Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as "Philly" or "the City of Brotherly Love") is the sixth-most-populous city in the United States and the most populous city in the state of Pennsylvania, occupying all of Philadelphia County.6 As of the 2000 census, the population was 1,517,550. A July 1, 2002 census estimate showed the population dropping modestly to 1,492,231, with Phoenix, Arizona surpassing the city proper as the 5th largest city in the United States, but the Philadelphia metropolitan area retains its fourth-place position nationally, with some 5.7 million people. Philadelphia is the central city for the Delaware Valley metropolitan area.
Philadelphia is one of the oldest cities in the United States. It has played a critical role in American history and the birth of American independence and democracy. During part of the 18th century, the city was the second capital and then-most-populous city of the United States. At that time, it eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance, with Benjamin Franklin playing an extraordinary role in Philadelphia's rise.
|City nickname: "City of Brotherly Love"|
|Founded||October 27, 1682|
|Mayor||John F. Street (Dem)|
349.9 km² (135.1 mi²)
19.6 km² (7.6 mi²) 5.29%
- City (2004)
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5|
Table of contents
Before Europeans arrived, the Delaware (Lenape) Indian town of Shackamaxon was located where Philadelphia now stands. In 1669, Swedish colonists became the first Europeans to settle the area (see New Sweden), calling it Wicoca. A congregation was formed in 1646 on Tinicum Island by Swedish missionary Johannes Campanius. In 1700, the group built the Gloria Dei Church, also known as Old Swedes'.
Philadelphia is a planned city founded and developed by William Penn, a Quaker. The city's name means "city of brotherly love" in ancient Greek. Penn hoped that the city, as the capital of his new colony founded on principles of freedom and religious tolerance, would be a model of this philosophy. During early immigration by Quakers and others, when immigrants purchased land in the city, they also received farm land outside of the city. This was intended to allow the city's population to leave the city easily. Penn also required lots of alleyways and open spaces in hopes of controlling fires and disease (which were then common problems in London).
In 1790, the seat of the United States Government was moved from Federal Hall in New York to Congress Hall in Philadelphia as the result of a compromise between a number of Southern congressmen and United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. In exchange for locating a permanent capital on the banks of the Potomac River, the congressmen agreed to support Hamilton's financial proposals. Philadelphia served as the temporary capital for a decade, until 1800, when the Capitol building in the new Federal city of Washington, DC was opened.
An early railroad center, Philadelphia was the original home of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the world's largest builder of steam locomotives (which relocated to nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania). The Pennsylvania Railroad, once America's largest railroad by revenue and traffic volume and at one time the largest public corporation in the world, was headquartered on Broad Street, as was its merger successor, the Penn Central.
In 1926, the city held the Sesquicentennial Exposition, but Philadelphia was not the central focus of the Bicentennial observances that took place nationwide in the United States in 1976 (New York City held this distinction, as thousands of "tall ships" gathered in New York Harbor on July 4, 1976, the 200th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence).
Street layout of central Philadelphia
Penn's surveyor, Thomas Holme, laid out the city in a strict grid, with all streets running either north-south or east-west. The north-south streets are numbered sequentially from Front (instead of First), along the Delaware River, to 13th, followed by the main north-south thoroughfare, Broad Street (instead of 14th).
The numbered streets then resume, continuing in the original plan to 28th at the Schuylkill River. The east-west streets, many of them named for trees, e.g., Chestnut, Walnut, Locust, and Spruce (These are laid out in increasing Hardness from the Soft-wood Pine in the South to the Hard-wood Chestnut in the North) parallel the main thoroughfare named High Street by Penn, but called Market Street since at least the early 18th century (six blocks south of the latter is South Street, noted in recent decades for its raucous night life and the subject of the 1963 hit single by The Orlons of the same name). He also planned five public parks, one at the intersection of High and Broad Streets in the very center of the city (now occupied by the City Hall) and four others (now called Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, Logan Square and Franklin Square) surrounding it. The eastern edge of Rittenhouse Square is on 18th St., four blocks west of City Hall, while the western edge of Washington Square is between 7th and 8th, about six and a half blocks east of City Hall. Both are the same distance south of City Hall. City Hall is the tallest masonry building in the world; and through the late 1980s, City Hall used to be locally known as the tallest building in Philadelphia. However in March of 1987, One Liberty Place broke the gentlemen's agreement not to exceed the height of the statue of William Penn on the top of the City Hall. Since then, seven other skyscrapers have been completed exceeding the statue, including One Liberty Place's little sister, Two Liberty Place. One Liberty Place is the tallest building not only in Philadelphia but in the entire state of Pennsylvania, however in 2005 construction began on the Comcast Center which, when completed in 2007, will be 30 feet taller than One Liberty Place. Since the completion of One Liberty Place, no Philadelphia sporting team has won a world championship event in its discipline, a phenomenon locally – and increasingly nationally – known as the "Curse of Billy Penn." There is also a Masonic Temple located only across the street from the City Hall, a legacy of the Founding Fathers and signers of the Declaration of Independence, many of whom were Freemasons.
