Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Philadelphia

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Plate X. PHILADELPHIA, the chief city of Pennsylvania, and the second city in the United States of America, is situated (39° 57' 7.5" N. lat., 75° 9' 23.4" W. long.) on the west bank of the Delaware river, 96 miles from the Atlantic and in a direct line 125 miles north-east of Washington, D.C., and 85 miles south-west of the city of New York. Its greatest length north-north-east is 22 miles, its breadth from 5 to 10 miles, and its area 82,603 acres, or about 129 square miles (greater than that of any other city in America). The surface of the city between the rivers Delaware and Schuylkill — the latter running parallel with the Delaware and dividing the city about in half, east and west — is remarkably level. It varies, however, in elevation from 24½ feet above the sea to 440 feet, the latter in the northern and suburban sections. The eastern and western sections of the city are connected by eight bridges. The length of river-front on the Delaware is nearly 20 miles, and the length of wharves 5 miles. On both sides of the Schuylkill, to Fairmount dam, the front is 16 miles and the length of wharves 4 miles. The mean low-water mark of the Delaware is 24 feet, and the tide rises 6 feet, while the average depth of water at the city wharves is 50 feet. The wharf-line, which varies from 14 feet to 68 feet, gives extraordinary accommodation for shipping. The Delaware is navigable at all seasons of the year for vessels of the heaviest burden, and Philadelphia affords one of the best protected harbours in the country. The substratum of the city is a clay soil mixed with more or less sand and gravel.


EB9 Philadelphia - general plan.jpg

General Plan of Philadelphia.


The site of the present Philadelphia was originally settled by the Swedes, and so Penn found it when he came to lay out the city; and many of the original patentees for town lots under him were descendants of these first settlers. The original city limits were from east to west 10,922 feet 5 inches, and from north to south 5370 feet 8 inches, or more than 2 square miles. The boundaries were Vine street on the N., Cedar (now South) street on the S., the Delaware river on the E., and the Schuylkill river on the W. And this was the city of Philadelphia from its foundation until the 2d day of February 1854, when what is known as the Consolidation Act was passed by the legislature of the State, and the old limits of the city proper were extended to take in all the territory embraced within the then county of Philadelphia. This legislation abolished the districts of Southwark, Northern Liberties, Kensington, Spring Garden, Moyamensing, Penn, Richmond, West Philadelphia, and Belmont; the boroughs of Frankford, Germantown, Manayunk, White-Hall, Bridesburg, and Aramingo; and the townships of Passyunk, Blockley, Kingsessing, Roxborough, Germantown, Bristol, Oxford, Lower Dublin, Moreland, Bybery, Delaware, and Penn; and it transferred all their franchises and property to the consolidated city of Philadelphia under one municipal government. The present boundaries of the city are: on the E. the Delaware, on the N.E. Bucks county, on the N.N.W. and W. Montgomery county, and on the W. and S. Delaware county and the Delaware. The greater part is laid out in parallelograms, with streets at right angles to each other. Each main parallelogram contains about 4 acres, or is 400 feet on each of its sides, divided by one or more small thoroughfares. Upon the city plans there are plotted 191,928 separate town lots. The main streets running north and south are numbered from First or Front to Sixty-third streets, and those running east and west were formerly named after the trees and shrubs found in the province. Thus, while the principal street in the city is named Market street, other main streets are named Chestnut, Walnut, Spruce, Pine, &c.[1] The main streets of Philadelphia are 50 feet wide, with some few exceptions: Broad or Fourteenth street is 113 feet wide, and Market street is 100 feet wide. The streets are generally paved with rubble stone, although square or Belgian blocks of granite are being extensively introduced. There are laid down on the city plans upwards of 2000 miles of streets, but at present (1884) only 1060½ miles are opened, of which 573.54 miles are paved and 44.28 macadamized. The pavements are chiefly of brick, but some of the more prominent streets have flagstone sidewalks. Market street and Chestnut street, below Eighth street, and Front street are the localities where the main wholesale business of the city is conducted. Most of the retail stores are situated in the upper part of Chestnut street and Eighth street. The principal banking institutions are in Chestnut street, between Second and Fifth streets, and in Third street between Walnut and Chestnut streets. Walnut street in the southern section of the city, and Spring Garden and Broad streets in the northern section of the city, are the chief streets for large and luxurious private residences. There is not a street of any consequence which has not a tramway along it; and the tramway system has done a great deal to increase building, until now Philadelphia is emphatically “the city of homes.” There are upwards of 160,000 dwelling-houses, of which at least 110,000 are owned by the occupants. According to the returns for the census of 1880, there were 146,412 dwelling-houses in the city, which, taking the population as given by that census, 847,170, gave 5.79 persons to each house, while the number of dwellings in New York to the population gave 16.37 to each house. On the original plan of the city five squares, equidistant, were reserved for public parks. One of these, called Centre square, situated at the intersection of Broad and Market streets, has been taken for the erection of the city-hall, and the remaining four, situated at Sixth and Walnut, Sixth and Race, Eighteenth and Walnut, and Eighteenth and Race, and named respectively Washington, Franklin, Rittenhouse, and Logan, have a combined area of 29.06 acres. There are six other public squares in the city, with a total area of 18.90 acres. In addition to these public squares, Fairmount Park, with an area of 279115 acres, including 373 acres of the water-surface of the Schuylkill river, is the most extensive public park in the United States. It lies in the north-western section of the city, and the Schuylkill river and Wissahickon creek wind through the greater portion of it.[2] In the park Horticultural Hall and Memorial Hall remain as mementoes of the Centennial Exhibition held there in 1876. The garden of the Zoological Society, covering 33 acres, on the outskirts of the park, was opened 1st July 1874, as the pioneer of such enterprises in the United States.[3] Until within the last score of years the buildings in Philadelphia bore a singular resemblance to each other, especially the dwelling-houses. The predominant material for building was, and is, red brick, the soil affording the finest clay for brick found in the United States. The desire for uniformity in buildings, both in style and material, has happily undergone a change in recent years, although the danger now is of running to the other extreme, and thus giving the streets a decidedly bizarre appearance. There are 238¾ miles of sewers in Philadelphia, but the drainage of the city is wholly inadequate. The streets are lighted by 12,805 gas-lamps, and Chestnut street by the electric light. There are 748 miles of gas main, and the average daily consumption is 10,624,000 cubic feet.

