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The Most Significant Historical Events In Pennsylvania – Part 2

A fascinating state that is a favorite of history lovers, Pennsylvania continued to be an important location for national and world events after the dawn of the 20th century. For part two of this series, here are the most historically significant events to happen in Pennsylvania after the 1800s.

Polio vaccine

The very first administering of the polio vaccine on a large scale was done in Pittsburgh in 1954 at Arsenal Elementary School. This was a lifesaver in many ways, as before the development of the vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk, the outbreaks of polio would affect children on a large scale. The disease even affected a young President Roosevelt in the 1920s, crippling him for life. Due to the use of vaccines, polio has now been virtually eliminated in the United States. In developing countries, there are still cases, however.

First official World Series

Baseball fans will be interested to know that Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh was where the first official World Series for Major League Baseball was played in 1903. Before this, there were various major leagues operating alongside each other. This is widely considered the first official World Series, however. Interestingly enough, the National League and the American League were fighting at the time. The teams were the Pittsburgh Pirates of the former league and the Boston Americans of the latter. The Boston Americans would later become the Red Sox. Boston’s win would inspire pride and justify their idea that the American League was good enough to play in the “big leagues”.

The Three Mile Island nuclear incident

PA has also been the site of some grim, less happy history. In 1979, it was the site of the most severe nuclear accident in America. A nuclear reactor melted on Three Mile Island, which is near Pennsylvania’s capital of Harrisburg. The result was thousands of people relocating for fear of radiation. It was a significant event mostly because it stoked public fears about nuclear power. Coincidentally, it came two weeks after a movie called “The China Syndrome” was released that featured fictional meltdown at a nuclear reactor. The incident caused the creation of stricter safety controls, emergency response planning, and licensing of reactors. Since then, no new nuclear power plants have been built in the US.

The Flight 93 attack

In other sad event of the history, the state was the site of a thwarted attack by terrorists on September 11, 2001. On that day, a commercial plane was hijacked in a coordinated attack. Three other planes were also hijacked and flown into New York’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon. The passengers and crew on Flight 93 saved the day when they fought back against the terrorists, who were planning to fly into the US Capitol building. There is a memorial in the shape of a musical instrument called The Tower of Voices, which honors the 40 men and women who lost their lives that day at the site of the crash.