There are several legends of how the hoagie originated but the most widely accepted one revolves around a shipbuilding yard known as Hog Island. Hog Island is the historic name for an area southwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, along the Delaware River. The Philadelphia International Airport now sits on the land that was once Hog Island.
In 1917, as part of the World War I effort, the US government contracted American International Shipbuilding to build ships and a shipyard at Hog Island. At the time, Hog Island was the largest shipyard in the world with 50 slipways. The shipbuilding continued until 1921, after which the facility was rapidly demolished and the construction of the airport began.None of the ships were ready in time to participate in World War I, but many of them were involved in World War II.
many of which were immigrants. The Italian workers brought giant loaves of bread filled with cold cuts, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and peppers for their lunches. These sandwiches attracted a lot of attention from the other workers who started calling them the Hog Island sandwich. Before long, co-workers asked if they could buy these delicious sandwiches from the Italians. Over time, the Hog Island sandwiches began getting the nickname of “hoggies”. Sometime after World War II this morphed into the spelling of hoagie as we know it today.
Through the years this famous sandwich had numerous spellings; one constant that remained was its pronunciation as “hoageez”.