Buildings. — The old brick Swedes Church in Swanson street in the extreme south-eastern section, dedicated on the first Sunday after Trinity 1700, is the oldest building of character now standing in the city. When it was completed it was looked upon as a great masterpiece, and nothing was then equal to it in the town. The four other colonial buildings of importance still standing are Christ (Protestant Episcopal) Church, the old State House (Independence Hall), the Pennsylvania Hospital, and Carpenter's Hall, all of them built of red brick with black glazed headers. Dr. John Kearsley, a physician, was the architect of the first-mentioned, and Andrew Hamilton, a lawyer, the architect of the second. Christ Church stands on the west side of Second street between Market and Arch streets, and its erection was begun in 1727, but it was not finished, as it now appears with tower and spire, until 1754. It was built on the site of a still older Christ Church, which was also of brick, erected in 1695. Queen Anne in 1708 presented a set of communion plate to the church, which is now used on great occasions. During his presidency Washington worshipped at this church, and his pew is still preserved, as is also that of Franklin. In 1882 the interior of the church was restored to its ancient character at an expense of about $10,000. The nave is 75 feet long by 61 feet in width and 47 feet high; the chancel is 15 feet by 24; and the spire is 196 feet 9 inches high. The old State House or Independence Hall, on the south side of Chestnut street between Fifth and Sixth streets, was commenced in 1731, and was ready for occupancy by the Assembly towards the close of 1735. It was the scene of almost all the great civil events of the Revolutionary War. It is 100 feet in length on Chestnut street by 44 feet in depth; and prior to the centennial celebration its exterior and interior were restored as nearly as possible to their original appearance. The Pennsylvania Hospital occupies the square of ground bounded by Spruce, Pine, Eighth, and Ninth streets, and the corner-stone of the building was laid on 28th May 1755. Carpenter's Hall, where the first Congress met, stands back from Chestnut street, east of Fourth street, and was begun in January 1770. These four buildings are all very simple in their construction, but substantial and imposing, and are interesting specimens of colonial architecture. Among the notably fine buildings in Philadelphia are the old United States bank, now the United States custom-house, the Girard bank, the United States mint, and the Girard College, all of which, with the exception of the last-named, were built more than half a century ago. They are all of white marble and of the different orders of Grecian architecture, with porticos and high fluted columns. Other fine buildings are the Masonic Temple, the Ridgway branch of the Philadelphia library, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Academy of Natural Sciences. There are also very many beautiful churches. The two newest buildings of magnitude are the new United States post-office, at the corner of Ninth and Chestnut streets, which is just completed (1884) at a cost of $8,000,000, and the new municipal buildings for the city of Philadelphia at the intersection of Broad and Market streets, which are in course of construction. The post-office, which is Romanesque, is of granite, and was more than ten years in building, from October 1873 to March 1884. It has a frontage of 425 feet, a depth of 175 feet, and a height of 164 feet. The carrier delivery of the Philadelphia post-office covers the greatest territory of any city in the world, excepting London; it employs 900 men, of whom 448 are letter-carriers. The annual sales of stamps amount to $1,600,000. About half a million of letters, &c., pass through the post-office each day. The new public buildings, as they are called, or city-hall, were begun in August 1871, and when completed will be the largest single building in America. It covers an area, including courtyards, of nearly 4½ acres, the dimensions being 470 feet east and west and 486 feet north and south. The building will contain 520 rooms, and the topmost point of the dome, on the tower, will be 537 feet 4 inches above the courtyard, or the highest artificial construction in the world. The exterior structure is now roofed in and completed, with the exception of the tower. The total amount expended on this building to 31st December 1883 was $9,731,488.81, and the estimated total cost is $13,000,000. The architecture is rather rococo in character.