Rittenhouse Square is named after David Rittenhouse, a descendent of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, the German immigrant William Rittenhouse. William Rittenhouse's original paper mill site is known as Rittenhousetown, and is a delightful rural setting in Fairmount Park. David Rittenhouse was a clockmaker and friend of the American Revolution.
Downtown is known as "Center City."
The city limits have been coterminous with Philadelphia County since 1854. Prior to that, the city of Philadelphia consisted only of those areas between South Street, Vine Street, the Delaware River, and the Schuylkill River.
The city is headed by an elected mayor who is limited to two consecutive four-year terms, but can run for the position again after an intervening term. The incumbent is former Philadelphia City Council President John Street (D), who was first elected in 1999. He was re-elected by a larger majority in 2003.
See also: List of mayors of Philadelphia
The legislative branch of Philadelphia is the Philadelphia City Council. Philadelphia has seven council members at large, and ten council members from districts. The current council president is Anna C. Verna.
The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, is the trial court of general jurisdiction for Philadelphia. It is funded and operated largely by City resources and employees.
The Philadelphia Municipal Court handles matters of limited jurisdiction as well as landlord-tenant disputes, appeals from traffic court, conducts preliminary examinations for felony-level offenses, and the like.
Traffic Court is a court of special jurisdiction which hears violations of traffic laws.
Pennsylvania's three appellate courts have chambers in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments in Philadelphia City Hall. Also, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sit in Philadelphia several times a year.
Judges for all of the above courts are elected at large.
Philadelphia's economy is heavily based upon manufacturing, refining, food, and financial services. Philadelphia has its own stock exchange.
The Federal government plays a large role in Philadelphia as well. The east-coast operations of the United States Mint are based near the historic district, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Philadelphia division is based there as well.
Because of the large presence of the federal government, the city has a large contingent of law firms including the head quarters of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP-- a world-wide firm and federal contractor.
Philadelphia is located at 39°59'53" North, 75°8'41" West (39.998012, -75.144793)1.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 369.4 km² (142.6 mi²). 349.9 km² (135.1 mi²) of it is land and 19.6 km² (7.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.29% water. Bodies of water include the Schuylkill River, Cobbs Creek, Wissahickon Creek, and Pennypack Creek.
Philadelphia is unofficially divided into numerous neighborhoods. These include Andorra, Roxborough, Northern Liberties, Old City, Bustleton, Somerton, Manayunk, Center City, Queen Village, Kensington, Frankford, University City, Strawberry Mansion, Chestnut Hill, Fishtown, Port Richmond, Germantown, Mount Airy, Wynnefield,Chinatown, Fox Chase, South Philly, Society Hill, the Museum District and many others.
For a more extensive list of Philadelphia neighborhoods, see List of Philadelphia neighborhoods.
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 1,517,550 people, 590,071 households, and 352,272 families residing in the city. The population density is 4,337.3/km² (11,233.6/mi²). There are 661,958 housing units at an average density of 1,891.9/km² (4,900.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 45.02% White, 43.22% African American, 0.27% Native American, 4.46% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.77% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. 8.50% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race. The ethnic makeup of the city is 43.2% Black, 13.6% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 8.1% German, 6.4% Puerto Rican, and 4.3% Polish.
Of the 590,071 households, 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% are married couples living together, 22.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% are non-families. 33.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.48 and the average family size is 3.22.
