Robin's Website


This webpage does not consist of a comprehensive review of Pennsylvania, rather a selection of places the author of this website has visited here, in the Keystone State.
Pennsylvania is one of the Middle Atlantic States in the eastern USA. It has an area of 45,333 square miles (117,412km²). Apart from some relatively small low-lying areas in the northwest and southeast, it is composed of a series of mountain ridges and rolling hills with narrow valleys. Farming is mainly in the southeast of the state. The principal crops are cereals, tobacco, potatoes, fruit and dairy products. Pennsylvania has rich deposits of coal and iron ore. it has historically been a leading producer of steel and other heavy industries include chemicals, machinery and metal goods.

Above: Rural scenery, southern Pennsylvania

The principal cities of Pennsylvania are Harrisburg (the state capital), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, Bethlehem, Wilkes-Barre and Erie. In terms of the state’s history, Swedish and Dutch settlements were created along the Delaware River in the mid 17th century...

Above: Harrisburg

.. by 1664, the area was controlled by the English and William Penn received a charter from King Charles II in 1681. Philadelphia was the capital of the colonies during the War of American Independence. The Declaration of Independence was signed and the US constitution was ratified in the city. Philadelphia was the national capital from 1790 to 1800. The Union victory at Gettysburg in July 1863 was a turning point in the American Civil War. During the First and Second World Wars, the state was a major source of war materials. As of 2017, the population of Pennsylvania stood at 12.81 million.

Above: Fully zoomable map centred on Pennsylvania. Courtesy of


Pittsburgh is a city and port in the southwest of the state. It stands at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers. With a population of just over 300,000, it is the second largest city in Pennsylvania and a major steel-producing centre. Fort Duquesne was founded here by the French around 1750. It was captured by the British in 1758 and renamed Fort Pitt. Pittsburgh quickly grew as a steel producing centre during the 19th century. The University of Pittsburgh dates from 1787. Other industries around the city have historically included glass, machinery, petroleum products, electrical equipment, printing and publishing, railway maintenance, coal mining, and oil and natural gas extraction. Attractions in and around Pittsburgh today include the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Carnegie Science Center, the 42-storey Cathedral of Learning, the Andy Warhol Museum and Kennywood Amusement Park (5 miles/8km southeast of the city). Some photographs of Pittsburgh are shown below.


Flight 93 National Memorial

The peaceful rural landscape of Pennsylvania near Shanksville was abruptly broken on the morning of September 11th, 2001, when the fourth hijacked 9/11 plane dived from the skies and crashed into a field after a struggle between some passengers and the terrorists. The crash site, eight miles southeast of Pittsburgh and four miles south of US-30 has now been turned into an educational and carefully thought out 2,200 acre Flight 93 National Memorial, which gives the visitor plenty of space for quiet contemplation.

The Visitor Center Complex on the hill above the crash site introduces the story of the passengers and crew of Flight 93, to whom the memorial is for and the events of the day. It includes a walkway which runs directly along the same line of the final flight path where the plane came down, and after passing the visitors centre, itself, and tastefully designed modern concrete walls, a walkway leads on to a viewing platform. Below the visitor’s centre, Memorial Plaza borders the crash site, which consists of the epicentre of the impact site (marked by a granite boulder that can be viewed from the Memorial Plaza Wall and Walkway) and the debris field. The fields and woods beyond are the final resting place for the passengers and crew; their remains are still present. The memorial includes a Wall of Names and at the end of it, there is a gate through which the closest view of the granite boulder marking the impact epicentre may be seen. Further photos from the Flight 93 National Memorial are shown in the thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to enlarge):


Fallingwater lies 43 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Signposted off Hwy-381, some 20 miles south of I-70, it is probably the most famous family home designed by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. It was built in the 1930’s for the Kaufmann family, owners of Pittsburgh’s premier department store and is set in the deciduous forest of Bear Run Nature Reserve. A separate page on this website includes further photographs and explanatory text and may be found by clicking on the link Here (or clicking on the photo below):


Philadelphia is a city and port in the southeast of Pennsylvania, at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. With a population of 1.57 million in the city itself, it is the state’s largest and the nation’s fifth largest city. The city was founded by William Penn in 1681. By 1774, it was a major cultural, commercial and industrial centre of the American colonies. Philadelphia played an important role in the colonies’ fight for independence. The Continental Congresses were held in the city and as mentioned earlier on in this webpage, The Declaration of Independence was signed here in 1776. The Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia and adopted the US Constitution in 1787. The city served as capital of the fledgling United States from 1790 until 1800. Benjamin Franklin founded the University of Pennsylvania in 1749. Industries here have historically included shipbuilding, textiles, chemicals, clothing, electrical equipment, metal products, publishing and printing, oil refining and food processing.
Points of interest and attractions in Philadelphia include Independence National Historic Park (or Independence Mall), which covers some 45 acres (18ha) and encompasses several well-preserved 18th century structures associated with the American Revolution including the site where the Declaration of Independence was signed, Independence Hall, the US Mint, Second Bank of the United States, museums and the infamous Liberty Bell (now in the new Liberty Bell Center), Reading Terminal Market, the Masonic Temple, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia/Mütter Museum, Eastern State Penitentiary (“guests” included Al Capone and the prison closed in 1971), Philadelphia Zoo, Philadelphia Museum of Art,  Edgar Allan Poe’s house and the Barnes Foundation.


