Free Library of Philadelphia
1.  What was the tallest building in America from 1901 until 1908?
City Hall in Philadelphia, Pa. was the tallest during that time period.

Source: WPEN radio trivia, 5/85
2.  Who designed the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, and when was it opened?

Eastern State Penitentiary, located at 21st Street and Fairmount Avenue, was designed by John Haviland. It was constructed from 1823-1836.

Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.217-218, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

3.  Who designed the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia?

Julian Francis Abele designed the Central Library. He was the chief designer on a team of architects put together by Horace Trumbauer. The building was constructed between 1917 and 1927.

Source: Philadelphia architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.101, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

4.  What is the origin of "Lucy the Elephant," the famous building in Margate, N.J.?
The elephant building was an attraction at the Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876, and was moved to Margate in 1882 as a real estate promotion. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Source: Phila. Evening Bulletin, 4/29/48
5.  What turn-of-the-century Philadelphia edifice is encrusted with sculpture, took 15 years to build, and cost an inordinate amount of money?
The Smith Memorial Arch in West Fairmount Park, Philadelphia. The monument cost $500,000 to build, and was finished in 1912.

Source: ArtiQue, Feb. 10, 1994, p. 13
6.  What was the first Philadelphia building to be built higher than the statue of William Penn on top of City Hall?

The "gentlemen's agreement" kept all of Philadelphia's buildings lower than the top of Alexander Milne Calder's statue of Penn on top of City Hall. However, in the 1980s the "gentlemen's agreement" was broken with the construction of the LibertyPlacePlazaby Chicago's Helmut Jahn.

Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.v, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

7.  When did the building currently housing the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia open?
The building at 19th and Vine Streets, setback from Logan Square, was designed by Horace Trumbauer's architectural firm, and opened on June 2, 1927.

Source: GI Vertical File, Free Library -- Fact Sheet, March 1961
8.  Why isn't City Hall the tallest building in Philadelphia anymore?
Until 1987, a "gentlemen's agreement" prevented any Center City Philadelphia building from rising above the statue of William Penn. In that year, Mayor W. Wilson Goode endorsed the development of One Liberty Place, which broke the barrier.

Source: Philadelphia--City Hall--See it, Use it, Love it
9.  Which are some of the tallest buildings in Philadelphia?
One Liberty Place, 945 ft; Two Liberty Place, 809 ft; Mellon Bank Center, 792 ft; Bell Atlantic Tower, 725 ft; Blue Cross Tower, 625 ft; City Hall, 548 ft.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 3/26/89
10.  Who designed Philadelphia's Mellon Bank Center?

The Mellon Bank Center, located at 1735 Market Street, was designed by Kohn Pedersen Fox in 1990.

Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.162, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

11.  When was the Curtis Center of Philadelphia built?

The Curtis Center, located on 6th Street between Walnut and Sansom, was built in 1910 by Edgar V. Seeler. The Curtis Center was once the Curtis Building which was the home of the Saturday Evening Post and Ladies Home Journal.

Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.40-41, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

12.  Who designed the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society building?

The first headquarters of the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society building was located at 306 Walnut Street, and it was designed by Thomas U. Walter with construction from 1839 to 1840. The second headquarters was designed by the firm of Sloan and Hutton 1868-69, and it was located at 700-710 Walnut Street. It was expanded by Hutton from 1885 to 1886, and again by Furness from 1897 to 1898. The new headquarters was constructed from 1930-1932, and it is located at 12 South 12th Street. George Howe and William Lescaze designed the first International style skyscraper in the country.

Source: Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.50,62,108, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

13.  Who designed One Liberty Place in Philadelphia?

One Liberty Place was built by the Murphy/ Jahn architectural firm in 1987. Helmut Jahn, a Chicago based architect, designed the building. It is a 61 story tower that is 860 feet tall. It is the tallest building in Philadelphia. It is located at 1650 Market Street.

Source: Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.132-133, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A, See Also the Murphy/ Jahn Inc. website

14.  What was the original name of the Inquirer Building at Broad and Spring Garden Streets?

It was called the Elverson Building, which was a 1924 application of the Italian Renaissance style to a tall commercial structure.

