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25 Things You Didn’t Know About Philadelphia

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It’s home to the Liberty Bell, the Declaration of Independence, and Philly cheesesteaks. But there’s more than that going on in the City of Brotherly Love.

1. Philly is a city of firsts. On top of hosting America’s first birthday, it also started up the country’s first daily newspaper—The Philadelphia Packet and Daily Advertiser—in 1784.

2. The city is home to America's first zoo.

3. It’s also home to the first hospital.

4. And, naturally, the first medical school!

5. Philadelphia is actually renowned for its medical sector. One out of every six doctors in the U.S. is trained in Philly.

6. Move over, England. The Walnut Street Theater is actually the oldest continually running theater in the English-speaking world.

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7. It was originally owned by Edwin Booth—you might know him as John Wilkes Booth’s brother.  

8. Philly became home to the first general purpose computer in 1946.

9. It weighed 27 tons!

10. Philly boasts more Impressionist paintings than any other city outside Paris.

11. Art is a big deal here. Boasting over 2000 outdoor murals, it’s been called the “mural capital of the U.S.”

12. If you’re more of a foodie, Philly is also home to the Wing Bowl, an eating contest that draws crowds as large as 20,000 people. 

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13. In 1943, Phillies owner Robert Carpenter attempted to rename the team the Blue Jays. The nickname obviously failed to catch on.

14. Why are the Flyers called the Flyers? Because Ed Snider’s wife simply thought the name sounded good.

15. As for the Eagles, they’re actually named for the Eagle that appeared on posters during the National Recovery Act, which was part of FDR’s New Deal.

16. Before that, the city's home team was the Frankford Yellow Jackets.

17. In 1988, the Eagles helped make the world’s largest cheesesteak. To no one’s surprise, it was the length of a football field.

18. In the beginning, the Philadelphia mint took several years to produce its first million coins.

19. Today, it can make that many in less than an hour.

20. One of the first businesses in Philly? Beer. William Frampton’s brewery started up in 1683.

21. For the U.S. bicentennial, the city planted a “moon tree.” (That is, a tree grown from a seed taken on the Apollo 14 mission.)

22. Philly’s Mütter Museum has a great collection of medical oddities, including slides of Einstein’s brain, slices of a human face, and a book bound by human skin.

23. Surprise! Neither Thomas Jefferson nor John Adams signed the Constitution—they were out of town.

24. Sorry, but there’s no evidence that Philadelphia resident Betsy Ross stitched the first American flag.

25. The story was made up in 1870, some 100 years after the fact. You can still visit her home in Philly’s Old City neighborhood, though! 

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25 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Portland
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Sure, you know about the craft beer, the fancy coffee, and all those awesome food carts. Here are some nuggets about the Rose City maybe you might not have known. 1. Portland’s name was decided by a coin flip. 2. That’s because Asa Lovejoy and Francis Pettygrove wanted to name the area after their hometowns. (Had it gone the other way, it would be called “Boston.”) 3. The “Portland Penny” the two men flipped is still on display at the Oregon History Center. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_full_width","fid":"194109","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"417","title":"","width":"620"}}]]
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4. Lovejoy and Pettygrove were probably onto something with their decision to rename the city. Before their coin flip, the settlement was known simply as “The Clearing.” 5. Portland is one of two U.S. cities that has a dormant volcano—Mount Tabor—within its city limits. 6. Portland has more microbrews and brewpubs than any other U.S. city. 7. It also has the most movie theaters and restaurants per capita. 8. Don’t you dare try pumping your own gas there. It’s a $500 fine. 9. But there’s a good chance gas won’t be an issue. Portland has more bicyclists per capita than any other U.S. city. 10. Portland elected the city's first female mayor, Dorothy McCullough Lee, in 1949. 11. She banned pinball machines. 12. Portland is home to the world’s smallest park, Mill Ends Park. 13. It’s about two feet across, or 452 square inches 14. You’ll need an alarm clock like everybody else in Portland, because it’s illegal to own a rooster for “private use.” 15. The city lacks poetic nicknames. It’s been affectionately called “Puddletown” and “Stumptown.” [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_full_width","fid":"194111","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"417","title":"","width":"620"}}]]
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16. That’s because, in its early days, Portland grew so quickly that tree stumps were left in the middle of the roads. 17. They left some trees, however. The city’s Forest Park is the largest natural urban wilderness in the country. 18. Portland’s streets and sidewalks still feature horse rings—iron or brass installations anchored to provide a place for tethering your horse. 19. The first wiki website was created in Portland in 1994. 20. Portland’s first pro hockey team’s name? The fearsome “Rosebuds.” 21. Portland’s massive rose garden was built during World War I, just in case bombs destroyed all of Europe’s rosebushes. 22. Water fountains, called Benson Bubblers, were installed in front of pubs years ago to keep people from drinking during work hours. It saved many lumberjacks from tipsy ax accidents. [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"content_full_width","fid":"194112","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"417","title":"","width":"620"}}]] 23. Speaking of pubs, Portland is one of the few places outside of France where it’s okay to take your dog inside a tavern. 24. Portland’s annual naked bike ride draws nearly 13,000 riders. 25. If any of that sounds strange, consider that the city’s unofficial slogan is “Keep Portland Weird.” But according to City Vitals Weirdness index, it ranks only eleventh.
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25 Things You Might Not Know About Atlanta
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Think you know everything about the City in a Forest?

