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Pennsylvania (US: /ˌpɛnsəlˈvniə/ (About this soundlisten) PEN-səl-VAY-nee-ə, elsewhere /-sɪlˈ-/ -⁠sil-; Pennsylvania German: Pennsilfaani), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a landlocked state spanning the Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern, and Appalachian regions of the United States. It shares borders with Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, and New Jersey to the east.

Of the 50 U.S. states, Pennsylvania is the 33rd-largest state by area, and the fifth-most populous, with over 13 million residents as of 2020; it is subsequently the ninth-most densely populated state. Nearly half the population is concentrated in the southeastern Delaware Valley, centered around the state's largest city, Philadelphia (6.25 million); another one-third live in Greater Pittsburgh (2.37 million) in the southwest. The state capital and 15th-largest city is Harrisburg; other major cities include Allentown, Scranton, Lancaster, and Erie.

Pennsylvania's geography is highly diverse; the Appalachian Mountains run through its center, while the Allegheny and Pocono Mountains span much of the northeast. Close to 60% of the state is forested. While it has only 140 miles (225 km) of waterfront, along Lake Erie and the Delaware River, Pennsylvania has more navigable rivers than any other state, including the Delaware, Ohio, Potomac, and Pine Creek. (Full article...)

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Oliver Christian Bosbyshell (January 3, 1839 – August 1, 1921) was Superintendent of the United States Mint at Philadelphia from 1889 to 1894. He also claimed to have been the first Union soldier wounded by enemy action in the Civil War, stating that he received a bruise on the forehead from an object thrown by a Confederate sympathizer while his unit was marching through Baltimore in April 1861.

Bosbyshell was born in Mississippi. His parents were of old Philadelphia stock, and he was raised in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. After briefly working on the railroad and then studying law, Bosbyshell enlisted in the Union cause on the outbreak of war. Following a brief period of service in the 25th Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment, he joined the 48th Pennsylvania, remaining in that regiment for three years. He saw action in such battles as Second Bull Run and Antietam. He rose to the rank of major and led his regiment, but was mustered out upon the expiration of his term of service in October 1864, having been refused a leave of absence. (Full article...)
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Larrys Creek and the Cogan House Covered Bridge in Cogan House Township, Pennsylvania
Larrys Creek and the Cogan House Covered Bridge in Cogan House Township, Pennsylvania

Larrys Creek is a 22.9-mile-long (36.9 km) tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River in Lycoming County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A part of the Chesapeake Bay drainage basin, its watershed drains 89.1 square miles (231 km2) in six townships and a borough. The creek flows south from the dissected Allegheny Plateau to the Ridge-and-valley Appalachians through sandstone, limestone, and shale from the Devonian, Mississippian, and Pennsylvanian periods.

The valley's first recorded inhabitants were the Susquehannocks, followed by the Lenape and other tribes. The Great Shamokin Path crossed the creek near its mouth, where Larry Burt, the first Euro-American settler and the man who gave the creek its present name, also lived by 1769. In the 19th century, the creek and its watershed were a center for logging and related industries, including 53 sawmills, grist mills, leather tanneries, coal and iron mines. A 1903 newspaper article claimed "No other stream in the country had so many mills in so small a territory". For transportation, a plank road ran along much of the creek for decades, and two "paper railroads" were planned, but never built. (Full article...)
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Credit: Nicholas T.
Rainbows and departing storm clouds over Minsi Lake in Northampton County.

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The Philadelphia Phillies' 2014 season was the 132nd in the history of the franchise. After a disappointing 2013, the Phillies entered the offseason with a strategy to reload rather than rebuild; they did not want to relinquish the opportunity to do well in 2014 in hopes of being competitive down the road. Commensurate with this strategy, among their key acquisitions were right fielder Marlon Byrd and starting pitcher A. J. Burnett. The Phillies began the season with new coaches (as Ryne Sandberg entered his first season as manager after taking over on an interim basis in August 2013) and new broadcasters; Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs, two members of the 2008 World Series squad, replaced Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews as analysts on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.

After offseason headlines indicated a tenuous relationship between Sandberg and shortstop Jimmy Rollins and controversy about draft picks who did not sign with the team, the season began auspiciously with an opening-day win; however, the Phillies then lost their next two games. April continued in that fashion; the team played .500 ball in their first 26 games, exceeding expectations. One commentator called them "pleasantly mediocre", despite a horrific performance from the bullpen. May was a frustrating month for the Phillies; failing to win games they were in a position to win, they posted an 11–16 record and a .230 team batting average (the worst in the National League). June was almost as bad; although the team had 12 wins and 17 losses, the bullpen improved to one of the best in the NL. In the 2014 Major League Baseball draft that month the Phillies selected Aaron Nola as their first-round pick, encouraging optimism from fans and the media. Although the Phillies began July at the bottom of the National League East Division, they amassed a five-game winning streak shortly before the All-Star break. This moved them to within nine games of .500, but they lost the last two games and had a 42–53 record at the break. (Full article...)
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Map of the original Mason–Dixon line
Map of the original Mason–Dixon line

The Mason-Dixon line, also called the Mason and Dixon line or Mason's and Dixon's line, is a demarcation line separating four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (part of Virginia until 1863). Historically, it came to be seen as demarcating the North from the South in the U.S. It was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. The dispute had its origins almost a century earlier in the somewhat confusing proprietary grants by King Charles I to Lord Baltimore (Maryland) and by King Charles II to William Penn (Pennsylvania and Delaware).

The largest, east-west portion of the Mason–Dixon line along the southern Pennsylvania border later became known, informally, as the boundary between the Southern slave states and Northern free states. This usage came to prominence during the debate around the Missouri Compromise of 1820, when drawing boundaries between slave and free territory was an issue, and resurfaced during the American Civil War, with border states also coming into play. The Confederate States of America claimed the Virginia portion of the line as part of its northern border, although it never exercised meaningful control that far north especially after West Virginia separated from Virginia and joined the Union as a separate state in 1863. It is still used today in the figurative sense of a line that separates the Northeast and South culturally, politically, and socially (see Dixie). (Full article...)

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State Facts
Pennsylvania's largest city Philadelphia
Pennsylvania's largest city Philadelphia
  • Nickname: The Keystone State
  • Capital: Harrisburg
  • Largest city: Philadelphia
  • Total area: 119,283 square kilometers (46,055 square miles)
  • Population (2000 census): 12,281,054
  • Date admitted to the Union: December 12, 1787 (2nd)
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Mountain laurel, Pennsylvania's state flower
Mountain laurel, Pennsylvania's state flower

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