In the city the population is spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $30,746, and the median income for a family is $37,036. Males have a median income of $34,199 versus $28,477 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,509. 22.9% of the population and 18.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 31.3% of those under the age of 18 and 16.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Philadelphia is served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA. SEPTA runs buses, trains, subways, trolleys, and trackless trolleys around Philadelphia and into the suburbs.
PATCO provides subway service to Camden, Collingswood, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Ashland, and Lindenwold, New Jersey, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.
Two airports, Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, reside within the city limits (Philadelphia International also lies in the city limits of Tinicum Township, Delaware County). Philadelphia International Airport provides domestic and international scheduled air service, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport serves general and corporate aviation.
Interstate 95 (the Delaware Expressway) runs directly through the city along the Delaware River, providing transportation from Florida to Maine.
The city is also served by Interstate 76 (the Schuylkill Expressway) which runs along the Schuylkill River. It meets with the Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia and provides access to Harrisburg and points west.
Interstate 676, the Vine Street Expressway, was completed in 1991 after years of planning as a link between I-95 and I-76. It runs beneath city level through Center City, and connects to the Ben Franklin Bridge at its east end.
Roosevelt Boulevard and the Roosevelt Expressway (US 1) is a major avenue connecting Northeast Philadelphia with Center City (Downtown). The boulevard was originally built for the Lincoln Highway as part of the City Beautiful movement. In recent years, however, it has become a giant bottleneck for traffic, and the #2 and #3 worst intersections in the country (according to a study by State Farm Insurance) can be found on this road about a mile from each other.
The Woodhaven Expressway (PA 63), serving the neighborhood of Northeast Philadelphia, runs between Interstate 95 and Roosevelt Boulevard (US 1). There were plans to extend the highway further west into the suburbs, but community opposition has halted any future construction.
The Delaware River Port Authority operates three bridges in Philadelphia over the Delaware River to New Jersey: the Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 and US 30), and the Betsy Ross Bridge (NJ 90). The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge connects PA 73 with NJ 73, and is maintained by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.
Numerous other freeways have been planned and cancelled, such as an Interstate 695 running southwest from downtown, and a freeway upgrade of Roosevelt Boulevard.
Philadelphia was an early railroad hub. The following railroads, almost all radiating from downtown, were built in the mid-19th century:
- 1832: Philadelphia, Germantown and Norristown Railroad
- 1834: Delaware and Schuylkill Railroad (only in downtown)
- 1834: Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (later Pennsylvania Railroad main line)
- 1834: Philadelphia and Trenton Railroad
- 1834: Camden and Amboy Railroad
- 1835: Southwark Railroad (only in downtown)
- 1835?: Philadelphia and Reading Railroad
- 1837: Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad
- 1839: Camden and Woodbury Railroad
- 1850: relocation of Philadelphia and Columbia Railroad (later Pennsylvania Railroad main line)
- 1854: West Chester and Philadelphia Railroad
People and culture of Philadelphia
Distinctive Philadelphian dishes include:
- Cheesesteaks, a kind of humble culinary masterpiece, made of cheese (usually either Cheez Wiz(tm), provolone or American) and slices of fried ribeye steak on a hoagie roll, sometimes combined with onions or mushrooms
- Hoagies — a sandwich made with cold cuts on an Italian roll
- Scrapple — corn meal mush cooked up with every part (scrap) of the pig
- Italian ice (Water Ice)-- a frozen dessert, similar to a slushie except stiffer
- Soft pretzel — thick, doughy pretzels, generally salted, often served with mustard
Philadelphia has a large Italian American population along with Irish-Americans, Asian-Americans, African Americans, and growing numbers of Hispanic residents and émigrés from Russia and Asian countries. The "Italian Market" section of South Philadelphia is home to an increasing number of Vietnamese residents.
Notable residents and natives
For a list of famous past and present resident of Philadelphia, see: List of people from Philadelphia.
Philadelphia has been home to many people of note, the most famous of whom is probably Ben Franklin, who along with the others in the Continental Congresses helped shape the city along with the country and the world.
Its cultural diversity is reflected in the music and musicians that have come from or through Philadelphia: the R&B styles of Jill Scott and Patti LaBelle, the jazz of Grover Washington Jr. and Stan Getz, the rock of Pink, the rap of Will Smith, and the opera of Marian Anderson.