King of Prussia Mall

The King of Prussia Mall (or simply known as the King of Prussia) is located in a census-designated place of the same name, within Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County in south-eastern Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia. The mall opened in 1963 and originally consisted of two distinct buildings known as The Plaza and The Court until August 2016, when a major expansion was completed and the two buildings were finally connected to create one complete shopping mall. This made it the largest single shopping mall in the United States in terms of gross leasable area (2,900,000 square feet (270,000m²). The King of Prussia Mall is larger than Mall of America in overall square footage, although does not have as many shops (Mall of America on this website Here). Retailers here including anchor stores Lord & Taylor, Dick's Sporting Goods, Primark, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Macy's and Bloomingdale's.

Above: King of Prussia Mall


Gettysburg is a town in the south of Pennsylvania and was the scene of the historic battle in 1863 during the American Civil War in which Robert E. Lee and his confederate troops were defeated by the Union Army. led by George Meade. The battle proved a turning point in the war, preventing Lee’s invasion of the North. It was also the scene of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address in November, 1863. There are several monuments commemorating the battle and a very informative visitor's centre. A much more detailed treatment of a visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park on this website may be found Here (or clicking on the photo below):

Amish Country / Lancaster County

The roots of the Amish people goes back to the Anabaptist “new birth” movement in 16th century Switzerland. This was an offshoot of the Protestant Reformation, whose creed rejected the formality of established churches. This movement was led by Menno Simons and his unorthodox advocacy of adult baptism and literal interpretation of the Bible led to the order’s persecution; they were invited by William Penn to settle in Lancaster County in the 1720’s. Today, the twenty or so orders of Pennsylvania Dutch include the “plain” Old Order Amish - a strict order that originally broke away from Simons in 1693 and the freer-living Mennonites, as well as the more fancy Lutheran groups. The Amish live by an unwritten set of rules known as the Amish Ordnung, which includes total pacifism. Today’s Old Order Amish are the most conservative group, rejecting in their society any device that old connect them to the larger world, including electricity, telephones and motor vehicles. They are noted for their plain, dark attire, with white prayer caps for the women and straw hats for the men. Their mode of transport is horse-drawn buggies. The Amish in America have changed little from their 17th century ancestors whom came to Lancaster County seeking religious freedom. The market town of Lancaster is surrounded by almost 5,000 small farms and the region is famous for the German-immigrant “Old Order” Amish Christians. Further afield, 56 miles (145km) from Pittsburgh around the town of New Castle (the county seat of Lawrence County) live a large population of Old Order Amish and Mennonites have also set up farms set up farms near here.

Just west of the bizarrely named settlement of Intercourse and roughly halfway in the direction of the equally bizarrely named settlement of Bird in Hand is the ultimate Amish tourist trap – the “Amish Experience” at Plain & Fancy Farm. Offerings here include the Fisher Family Homestead & One-Room Schoolhouse, a (not-so-traditional) multimedia theatre, shop and other amenities. Guided tours are available and for further information, the official website may be found on the link Here. Photographs from the visit to Lancaster County in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Amish country can be seen in the thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to enlarge):

Three Mile Island

Three Mile Island is so named because it is located three miles downstream from Middletown on the Susquehanna River. Middletown lies just southeast of Harrisburg. On the island is a nuclear power plant, the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station (TMI). The plant comprises two separate units, TMI-1 and TMI-2. It is widely known as having been the site of the most significant accident in United States commercial nuclear energy. On 28 March 1979, TMI-2 suffered a partial meltdown. The accident resulted in no deaths or injuries to plant workers or members of nearby communities. Follow-up epidemiology studies have linked no incidents of cancer to the accident either. The reactor core of TMI-2 was removed from the site, although the plant is still in active use. Below is a photograph of the plant. The question as to whether it is okay of not to take a photo and put it on this webpage arose and the fact remains that a very similar photograph may be found in the public domain not only on Google Street View but also on the Wikipedia page relating to Three Mile Island and therefore there is no new information here.

Hershey's Chocolate World

This webpage has included places in Pennsylvania where some not-so-joyful events have taken place in the history of the United States and so to end on a lighter note... Hershey's Chocolate World. The factory town of Hershey itself is an unincorporated community some 14 miles (23km) east of Harrisburg and at the 2010 census had a population of 14,257. It is popularly called "Chocolatetown, USA"; Hershey's chocolates are made in Hershey, which was founded by candy magnate Milton S. Hershey. It is also sometimes referred to as "The Sweetest Place on Earth". A popular tourist destination, many things about the place revolve around chocolate; even the streetlights are shaped like silver-foil-wrapped Hershey Kisses. The main attraction here, however, is Chocolate World. It features a free 15-minute ride through a series of animated tableaux revealing Hershey’s chocolate-making process. At the end of the ride, there are free samples and, as one might expect, a very large shop selling Hershey products and merchandise. Nearby, in Hershey Park, a 90 acre (36ha) amusement park offering 80 rides which include four roller coasters, five water slides, and an impressive four-row carousel. Some photographs taken from a visit to Hershey and Chocolate World are shown in the thumbnail gallery below (click on an image to enlarge):

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