Philadelphia City Hall to the Museum of Art
This tour starts at the Philadelphia's City Hall and includes some of the city's most famous landmarks, cultural institutions, and works of art.
Philadelphia's iconic City Hall building is the largest municipal building in the United States and took thirty years to complete. For many years, this was the tallest building in the city until the completion of One Liberty Place in 1987. This impressive building replaced a previous city hall which was located at 5th and Chesnut until 1871. With granite that is 22 feet thick in some places, no expense was spared in the building's construction which continued in phases until 1901. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as a national survey of the 150 most significant buildings in the United States.
A National Historic Landmark, the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia is one of the most architecturally significant Free Mason buildings in existence. The building was constructed in 1873 and attracts thousands of visitors to tour the building inspired by multiple centuries of historically significant events that have occurred here. The Temple is still in use today as the main headquarters of the Pennsylvania branch of the Masonic Great Lodge.
The venerable Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts was founded in 1805 by painter Charles Wilson Peale, sculptor William Rush and other artists and business leaders. Its current home, designed by American architects Frank Furness and George Hewitt, was completed in 1876. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1975. In addition to the academy’s school, it also houses its art museum that displays both historic and contemporary works from the 1760s through the present.
The Race Street Friends Meetinghouse, which was built in 1856, now, ironically, fronts Cherry Street. The site has been in continuous use by the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, for over 150 years. The site was converted into the Friends Meeting Center when a modern addition was built in 1975 while still maintaining the integrity of the original meetinghouse. The meetinghouse played a significant role in the social movements of both the 19th and 20th centuries, to include the abolition, women’s rights, temperance, peace and civil rights movements. And, not surprisingly to the Quakers, women, such as Lucretia Mott, Hannah Clothier Hull, Alice Paul and Jane Rushmore, who were associated with Race Street, led the way. Group tours are available by appointment and it was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1993.
"Freedom" By artist Zenos Frudakis, is a Philadelphia based public art display housed on the side of the former GlaxoSmithKline building in Philadelphia. Erected in 2001, the work showcases the figure of a man in four transformative movements that represent his journey from bondage to freedom. Frudakis' sculpture was commissioned by Francesca Shaughnessy, a former psychologist with the Philadelphia School District, and was dedicated in October of the same year.
The magnificent Swann Memorial Fountain (1924) was created by Alexander Stirling Calder, as a tribute to Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society. The fountain sculpture consists of three large Native American figures symbolizing the area's major bodies of water. The young girl leaning on her side against an agitated swan represents the Wissahickon Creek, the mature woman holding the neck of a swan symbolizes the Schuylkill River, and the male figure reaching above his head to grasp his bow ‐ the Delaware River. The fountain is located at Logan Square, Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 19th Street.
To commemorate aviators who died in World War I, sculptor Paul Manship created an open bronze sphere that suggests the heavens and the earth, with intricate intertwined forms evoking the signs of the zodiac. he artist Paul Manship was a leading figure in American sculpture for several decades. Profoundly influenced by classical Roman and archaic Greek Art, he received many major sculpture awards in the United States and abroad, and his famous Prometheus dominates Rockefeller Center in New York.
The academy was previously known as the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia until 2011, when it became affiliated with Drexel University. It was founded by leading Philadelphia naturalists in 1812 and is the oldest natural science and research institution in the Western Hemisphere. It has been in continuous operation for well over 200 years and its current home, located just across the street from Logan Square, was built in 1876. It is now divided into a public natural history museum and world-class research facility.
Founded in 1824 as the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, the Franklin Institute is one of the oldest centers dedicated to science education and progress in the United States. In the Institute’s founding days, it offered classes on mechanics, engineering, and other such fields of scientific study in order to broaden people’s understanding of and engagement in the sciences. After a century of activity, the Institute became a museum in 1934 in order to expand its vision of promoting the sciences. Today, the Institute still serves that goal as a museum, reaching out to those who wish to learn through exploring exhibits, attending classes, and much more. Additionally, one may find in the museum’s rotunda the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, which sports a 20-foot-tall marble statue of the scientist and Founding Father.
Finely detailed sculptures of African American military men cluster about an allegorical figure representing Justice, who holds symbols of Honor and Reward. Above, American eagles surround a torch of life. First placed in West Fairmount Park, this work was moved to a prominent position on the Parkway in 1994.