Source: Philadelphia Preserved, 1981, p.291, Richard J. Webster, 720.9748 P53PR2

15.  What is the history of the Japanese House in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia?

The reconstructed 16th century Japanese House with garden, designed by Junzo Yoshimura, was a gift made to the Fairmount Park Art Association by the America Japan Society in 1958. It replaced the 300 year old Temple Gate which was destroyed by fire.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.46, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

16.  Along Kelly Drive in the East Falls area is a house with a sign which reads

Tiles that circled the Undine Barge Club fireplace contained representative scenes from the Rhine River's 'Legend of Undine'. The club continued the Germanic traditions by naming the up-river clubhouse 'Castle Ringstetten', the home of Prince Huldebrand in the Undine Legend.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.57, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

17.  What is the Strawberry Mansion for which this neighborhood of Philadelphia is named?
It is a large federal house built in 1798 by William Lewis. Later Joseph Hemphill added two neoclassical wings. And yes, strawberries were grown there. It is now part of Fairmount Park.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.77, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
18.  What are "flying stairways"?
They are stairways without any visible means of support. There are 4 such 6-story tall stairways in the corners of City Hall in Philadelphia. The steps are cantilevered from the wall, with weight resting on the step below.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.98, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
19.  When was the Philadelphia Museum of Art built?
It was built between 1919 and 1937. Like the ancient Greek temples it emulates, its walls are slightly convex, as are the 94 steps of the stairway at its front.

Source: FWP. Philadelphia; A Guide to the Nation's Birthplace. 1937, p.361-363.
20.  Upon what French neoclassical building is the Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia based?

The facade of the Central Library resembles the Gabriel Palaces on Place de la Concorde in Paris.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.105-106, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

21.  Who designed the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia?
It was designed by John T. Windrim and finished in 1934. It is based on the Deutsches Museum in Munich, Germany.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.205, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
22.  When did the Academy of Natural Sciences move to its present site on Logan Square?
The Academy moved to Logan Square in 1876, making it one of the older buildings on the Square.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.110, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
23.  In 1876, how much did it cost to build the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (located on Broad Street in Philadelphia)?
It cost $543,000; $370,000 was raised by Jasper Claghorn, $33,000 was a bequest from Henry Gilpin, $140,000 was raised by the sale of property, and the rest came from smaller donations.

Source: Henderson, Helen. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 1911
24.  What is the Frankford Arsenal?
On 20 acres between Frankford Creek and the Delaware River, the Arsenal was first activated in 1816 as a depot for ammunition. By 1840 it was involved in producing and developing ordinance. In 1977 it shut down and became a business center.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.15:14-16, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o
25.  What church in Rome, Italy served as the model for the Roman Catholic Cathedral of S.S. Peter and Paul which stands on Logan Square and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia?

This large structure, which was built from 1846-64, is based on the Lombard Church of St. Charles. Napoleon Le Brun and George Notman designed it, putting a vaulted ceiling 80 feet above the seating capacity for 2,000.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.112, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

26.  What is the first building owned by the United States Government?

First building erected in the United States for public use under the authority of the federal government was the structure for the U.S. Mint located at 7th Street near Arch in Philadelphia. It was established by the Act of April 2, 1792.

Source: Famous First Facts: A Record of First Happenings, Discoveries, and Inventions in American History, 1997, p.98, Joseph Nathan Kane, 031.02 K132F 5th ED

27.  Where is the oldest unaltered Lutheran church in the United States?
The oldest unaltered Lutheran Church in the United States is the Augustus Lutheran Church in Trappe, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1743.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.95, 917.481 B87 1976
28.  What is the Athenaeum on Washington Square in Philadelphia?

Founded as a literary society and library in 1814, the Athenaeum moved into its present John Notman-designed Italianate Renaissance Revival building in 1947.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.151, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

29.  In Philadelphia, what building has a facade based on that of the Parthenon (a Greek temple from the 5th century B.C)?

The Second National Bank of the United States, which was designed by William Strickland, has a facade based on the Parthenon. It still stands at 420 Chestnut Street.



Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.235.
30.  Where in Philadelphia is Cliveden?
It is a mansion, built in 1761 by Benjamin Chew, at 6401 Germantown Avenue. It was at the epicenter of the Battle of Germantown during the Revolutionary War. It is now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.131, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
31.  Where did Thomas Jefferson write much of The Declaration of Independence?
Thomas Jefferson was living at Graff House, at 7th and Market Streets in Philadelphia, when he wrote the first draft of the Declaration.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.267, 917.481 B87 1976
32.  What is the origin of the building which houses the Philadelphia Art Alliance on South 18th Street?
It was built for the family of Samuel Wetherill in 1906. Frank Miles Day was the architect. In 1925 it became the home of the Art Alliance.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.156, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
33.  Is there any relic of St. Patrick in Philadelphia?
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church on 20th and Locust Streets in Philadelphia has for a cornerstone a rock from Armagh, Ireland, from which St. Patrick is said to have preached.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.284.
34.  Who drew up the building plans for Independence Hall?

Independence Hall, formerly known as the State House, was originally designed by Andrew Hamilton. Hamilton worked in collaboration with Edmund Wooley, a member of the Carpenter's Company, until Hamilton's death. The State House was conceived as a five-part plan based on the Palladian principle of two secondary buildings linked to a main block by arcades.

Source: Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.24, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

35.  What Greek structure is the Second Bank of the United States modeled after, and who was the architect?

The Second Bank of the United States was designed by William Strickland. In 1818 he won the competition for the design of the building. The design of the two porticoes of the Second Bank of the United States is taken from the Parthenon in Greece. The Second Bank of the United States is located at 420 Chestnut Street, and was built from 1818 to 1824.

Source: Penn's Great Town: 250 Years of Philadelphia Architecture Illustrated in Prints and Drawings, 1961, p.65-66, George B. Tatum, 720.9748 T189P, and Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.35, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

36.  When was Carpenters' Hall built?

Carpenters' Hall was built by the Carpenters' Company. The Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia were a group of master builder that joined together in 1774. The Hall, located at 320 Chestnut Street, is a part of Independence National Historic Park because the First Continental Congress met there in 1774. The building was mainly designed by Robert Smith, a respected member of the Company, and it was built from 1770-1774. It is located at 320 Chestnut Street between 3rd and 4th Streets.

Source: Philadelphia Folklife Resources: A Guide to Local Folk Traditions, 1991, p.19, Jennifer Michael, shelved with 361.8, and An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.69-70, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

37.  What are the four oldest historically significant buildings in Philadelphia?

The four oldest historically significant buildings in Philadelphia are the Wyck, built in 1690; the Wynnestay, built in 1690 or earlier; the Gloria Dei Church, built in 1700; and the Rittenhouse House, built in 1707 and part of Rittenhouse Town.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.300, 917.481 B87 1976

38.  Where is Wynnestay?

Wynnestay is located at 5125 Woodbine Avenue. It was built in 1689 on the property of Dr. Thomas Wynne, William Penn's personal physician and speaker of the Provincial Assembly in 1683.

Source: Philadelphia Preserved, 1981, p.219, Richard J. Webster, 720.9748 P53pr2

39.  Franklin helped raise funds for what famous Philadelphia church?
Christ Church, which stands on 2nd just north of Market Street, was built between 1727 and 1754. Benjamin Franklin organized three lotteries to provide funds for its completion. It is now a National Shrine.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.293, 917.481 B87 1976
40.  Just how old is Elfreth's Alley?
The alley itself, originally known as Gilbert's Alley, was created in 1702-4. Jeremiah Elfreth, a blacksmith, later acquired a large portion of the land surrounding the alley, through marriage. Most of the original homes still remain occupied today.

Source: Philadelphia Preserved, 1981, p.51-52, Richard J. Webster, 720.9748 P53pr2
41.  When was the Philadelphia Bourse built?
The Bourse, between 4th and 5th on Ludlow and Ranstead Sts, was constructed in 1893-5 in imitation of European stock-exchanges.

