(WHTM) – Pennsylvania’s capital city is a popular quiz question to ask non-Pennsylvanians. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are the answers you usually hear, but the city of Harrisburg is the correct answer.
William Penn founded the city of Philadelphia in 1682 and wanted it to serve as the capital of Pennsylvania.
Philadelphia was a major city and key factor when it came to the Revolutionary War. The city even served as the United States capital from 1790 to 1800.
Pennsylvania decided to move the state capital to Lancaster in 1799 due to Philadelphia being the nations capital.
Harrisburg was an option as the state capital, but due to population Lancaster would win “the bid.” Lancaster would stay the capital of Pennsylvania from 1799-1812.
Location was the biggest reason Harrisburg would become the state capital of Pennsylvania. Harrisburg is in the central of the state and also located next to the Susquehanna River.
Being in the center of Pennsylvania made the trip by horse/horse-drawn carriage easier for those travelling to the state capital. If Philadelphia was the state capital and a politician from Erie, Pa. wanted to ride to said capital the journey would have taken an estimated two weeks to make.
The Susquehanna River made ship travel more accessible to Harrisburg. The trip on horse or on a ship would have taken one to two days to make for those travelling within the state of Pennsylvania.
Today the city of Harrisburg’s population ranks 17th in Pennsylvania with an estimated 49,969 people. Philadelphia (1,596,865) and Pittsburgh (303,207) rank first and second in the state which leaves people to believe that one of those cities is the capital of Pennsylvania.