List of museums
- Atwater-Kent Municipal Museum
- Barnes Foundation
- Edgar Allan Poe House
- Fairmount Waterworks and its interpretive center
- Fort Mifflin
- Franklin Institute
- Liberty Bell & Independence Hall
- Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (museum of medical and pathological oddities and curiosities)
- National Constitution Center
- Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Please Touch Museum
- Rodin Museum (largest collection of Auguste Rodin's works outside France)
- Rosenbach Foundation & Rosenbach Museum
- University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
- 30th Street Station
- Betsy Ross House
- Philadelphia City Hall
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- Elfreth's Alley
- Fairmount Park
- Gloria Dei National Historic Site, built in 1700, it is the oldest church in the state.
- Italian market
- LOVE Park
- One Liberty Place
- Penn's Landing
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Reading Terminal Market
- Rittenhouse Square
- SEPTA Museum
- South Street
- For a traditional Philadelphia cheesesteak – Tony Luke's, Pat's Steaks or Geno's Steaks
- The Mummers Parade, held every New Year's Day on Broad Street
- The Greek Picnic, a reunion and celebration of African-American college fraternities
- Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Parade
- The Wing Bowl, a chicken wing-eating competition
- Philadelphia Flower Show
- Philadelphia Auto Show
Colleges and universities in Philadelphia
- Moore College of Art
- The Resturant School
- The Art Institute of Philadelphia
- Chestnut Hill College
- Curtis Institute of Music
- Drexel University
- Holy Family University
- La Salle University
- Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
- Philadelphia University
- Saint Joseph's University
- Temple University
- Thomas Jefferson University
- University of the Arts
- University of the Sciences in Philadelphia
- University of Pennsylvania
Colleges and universities near Philadelphia include
- Bryn Mawr College, located in Bryn Mawr
- Eastern University, located in St. Davids
- Rosemont College, Bryn Mawr
- Haverford College, Haverford
- Neumann College, Aston
- Villanova University, Villanova
- Swarthmore College, Swarthmore
- Widener University, Chester
- University of Delaware, located just outside Pennsylvania in Newark, Delaware.
Professional sports in Philadelphia
Philadelphia has a long and proud history of professional sports teams. Philadelphia sports fans have a reputation of being devoted to their teams in good times and bad. Of late Philadelphia teams have been performing well, but frequently missing championships by failing during the crucial stages.
- football: Philadelphia Eagles (National Football League)
- Baseball: Philadelphia Phillies (Major League Baseball)
- Basketball: Philadelphia 76ers (National Basketball Association)
- hockey: Philadelphia Flyers (National Hockey League), Philadelphia Phantoms (American Hockey League)
- Arena football: Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League)
- Indoor lacrosse: Philadelphia Wings (National Lacrosse League)
- Indoor soccer: Philadelphia Kixx (Major Indoor Soccer League)
In the past Philadelphia has also been home to the Philadelphia Athletics (MLB, now the Oakland Athletics), and the Philadelphia Warriors (NBA, now the Golden State Warriors). The city's original NFL team was the Frankford Yellow Jackets (Frankford being a section of the city located in the northeastern part of town); the club disbanded during the 1931 football season, then re-emerged under the same ownership two years later as the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and 76ers have each recently had a new stadium built for them. The Eagles now play at Lincoln Financial Field (informally known as "The Linc"). The Phillies now play in Citizens Bank Park (a.k.a. "The Park," "The Zit," "The Vault" or in a Freudian error, "The Vet", from the Eagles' and Phillies' last home, Veterans Stadium). The Sixers and Flyers share the Wachovia Center with the Soul and Wings. The Wachovia Spectrum is now home to the Flyers' top farm team, the Phantoms and the Major League Indoor soccer team, the Kixx.
See also:Philadelphia in film and television
- City of Philadelphia official website
- A guide for Philadelphia visitors and entertainment
- Shopping, Eating, and Hotels. Pics of the City
- Independence Hall
- Betsy Ross House
- Daily News and Phila. Inquirer Official Webpage
- Penn's Landing
- Gloria Dei Church
- Philly Future – Philly Bloggers and Citizen Media
- Public art in Philadelphia
- Maps and aerial photos