Source: Philadelphia Preserved, 1981, p.89, Richard J. Webster, 720.9748 P53pr2
42.  What is notable about Portico Row, a series of row houses on the 900 block of Spruce Street in Philadelphia?
Thomas Walters designed these Greek Revival structures in 1831-33. It was the first time such grand design, with porticos supported by marble Ionic columns, was applied to row houses.

Source: Philadelphia Preserved, 1981, p.141-142, Richard J. Webster, 720.9748 P53pr2
43.  When was Grumpblethorpe (at 5267 Germantown Avenue) built?
It was built in 1744 by John Wister, an immigrant from Germany in 1727 who had made money as a wine merchant. It was built of Wissahickon Schist which is dressed in front, but left as rubble on the sides and rear.

Source: Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.25, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53a
44.  What is the oldest house in Germantown?

The original portion of the house known as the Wyck Mansion was built beginning in 1690, and it is the oldest structure in Germantown. It is located at 6026 Germantown Avenue on the southwest corner of Walnut Lane. In 1824 William Strickland was hired to remodel the house.

Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Philadelphia, 1999, p.162, Francis Morrone, 720.9748 M834A

45.  What is the height of City Hall (i.e., to the top of William Penn's hat)?
The top of William Penn's hat on top of City Hall is 548 feet above street level. The William Penn statue is thirty-seven feet tall.

Source: Philadelphia's City Hall, 2003, p. 8, Allen M. Hornblum, 974.811 H783P
46.  When was the Philadelphia Convention Center on Race Street built?

The Philadelphia Convention Center from Arch to Race Street and 11th to 13th street was opened in 1993. There is 440,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Source: Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.139, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53a

47.  Who designed Philadelphia's City Hall, and in what style is it designed?

City Hall was designed by John McArthur Jr., at Scottish architect. It was designed in the Second Empire Style, modeled after the Palais des Tuileries and the Louvre in Paris.

Source: Philadelphia's City Hall, 2003, p. 7-8, Allen M. Hornblum, 974.811 H783P

48.  What Smithsonian museum was constructed to exhibit materials acquired from the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia?
The Arts and Industries Building was built for this purpose.

Source: Philadelphia CultureFest Trivia Quiz Questions
49.  Where was the first documented botanical garden in the United States?
It was naturalist John Bartram's, started in Philadelphia in about 1728. His house, with a garden, still stands at 54th Street and Eastwick Avenue.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.330
50.  Who designed the Philadelphia's Academy of Music?

The architect for the Academy of Music was Napoleon LeBrun. For acoustical purposes, the auditorium is designed after the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Italy.

Source: Within These Walls: A History of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, 1984, p.18, 33, John Francis Marion, 780.9748 Ac12m, See Also the Academy of Music website.

51.  What was the first permanent home of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange?
It was the Merchant Exchange Building at 3rd and Walnut Streets. The building's impressive Greek Revival facade was designed by William Strickland. The Exchange was housed there from 1834 till 1876, then from 1902 till 1911.

Source: Bulletin Almanac and Yearbook, 1976, p.372, 917.481 B87 1976
52.  What is the origin of the Union League of Philadelphia?
It was a patriotic venture formed in 1862. During the Civil War it raised over half a million dollars in support of the North. In 1865 it moved into its present location at Broad and Sansom Streets.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.373
53.  What was the original name of Fort Mifflin?
When the building of Fort Mifflin began in 1772, it was called Fort Mud. During the Revolution General Thomas Mifflin saw to its completion, and it was renamed in his honor. It is located on the Delaware River just below the mouth of the Schuylkill.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.383
54.  What became of Fort Mifflin after the Revolutionary War?
It was rebuilt in 1798, and was used in both the War of 1812 and the Civil War. It has been restored and can be visited.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin ALmanac, 1976, p.383
55.  Where in Germantown, now part of Philadephia, did George Washington live?
He stayed at the Deshler-Morris House at 5442 Germantown Avenue. It was built in 1772; Washington lived there in 1793 and 1798. It was bought by Samuel Morris in 1834, and remained in that family untill 1948, when it became a National Historic Site.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac,1976, p.413
56.  What is the Edgar Allan Poe House?
It is the last house occupied by Poe during his stay in Philadelphia. It is now a museum open to the public, located at 532 N. 7th Street.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Allmanac, 1976, p. 437
57.  In Philadelphia, what does it mean if a house is referred to as a "Trinity" or a "Father, Son and Holy Ghost."
This would mean a compact three-story house, with one room per story, which was built in the 18th, 19th or early 20th century.