1. Atlanta was originally named Terminus and Marthasville (the latter for Governor Wilson Lumpkin’s daughter.)

2. The city got its current name from railroad engineer J. Edgar Thompson. It’s thought to be a shortened version of “Atlantica-Pacifica.”

3. Your GPS might be confused if you punch in “Peachtree” as your destination. There are over 55 streets with the name.

4. And it's possible none of them are named for an actual peach tree. Historians suggest they're named after the Native American village of “Standing Pitch Tree.” The pronunciation corrupted over the years.

5. Atlanta was the only city in North American destroyed as an act of war. (General Sherman burnt it to the ground.)

6. Only 400 buildings survived.

7. That’s why the city’s symbol is a phoenix.

8. Lots of airports claim to be the world’s busiest. But Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport truly is the world’s busiest airport.

9. Why? Because Atlanta is a perfect location. It’s just a three hour flight from many major American cities.

10. The terminal is as big as 45 football fields!

11. Atlanta is Georgia’s fifth capital. Savannah, Augusta, Louisville, and Milledgeville boasted the title earlier.

12. The Georgia State Capitol building is gilded with 43 ounces of locally-mined gold.

13. The Continental Divide out west gets all the love, but Atlanta is home to the Eastern Continental Divide, which separates water draining into the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic.

14. One of the largest Hindu temples outside of India is located in the Atlanta metro area.

15. It was once illegal to put an ice cream cone in your back pocket in Atlanta.

16. Atlanta also outlawed tying a giraffe to a telephone pole.

17. Want to ride your bike to Alabama? The Silver Comet Trail starting in Smyrna will get you there.

18. In 1996, Terry Hitchcock ran from Minneapolis to Atlanta in just 75 days. He covered over 2100 miles!

19. Stone Mountain outside Atlanta is one of the largest blocks of exposed granite in the world.

20. Stone Mountain’s etching of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis is the largest bas relief in the world, too!

21. Atlanta had some tough competition when it nabbed the 1996 Olympics hosting duty. The city beat out Athens, Toronto, Melbourne, Manchester, and Belgrade for the spot.

22. The fastest baseball game in history happened in Atlanta, when the Mobile Sea Gulls beat the Atlanta Crackers 2-1 in just 32 minutes.

23. Atlanta also played host to the greatest rout in football history—a 1916 contest in which Georgia Tech blew out tiny Cumberland College 222-0.

24. When pro football moved to Atlanta, the owners considered over 500 names. A schoolteacher came up with the Falcons nickname, a bird she endorsed because it was “proud and dignified, with great courage and fight.”

25. Why did Atlanta resident Margaret Mitchell write Gone with the Wind? Because an ankle injury kept her from walking and she was really, really bored.

All images courtesy of Getty Images 

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