular chewing gum. The original bubble gum was pink because that was the only dye Diemer had at the time.

Photo © R. Kennedy for GPTMC

The Liberty Bell chimes in E-flat.
The bell was originally placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall). It’s legendary crack appeared after its first ring. Following its flawed start, the bell became a symbol of freedom throughout the world.

The barcode was invented by Dr. Joseph Woodland, a Drexel grad, in 1948.
Barcodes were first used to label railroad cars. The first product known to have carried a barcode was Wrigley’s Chewing Gum in 1974, and supermarkets still use the extremely successful system.

The first stock exchange in the country was the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, founded in 1790.
Originally located at the Merchant’s Coffee House, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange was first named the “Board of Brokers.” Over the years, the exchange has held various titles and has been housed in various buildings around the Philadelphia area.

The Philly cheesesteak is believed to have been invented by Pat Olivieri in the early 1930s.
Fist sold at a hot dog stand near South Philadelphia’s Italian Market, the “cheesesteak” is Philly’s now-famous sandwich, enjoyed by both locals and visitors at Pat’s King of Steaks and countless other shops around the region. Originally lacking cheese and fried onions, today’s cheesesteak comes “wit” or “wit-out” onions and with a choice of Cheez Whiz, American or provolone.

“American Bandstand” was originally filmed in Philadelphia.
Bob Horn hosted the original “Bandstand,” which premiered in 1952. It featured mainly short musical films before switching to the dance segments that propelled it to a pop culture icon. In 1956, Dick Clark took over as host

Photo © G. Widman for GPTMC

Until 1987, no Philadelphia building was taller than the statue of William Penn on top of City Hall.
In 1987, One Liberty Place shattered the “gentlemen’s agreement” that no building exceed William Penn’s hat, resulting the fabled “Curse of William Penn”—no Philadelphia team would win a sports championship. In 2008, the 57-story Comcast Center placed a miniature William Penn on its roof, and the Phillies won the World Series.

More than 100 colleges and universities participate in the Dad Vail Regatta each year.
The largest intercollegiate rowing event in the U.S. has been held annually on the Schuylkill River since 1953. The regatta was named after Harry Emerson “Dad” Vail for his years of coaching at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

There are four Mummer divisions: Fancies, Comics, String Bands and Fancy Brigades.
On January 1, 1901, the city’s first official Mummers Parade took place. The annual New Year’s Day tradition traces its routes back to Ancient Rome’s festival known as Saturnalias, during which Latin laborers marched in masks throughout the day.

SEPTA considered the best large transit system in North America.
In 1996 and again in 2012, Washington D.C.’s American Public Transportation Association (APTA) named Philly’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) the best largest transit system in North America, based on a statistical anaylsis (ridership data, on-time performance, cost effectiveness, etc.), customer service surveys, environmental standards and financial management. SEPTA wins this honor out of 60 similar transit agencies in the U.S.