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 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

3.  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

4.  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
5.  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

6.  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

7.  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

8.  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

9.  How can I see the First City Troop?
They are headquartered at the Armory at 21st and Ranstead Streets. Dressed in historic cavalry uniforms, they often serve as an honor guard during civic events.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 06/04/91
10.  Where does the term "Center City" come from?
Center City is a term common in Europe, but unusual in the United States. William Penn spaced his four squares equidistant from Center Square, which was where City Hall now stands.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 01/16/75
11.  Where in Philadelphia was the Chinese Wall?
It was an elevated structure at 15th and Market Streets, which supported tracks for the Pennsylvannia Railroad. Openned in December of 1881, it was demolished in 1933.

Source: Phila. Inquirer, 03/08/67
12.  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

13.  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
14.  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
15.  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
16.  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

17.  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

18.  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.
19.  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
20.  What is the origin of the Curtis Institute on Rittenhouse Square?

The Curtis Institute on Rittenhouse Square is the former home of the George W. Childs Drexel. It is located at 1724 Locust Street. It became a music school started by Mary Curtis Bok in memory of her father Cyrus Curtis. Past presidents have included Efrem Zimbalist and Rudolf Serkin.

Source: Fairmount Park, a History and Guidebook, 1974, p.157, Esther M. Klein, 917.481 K672f

21.  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.
22.  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

23.  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

24.  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

25.  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
26.  Where was Lit Brothers' Department Store in Philadelphia?
Built, or rather put together from 1850 till 1917, Lit Bros. involved over 7 stores which ran along the 700 block on Market Street in Center City. Two of the buildings were of cast-iron construction.

Source: Webster. Philadelphia Preserved. 1976, p.51,82-3.
27.  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
28.  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
29.  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

30.  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

31.  When did Pope John Paul II visit Philadelphia and perform an outdoor Mass on Logan Square in Center City?
Mass was celebrated outside the Roman Cathedral of S.S. Peter and Paul during the Pope's 21 hour vist to Philly on October 3rd. 1979.

Source: Philadelphia Inq. Millennium Philadelphia. 1999, Pp. 156,180.
32.  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.

33.  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.

34.  What is the oldest playhouse in the English-speaking world that is still in active use?
It is the Walnut Steet Theater at 9th and Walnut Streets in Philadelphia, which began life in 1809 as the New Circus. Louisa and John Drew, grandparents to the Barrymore clan, performed there, as did Edmund Kean, Fanny Kemble, and Edwin Forrest.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.336.
35.  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
36.  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
37.  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

38.  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
39.  What was the first instance of organized public transportation in Philadelphia?
It was the stagecoach line run by James Boxall,which started in 1831 and ran along Chestnut Street between 2nd and 16th Streets.

Source: Philadelphia Bulletin Almanac, 1976, p.427
40.  Where is the original manuscript to James' Joyce's Ulysses?

Dr. A.S.W. Rosenbach of Philadephia bought Ulysses in 1924 for $1,975. It is now part of the collection of the Rosenbach Museum and Library located at 2010 Delancey Street.

Source: Philadelphia Almanac and Citizen's Manual, 1995, p.19, Kenneth Finkel, 974.811 P53AA

41.  When did trains first run between Germantown and what is now Center City, Philadelphia?
In 1832 trains began to run between 9th Street in Center City and Greene Street in Germantown.

Source: Finkel. Philadelphia Almanac, 1995.
42.  What Philadelphia firm made most of the manhole covers in Center City?
S.J. Cresswell Ironworks, in business from 1870 till 1969, is the name stamped on most of the manhole covers in town. The firm began operations on Race street, but latter moved to 23rd and Cherry Streets, where its old fitting-up shed still stands.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.6:6, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o
43.  What are the boundaries of Center City, Philadelphia?

The boundaries of Center City are the Delaware River to the east, the Schuylkill River to the west, and from South to Vine Streets. These were the original boundaries for Philadelphia before the Consolidation Act of 1854.

Source: Workshop of the World: A Selective Guide to the Industrial Archeology of Philadelphia, 1990, p.6:3, The Oliver Evans Chapter of The Society for Industrial Archeology, 900 W892o