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, 7/28/75
58.  Besides Carpenters' Hall, what else did Robert Smith design in Philadelphia?

Besides Carpenters’ Hall, Robert Smith designed the Christ Church steeple and St. Peter’s Church located at 3rd and Pine Streets.

Source: Philadelphia Architecture: A Guide to the City, 1994, p.26, 142, John Andrew Gallery, 720.9748 P53A

59.  What was the first modern skyscraper in Philadelphia?
It was the PSFS Building, designed by George Howe and William Lecaze, and then constructed by the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society in 1932. Standing at 12th and Market Streets, it rose 36-stories high, and was topped by a lighted sign reading PSFS.

Source: Philadelphia Inq., 12/12/1992
60.  Generals Washington and Lafayette both dined at what colonial mansion that still stands at Germantown Avenue and Johnson Street in Philadelphia?
That would be Cliveden, which served as headquarters for the British during the Battle of Germantown, but which was later restored by Blair McClenachan, who hosted Washington in 1787 and Lafayette in 1825.

Source: Thomas. Mount Airy in Philadelphia
61.  What are some of the buildings in Philadelphia which were designed by Frank Furness?

Frank Furness designed: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts at Broad and Cherry Streets; Centennial National Bank at 32nd and Market St; Graver's Lane Station and Reading Railroad; Undine Barge Club part of Boathouse Row on East River Drive, or Kelly Drive; and the University of Pennsylvania at 34th and Woodland Avenue.

Source: The Architecture of Frank Furness, 1987, p.200-202, 204, James F. O'Gorman, 720.973 F98102

62.  What is Memorial Hall?

Memorial Hall was the art gallery of the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, and it is one of the few buildings from the Exposition that still stand in Fairmount Park. It stands as a monument to the celebration of the nation's industrial achievements in the first one hundred years.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.11:7, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

63.  Who designed the first Fairmount Water Works?
Frederick Graff designed the first stage of the Fairmount Water Works, which was built between 1812 and 1815.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.17, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f
64.  What was the first Shot Tower in the United States called, and why was it built?

The Sparks Shot Tower was built to fill a need for lead shot created by the 1807 Embargo Act. In 1808 it began manufacturing lead shot for sporting purposes, and during the war of 1812 they began supplying the military with lead shot. The process of manufacturing shot consisted of molten lead was poured through screens at the top of the tower. As the drops of hot lead fell they were cooled and hardened into pellets. They went through the final cooling process in vats of water at the base of the tower. When the shot was cooled it was then screened, polished, sorted, and packed in the main building.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.1:6, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

65.  What is the nation's oldest female art college in continuous existence?

The Moore College of Art was founded by Sara Worthington Pepter in 1844. In 1921 the College moved to its present location on Logan Square and 20th Street in Philadelphia.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.111-112, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

66.  Where along the Wissahickon Creek is

"The Monastery" was originally the home of Joseph Gorgas who was a member of the Society of Brethren, or Dunkers of Germantown. He was a Dunker, and many of their baptisms were held there. It is now a part of Fairmount Park.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.123, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

67.  What building in Philadelphia houses a detailed scaled model of the 1876 Centennial Exhibition?

It is housed in Philadelphia in the basement of Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.11:7, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o

68.  When was the Academy of Music built?

The ground breaking for the Academy of Music took place on June 18, 1855, and the corner stone was laid July 26, 1855. On January 26, 1857 a grand ball was held to celebrate the opening of the Academy of Music. The first opera, Il Trovatore, was performed on February 25, 1857.

Source: Within These Walls: A History of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, 1984, p.37-38, 41, 44, John Francis Marion, 780.9748 Ac12m, See Also the Academy of Music website.