Street shots and architecture
(Photos ©urban75, Dec 2006, words, ©Siobhan Lyons March 2008)
The largest city in Pennsylvania, the City and County of Philadelphia is commonly known as Philly, and more bizarrely called 'The City of Brotherly Love.'
The fifth most populous city in the United States, its population is around the one and half million mark with the metropolitan area adding up to some 5.8 million people.
One of the oldest and most historically significant cities in the United States, Philadelphia was once more important than both Boston and New York City, and is recognised as the city that gave birth to the American Revolution.
See an interesting exhibit by the Balch Institute on Chinatown: hsp.org
Broad Street towards City Hall
Broad Street, one of Philly's busiest streets, runs north-south through the centre of the city intersecting with Market Street at City Hall.
One Liberty Place, 1650 Market Street
In 1987, Liberty One became the first building in Philadelphia to break the gentleman's agreement preventing any building from rising higher than the brim of William Penn's hat on top of City Hall. Since then, no major Philadelphia sports team has won a league championship and many frustrated fans claim the city has been cursed. phrustratedphan.com
In June 2007, the Comcast Centre surpassed Liberty One, becoming Philly's tallest building. In an attempt to lift the curse, ironworkers of Local Union 401 attached a figurine of William Penn to the final beam. It's too early to say if Penn's ghost has been appeased, but it's not looking good.
On 15th July 2007, the Phillies became the first professional sports team in North America to lose 10,000 games. celebrate10000.com
Mural at the Philadelphia Fire Department, Engine Company 20, nicknamed "House of Dragons" - 10th and Cherry
Looking north towards Callowhill
Graffiti in downtown Philadelphia
Baseball Mural by David McShane
13th and Arch.
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts - Broad and Cherry
Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is the oldest art school and museum in the United States. The Historic Landmark Building, pictured above, was designed by architects Frank Furness and George W. Hewitt and completed in 1876. The museum's permanent collection is one of the finest collections of American art in the country.
The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is currently home to Thomas Eakins' masterpiece, The Gross Clinic.
Measuring 8 feet by 6, The Gross Clinic is jointly owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, who bought the painting in 2007 following a remarkable nationwide effort to raise the $68 million needed to stop the painting being sold to Alice Walton (the Wal-mart heiress) and shipped out of state.
Reading Terminal Market, 12th and Arch
Reading Terminal Market is a food lover's paradise at the heart of a food-loving city.
From the farm-fresh produce to the specialty cheese stalls and artery-clogging cheesesteaks, the market has something for everyone. Personal favourites include Mueller's chocolate-covered crisps and the finest corned beef sandwich in the city at Hatville Deli.
The Hale Building - Juniper and Chestnut
This fabulous Victorian edifice was built in the 1883 by Willis Gaylord Hale, one of the finest architects in Philadelphia in the late 19th century.
Originally born in Seneca, New York, Willis Hale moved to Philadelphia in 1876 and worked on over a hundred buildings in Philadelphia, including the magnificent Divine Lorraine, which now lies vacant on North Broad.
Unfortunately for Hale, tastes changed quickly in nineteenth century Philadelphia. By 1893, Architectural Record had denounced the Hale building as an "architectural aberration" and a "restless jumble". Willis Hale died penniless in 1907.
Then and Now
Comparison shot showing the building at its peak.
Busker on East Chestnut Street
Toynbee Tile - Juniper and Chestnut
These strange tiles can be found in cities across the United States, and some have even been found as far afield as Chile and Brazil.
The tiles are thought to have first appeared in Philadelphia in the 1980s. Hundreds of tiles have been discovered - most of them in Philly - though many have been paved over or otherwise destroyed.
No one knows for sure who the tiler is or what the tiles mean, though a group of young Philadelphian film-makers believe they may have the answer.
Resurrect Dead, a film about the Toynbee tiles by John Foy and Justin Duerr, is due to be released in 2008. www.resurrectdead.com/
More about the tiles: here, here/ and here
City Hall, Broad and Market Streets
Philadelphia's city hall stands at the geographic centre of William Penn's original plans for the city.
Designed by John McArthur, Jr. and completed in 1901, the building is the largest, tallest and most expensive city hall in the United States and, at 548ft, it is still the tallest all-masonry building in the world.
The central tower to the north of the complex, pictured above, is topped by an enormous bronze statue of William Penn, which, at 37 feet and 27 tonnes, also happens to be the largest statue ever to adorn the top of a building.
City Hall's courtyard at the centre of Philadelphia
Near Manning Street
Camac Street, in the heart of Philly's 'gaybourhood', is one of the oldest streets in the city and home to two of the country's oldest clubs for artists: the Philadelphia Sketch Club, which was founded in 1860, and the Philadelphia Plastic Club, which was founded in 1897.
A small stretch of Camac between Walnut and Locust is still paved with wooden blocks, the only surviving woodblock street in the country.
Union League of Philadelphia, 140 S. Broad Street
The Union League of Philadelphia was founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to promote loyalty to the Union cause and to support President Abraham Lincoln during the American Civil War.
The League's clubhouse, pictured above, was designed by the architect John Fraser and completed in 1865. Now a conservative private members' club, the Union League is still worth a visit, but be warned - no trainers allowed!
Masonic Temple, 1 N. Broad Street
The Masonic temple on North Broad is the headquarters of the Grand Lodge of the Free and Accepted Masons of Pennsylvania. Completed in 1873, the temple took five years to build, though the stark Norman exterior gives little indication of the fairytale grandeur inside.
From the Templar-inspired Gothic hall to the extravagant panels and columns of Egyptian hall, each magnificent lodge room is finished in a distinct style, representing one of the seven "ideal" architectures whose proportions and harmonies reflect the divine order.
The temple is also home to a fascinating museum of Masonic history that serves as a reminder of the deep connection between freemasonry and the formation of the United States, displaying George Washington's Masonic apron and a sash belonging to Ben Franklin.
Take an online tour: pagrandlodge.org
More photos of the interior can be found here: flickr.com
In and around Quince Street
6th and Lombard
The sign to the left says:
"Lombard Street Riot
Here on August 1842 an angry mob of whites attacked a parade celebrating Jamaican Emancipation Day.
A riot ensured. African Americans were beaten and their homes looted.
The rioting lasted for 3 days. A local church and abolition meeting place were destroyed by fire."
The Church of St. Philip Neri Church, 218 Queen Street
Historic Catholic Church in the oldest neighbourhood in Philadelphia. St. Philip Neri's was founded in 1840 as the first free Catholic church in Philadelphia, meaning it did not charge pew rental or annual fees, and later housed the first free Catholic school in the city.
St Philip Neri's is best known as the focal point of the Nativist riots that broke out in Philadelphia in July 1844. The Southwark riots, which left more than 20 people dead and many more maimed and wounded, marked the first time that government forces raised arms against civilians to guarantee public safety.
A L Levis Soda Water sign.
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