City Plan of Philadelphia - Philadelphia, PA
N 39° 57.475 W 075° 10.240
18S E 485422 N 4423100
Quick Description: Dating from 1682, the City Plan of Phila. has provided a model which has helped mold the development of cities throughout the country. Key features, many of which were firsts in the US, include a gridiron street pattern & open public squares.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 12/13/2008 1:59:31 PM
Waymark Code: WM5BHN
The City Plan of Philadelphia is a seminal creation in American city planning in that it was the first American City Plan to provide open public squares for the free enjoyment of the community and a gridiron street pattern featuring streets of varying widths: wide main streets and narrower side streets. In addition this plan was the first city plan in the United States to provide for long-term urban growth. These features inspired the planners of many cities to adopt the Philadelphia Plan as a model.
The City of Philadelphia was founded by William Penn as the Capitol of the Province of Pennsylvania. He determined that the city should be place upon the river for health purposes and easy navigation. Penn also specified that the roads and highways should be laid out first and then the lots for purchase. Thus, ensuring that they be convenient and not encroached on by builders. In the end, Penn directed that the city should extend in length from the Schuykill River to the Delaware River (approximately two miles) and about one mile in width. Thomas Holme was the Surveyor-General of the Province and city planner. He published the engraving of the city plan in London in 1683 to advertise for new emigrants to settle there.
The coordinates for this waymark were taken at Logan Square, also known as Logan Circle. It is an open-space park in Center City Philadelphia's northwest quadrant and one of the five original planned squares laid out on the city grid. This landmark is representative of all five squares and the city in general but this waymark will focus a little more on Logan Square, the place where the Landmark marker was found.
Logan Square, part of William Penn's original plan for the City of Philadelphia dates back to 1682. In the 1920s, when Benjamin Franklin Parkway was overlayed onto the City street grid, Logan Square became a traffic circle.
"46. Logan Square, Benjamin Franklin Parkway from the 18th to 20th Sts., is one of the five parks included in William Penn's original plan of Philadelphia. In the center is a large fountain surrounded by three bronze figures representing the waterways of Philadelphia: the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon. The fountain was designed by Alexander Sterling Calder, with Wilson, Eyre & McIllvaine as associate architects." --- Pennsylvania: A Guide to the Keystone State, 1940; page 278
Whether you follow the official plaque, which says "Logan Square," or the Wiki says "Logan Circle," the key feature of this plaza area is the Swann Fountain built in 1924. In present times, this fountain is the place where Philadelphia school children symbolically jump into the fountain to celebrate the beginning of Summer... a practice that has been discourage in recent years.
Key landmark buildings surround Logan Square: Free Library of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute and the Roman Catholic Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.
Since I began geocaching and waymarking a few years ago, I have discovered a significant amount of information about my home, including Philadelphia. To wit, our city was laid out hundreds of years ago and five squares were set aside as open spaces. Except for the middle square (which is where our government makes its home), all the other squares still exist, and function as parks and open spaces. They are filled with fountains, works of art and people.
One day while walking around in Logan Square (now a circle), after visiting the Art Museum, I noticed a large marker which read, "Planned 1682 Dedicated 1997 National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark The City of Philadelphia Surveyor General Thomas Holme, Governor, William Penn & Others planned the open public squares and rational street layout that we enjoy today. These original features have inspired city engineers for 300 years." Who knew I was standing in the middle of an important historical engineering landmark? I thought this was too good to pass up so a waymark was born!