City Hall

John McArthur, Jr. with Thomas U. Walter

The City Hall from the northwest--looking from the Philadelphia Museum of Art back down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Penn's original plan set aside this central square for public buildings; once the city moved westward and Independence Square lost its centrality, this huge municipal building was constructed. According to Access Philadelphia with "more than 600 rooms, 14 entrances, and 14.5 acres of floor space, it is the largest municipal building in the world" (71). A central courtyard occupies the center of the building, accessed by arched entrances on all four sides. Crowning the building is a 548 foot tower topped by Alexander Milne Calder's statue of William Penn (at 37 feet tall). Calder also created the other sculpture on the building as well--more than 250 examples, some allegorical figures.

The City Hall from the south--looking up South Broad Street


The 548 foot tower

The tower is granite up to the clock but is painted cast iron above.

View from the west


Second Empire style

The facade is ornate with projecting corner pavilions, mansard roof with dormer windows, curved and broken pediments, paired columns on the corner windows as well as on the entrance pavilions, and prolific sculptural decoration. The facade is granite or brick faced with white marble.

Work Cited:
Access Philadelphia. HarperCollins, 2008.

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© 2008 Mary Ann Sullivan. I have photographed (on site), scanned, and manipulated all the images on these pages. Please feel free to use them for personal or educational purposes. They are not available for commercial purposes.