(WHTM) – The Capital doesn’t always mean where the state government meets but also stands for where the best of something is. So what “capitals” are in Pennsylvania?
Snack Food Capital of the World – York County
York County hosts two large brands of snack foods, Snyder’s Pretzels and Martin’s Potato Chips.
Snyder’s dates back to the early 1900s when Harry Warehime produced “Olde Tyme Pretzels.” The company continued to grow and in the 1940s they needed modernization.
Today, Snyder’s has products such as twisted pretzel sticks, chocolate-covered pretzels, rounds, flavored pretzels, and traditional pretzels.
Martin’s started in 1941 and is located in south-central Pennsylvania where they produced potato chips.
The kettle-cook’d potato chips were created in 1974 and popcorn was added in 1994.
A name change to “Martin’s Snacks” occurred in 2018 and now distributes foods such as cheese curls, party mix, meat snacks, tortilla chips, and pretzels from New York to North Carolina.
Chocolate Capital of the United States – Hershey
Unfortunately, Hershey couldn’t win “Chocolate Capital of the World” as that goes to Brussels, Belgium, but Hershey is the Chocolate Capital of the United States.
It all started when Milton S. Hershey founded the Lancaster Caramel Company in the 1880s.
In 1893, Hershey saw how Germany made chocolate and decided that he wanted to join the chocolate business. So in 1894, he started a chocolate company.
Hershey would sell the caramel company and in 1900 released milk chocolate bars.
Hershey wouldn’t stop at chocolate bars, creating the following treats:
- 1907 – Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses
- 1925 – Mr. Goodbar
- 1939 – Hershey’s Miniatures
- 1971 – Hershey’s Tropical Bar
- 1975 – York Peppermint Patties
Hershey would acquire H.B. Reese Candy Company in 1963, Y&S Licorice (Twizzlers) in 1977, LEAF, Inc. (Jolly Rancher, Whoppers, Milk Duds, Good & Plenty, Pay Day, Heath, Rain-Blo and Super Bubble) in 1996, and Lily’s Sweets in 2021.
Pizza Capital of the World – Old Forge
That’s right, the pizza capital is not in New York, Chicago, or Detroit, it’s in Lackawanna County.
Of course, forget the circle-shaped pizza and slices; it’s either rectangular “trays” of pizza or you can order a “cut.”
This is known as “Old Forge Style” and dates back to 1926 at “Grandma Ghigiarelli.”
Old Forge is a mining town so Ghigiarelli made the rectangular-style pizza for the miners.
The only two types of this style of pizza are red or white. Red is made with sweet sauce, and a crunchy crust, and is covered in American, mozzarella, and cheddar cheeses.
White is double-crusted, has no sauce, and is covered with American, mozzarella, and cheddar cheeses with a rosemary blend added.
Today, there are eight Old Forge pizzerias.
- Anthony’s Restaurant
- Arcaro & Genell
- Augustine’s Club 17
- Cafe Rinaldi
- Mary Lou’s Pizza
- Revello’s Pizza
- Salerno’s Cafe
Mural Capital of the World – Philadelphia
Philadelphia is the largest populated city in Pennsylvania and is known for its sports, cheesesteaks, and deep history in America, but it’s also the “Mural Capital of the World.”
In Philadelphia, you may walk easily by a mural and not even notice. That’s because thousands of walls have been converted into masterpieces.
With more than 4,000 murals in the city alone, you can’t possibly see them all. One tour will take you to nearly 20 of them, giving you a taste of the neighborhood and city.
Mural Arts Philadelphia began this in 1984 to help eradicate graffiti and enable artists to showcase their talent and commission up to 100 public art projects every year.
Steel Capital of the World – Pittsburgh
Steel has been produced in Pittsburgh dating back to the 1880s with the first steel mill.
Pittsburgh would lead the world in steel production by the 1950s and produced more than half the nation’s steel.
Steel in Pennsylvania was used for projects including the Brooklyn Bridge, the George Washington Bridge, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, George Ferris’ world-famous 2,000-passenger wheel at the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and the Panama Canal’s 110-foot-high lock gates.
Around 95 million tons of steel was produced in Pittsburgh during World War II and was used for tanks, naval vessels, and other war materials.
Steel would decline in the 1970s and 80s but Pittsburgh would never forget that they are the Steel Capital of the World and the Steel City as their National Football League team is named the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Weather Capital of the World – Punxsutawney
If you didn’t know, Pennsylvanians (and some out-of-staters) trust a groundhog to deliver the news of whether winter is ending early or if winter will be longer.
Every February 2, thousands show up for Groundhog Day to watch Punxsutawney Phil make his decision. This has occurred every February 2 since 1887.
Every year Phil will emerge from his burrow and if he sees his shadow that means that winter will go on for six weeks. If Phil doesn’t see his shadow that means an early spring is coming.
But how accurate is Punxsutawney Phil?
Phil has predicted a continued winter 107 times and an early spring only 20 times, which means Phil is correct around 39% of the time.
Tomato Capital of the World – Pittston
Pittston hosts a multi-day event called the Pittston Tomato Festival but this isn’t why they are dubbed the Tomato Capital of the World.
In the 1930s, tomatoes were in high demand in the metropolitan New York area and Pittston helped fulfill this high demand.
The Pittston Tomato Festival began in 1984 and continues to this day with a parade, food, games, arts, and crafts, rides, live entertainment, and a 5K run.
Did we miss any “capitals” you know of? Send them to email@example.com