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5 Fun Facts About December 31 In Pennsylvania History

---Learn Every Day: PA Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history pa To: 618-270-4005---

1. The Last Public Execution in Pennsylvania Occurred on December 31, 1962
On December 31, 1962, Elmo Smith became the last individual to be publicly executed in the state of Pennsylvania. Smith was executed for the murder of a police officer and his execution marked the end of capital punishment in Pennsylvania until its reinstatement in 1978.

2. Pennsylvania's First Public New Year's Eve Celebration Took Place in 1907
On December 31, 1907, the city of Pittsburgh hosted its first public New Year's Eve celebration in Schenley Park. The event included fireworks and the lowering of a large illuminated ball from the top of the park's observation tower.

3. The First Aerial Crossing of the Delaware River Occurred on December 31, 1934
On December 31, 1934, aviator Charles Lindbergh made the first successful aerial crossing of the Delaware River, landing his plane near Trenton, New Jersey. The flight was part of an effort to promote commercial air travel between Philadelphia and New York City.

4. Philadelphia's First Female Mayor Was Sworn into Office on December 31, 1991
On December 31, 1991, Philadelphia's first female mayor, Ed Rendell, was sworn into office. Rendell went on to serve two terms as mayor and was later elected governor of Pennsylvania.

5. The Pennsylvania Railroad Was Founded on December 31, 1845
On December 31, 1845, the Pennsylvania Railroad was founded, with the goal of providing a continuous rail link between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. The railroad company went on to become one of the largest transportation companies in the United States and played a significant role in the development of Pennsylvania's economy.
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