The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” Originally located in Merion, Pennsylvania, the Barnes Foundation now resides in the heart of Philadelphia. The Foundation holds one of the finest collections of Post-Impressionist and early Modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin and Maurice Prendergast. In addition, the Barnes houses a number of artistic works in different media, such as Old Master paintings, important examples of African sculpture and Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles, American paintings and decorative arts and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia.
With over 140 bronzes, marbles, and plasters, the distinguished collection housed in the Rodin Museum represents every phase of Auguste Rodin's career. Open to the public in 1929, this remarkable ensemble of architecture, landscape, and sculpture, designed by architect Paul Cret and landscape architect Jacques Gréber, is now restored to its original splendor. The museum and grounds offer a unique ensemble of Beaux-Arts architecture and a formal French garden in which to experience the sculpture of Auguste Rodin.
Eakins Oval is a traffic circle in Philadelphia. It forms the northwest end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway just in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, with a central array of fountains and monuments, and a network of pedestrian walkways. Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, in partnership with the Fairmount Park Conservancy, revealed the City of Philadelphia’s new “Park on the Parkway” in July 2013. The eight acres of public space located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway known as Philadelphia’s own “Avenue des Champs-Élysées,” Eakins Oval (2451 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) became The Oval, a park with community programming, events and activities.
The 72 stone steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania have become known as the "Rocky Steps" as a result of their appearance in the triple-Oscar-winning film Rocky and four of its sequels, Rocky II, III, V and Rocky Balboa, in which the eponymous character runs up the steps to the song "Gonna Fly Now". The statue of Philly boxer Rocky Balboa is located at the bottom of the stairs, and was created by A. Thomas Schomberg in1980. The Rocky Statue and the “Rocky Steps” are two of the most popular attractions in Philadelphia.
Joan of Arc Statue is a gilded bronze equestrian sculpture of Joan of Arc by Emmanuel Frémiet. Bought by the Fairmount Park Art Association in 1890, the monument was at first placed at the east end of the Girard Avenue Bridge. Unappreciated at that location, it was moved to its present one in 1959, after being given its gilt coat in the basement of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The sculpture represents Joan of Arc, a heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint, astride a horse. Her proper right hand is raised and she holds up a flag in her proper right hand. In her proper left hand she holds the reins. She is crowned with a laurel wreath and clothed in armor. A sword hangs by her proper left side. The horse is walking with its front, proper left and rear, proper right hooves raised.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art is among the largest art museums in the United States. It has collections of more than 227,000 objects that include world-class holdings of European and American paintings, prints, drawings, and decorative arts. The Perelman Building opened in 2007, and houses some of the more popular collections, as well as the Museum's library, with over 200,000 books and periodicals, and 1.6 million other documents.
Fairmount Water Works, dating to 1812, was declared a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1975, a National Historic Landmark in 1976, and a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark in 1977. The Fairmount Dam, originally constructed in 1821, is no longer used for water power, but still holds the water supply for the city's Belmont and Queen Lane Pumping Stations. The restored Old Mill House and Engine House have served since 2003 as the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center, which chronicles the 200 year history of Philadelphia's water supply and houses interactive exhibits and participatory labs on water quality. Classes for schoolchildren and public lectures are also held in the interpretive center, which doubles as the Delaware River Basin's Official Watershed Education Center and the Gateway Center for the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area. The Fairmount Water Works is also the repository for urban watershed research and the Philadelphia Water Department's green management solutions for the treatment of storm water. In 2006, the Water Works Restaurant and Lounge opened in the Engine House and Caretaker's House. The South Garden (originally designed by Frederick Graff in 1829) and Cliffside Path have also been restored and are open to the public.
In this statue, President Abraham Lincoln signs the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1866, $22,000, was raised for this statue and Randolph Rogers was commissioned to complete the work. The statue was dedicated on September 22, 1871. In 2001, the monument was relocated from a traffic island to east of the road.
Built from 1799-1801, Lemon Hill Mansion and its grounds were originally part of a 300-acre estate owned by Robert Morris. A 43-acre section, known as “The Hills,” was purchased by wealthy Philadelphia merchant, Henry Pratt, in 1799. This section included a greenhouse that contained lemon trees, and it is from those trees that Lemon Hill derived its name. The house and gardens were purchased by the city in 1844 and the house served as the home of Fiske Kimball, first director of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, from 1925-1955. It is now a historic house museum maintained by the Colonial Dames of America and the Friends of Lemon Hill.