10 Facts About Philadelphia That Are Actually Lies
Ben Franklin once said, "A half a truth is often a great lie." Well, based on all the half-truths floating around Philadelphia, we're all big fat liars. We love to think we know a lot about our city's history, but how much do we really know? To make us all better-informed citizens, let's dispel these 10 things you thought you knew about Philly.
1. The Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, 1776
That would be a declaration of LIES! While it makes things neat and tidy -- and super-patriotic -- it's not true. Quick history lesson: the Declaration of Independence was approved July 2nd, 1776, announced publicly July 4th, and actually signed August 2nd. That's some great bar trivia to use down the Shore this summer.
2. The Philadelphia Experiment was carried out in the Navy Yard
Would be pretty cool if this were true but IT'S NOT! Long discussed amongst the tin-hat crowd, it was rumored that the US Navy successfully rendered the USS Eldridge invisible. If our Navy really had invisible battle ships, you wouldn't know about it, right, Putin?
3. Philadelphia Cream Cheese is from -- where else -- Philadelphia
Know that what you've been spreading on your bagel is LIES! Yes, Philly was originally a hotbed for cream-cheese production in the 19th century, but the company in question was actually started in Chester, NY in the 1870s. It wasn't until 1880 that the company's product was officially sold as Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
4. Betsy Ross lived in the Betsy Ross House
More like House of LIES! Betsy Ross may have lived in a house, but it definitely wasn't Betsy Ross House in Old City. While the location is one of the most visited historic sites in Philly, there is no official record that Betsy Ross even lived there. Historians also debunk that Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. Betsy is basically famous for being famous, making her the 1760s' Kim Kardashian.
5. SEPTA has a Wandering Bus
Nope, like most urban legends this one is complete BS. The tale of the unmarked SEPTA bus ferrying around lost souls was actually penned by local comedian Nicholas Mirra. Like a game of Telephone, the original hoax was lost as the story spread around the Internet. If you want to see a real bus full of depressed Philadelphians, try and sneak on the Sixers team bus.
6. Broad St is the longest straight street in the US
Actually it’s NOT! That title goes to Western Ave in Chicago, which stretches 23.8mi across the city. Makes bragging after the Broad St run a little less deserved.
7. The Liberty Bell cracked on July 4th, 1776
You could say this story has been emBELLished! Given all the history you learned about the Liberty Bell earlier -- hint hint, #1 -- there were no bells rung on July 4th to ring in our Independence. Philly's most famous icon actually acquired its signature crack sometime in the 19th century.
8. Comcast's curse-busting helped the Phillies win the World Series
BS, unless of course you believe in jinxes. The alleged curse of Billy Penn started in 1987, with the construction of the tower at One Liberty breaking the years-long gentlemen's agreement that City Hall would be the tallest building in the city. Following construction, no Philadelphia sports team won a major championship until -- you guessed it -- Comcast completed construction of the Comcast tower in 2007, complete with a small statue of Billy Penn at the apex.
9. Ben Franklin's kite was struck by lightning
Yeah, all your school teachers are LIARS! While Ben Franklin did conduct a variety of electrical experiments (including some using kites), the story you all heard as children is most likely false. It's such a popular legend that the folks at MythBusters formally debunked it -- Ben Franklin would have been fatally electrocuted if he were actually holding a kite when it was struck by lightning.
10. William Penn named Pennsylvania after himself
Every self-respecting Pennsylvanian -- or nerdy elementary-schooler -- knows that Quaker leader William Penn named PA after himself. Too bad everyone's wrong! Pennsylvania was named after Charles II gave a land charter to repay debt owed to Penn's father, Admiral William Penn (confusing right?). Young William actually wanted to name the land Sylvania.
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