Population. — Previous to the census of 1830 Philadelphia was the most populous American city, but since then New York has taken the first place. In 1683 it was estimated that Philadelphia had 80 houses and 500 inhabitants. The next year the population increased 2000, and by the beginning of the last century there were 700 dwelling-houses and 4500 people. In 1800 there were 9868 dwellings and 81,009 inhabitants, and in 1820, the last census when Philadelphia stood first, she had a population of 119,325. By the census of 1880 the population of the city is placed at 847,170 (males 405,989, females 441,181), while in 1870 it was 674,022, and in 1860 565,529. About one-third of the population in 1880 were foreign born. In 1883 there were 21,237 births, of which 11,102 were males and 10,135 females. The number of emigrants landed in the year at Philadelphia was 23,473, of whom 13,899 were males and 9574 females, — a decrease of 9778 from 1882. Of these emigrants 7304 were from England, 6023 from Ireland, 5232 from Sweden and Norway, and 2991 from Germany. The mayor of Philadelphia in his annual message to councils in April 1884 places the population of the city at 1,023,000, while the Board of Health estimate it at 907,041. The death-rate of the city in 1883 was 22.13 per thousand. By the census of 1880 41 per cent. of the population were engaged in gainful occupations. In 1884 there were in Philadelphia 1294 lawyers and 1637 physicians. The city has 622 places of worship, viz., Baptist 83, Hebrew 11, Lutheran 32, Methodist 131, Moravian 5, Presbyterian 110, Protestant Episcopal 96, Quaker 15, Reformed Dutch 20, Reformed Episcopal 10, Roman Catholic 47, Swedenborgian 3, Unitarian 3, Universalist 4, and 52 among 23 other different denominations. There are 53 cemeteries and burial-grounds in the city.

Municipal Government. — By Penn's charter of 25th October 1701 Philadelphia was first created a borough city with a government of its own, separate from that of the province and county. Under this charter, with many modifications, the city was governed until the Act of the legislature of the State incorporating the city was passed, 11th March 1789. This is the fundamental law governing the city to-day, but with such changes as have become necessary by the altered condition of affairs and the development of the entire country. The most important change was the Consolidation Act of 2d February 1854, already mentioned, whereby the old county of Philadelphia became the city of Philadelphia, the county of Philadelphia being at the same time continued as one of the counties of the State. The city is divided territorially and politically into thirty-one wards, and is governed by a mayor, elected by the people for three years, and by two bodies, called the select and common council. The upper branch is composed of one member from each ward elected for three years, who must have attained the age of twenty-five years and have been a citizen and inhabitant of the State for four years next before his election, and the last year thereof an inhabitant of the ward for which he shall be chosen. Each ward has a member of common council, elected for two years, for every 2000 taxable inhabitants; he must be twenty-one years of age and have the other qualifications required for the upper body. The mayor is the executive head of the city and the councils are the law-making power. The mayor has the right of veto upon the acts of the councils. Councils in joint meeting appoint all heads of departments not elected, establish the rate at which all taxes shall be levied that are authorized by law, and fix the salaries of all municipal officers elected by the people, as well as those they appoint. The city can make no binding contract or incur any debt unless authorized by law or ordinance and an appropriation sufficient to pay the same be previously made by councils. The sanitary care of the city is vested in a board of health composed of nine members appointed by the judges of the Courts of Common Pleas of the county, who have charge of the sanitary condition of the city and citizens. Among the duties of the board is that of keeping an accurate record of all births, marriages, and deaths. The poor of the city are under the charge of a board of twelve guardians elected by councils. These several bodies, councils, board of health, and guardians of the poor all serve without pecuniary compensation. Edward Shippen was named in the charter of 1701 as first mayor of the city. The last mayor under the English crown was Samuel Powel, elected 3d October 1775, and he was also the first mayor under the United States, being re-elected 13th April 1789. During the interim of the Revolutionary War the municipal government was suspended, and the affairs of the city were carried on by the councils of safety and other local bodies.

Police, Fire, Water. — The mayor is the nominal head of the police of the city, and all the appointments and removals are in his hands. The force consists of 1415 men, of whom 1225 are patrolmen. There are four captains and one chief of police; and the fire marshal is attached to the police department. The number of arrests made in 1883 was 45,612, and the number of commitments to the county prison 23,245.

The fire department is governed by a board of fire commissioners elected by councils, and consists of a chief engineer, six assistant engineers, and four hundred men. They are divided into twenty-nine steam-engine companies and five hook and ladder companies, with the addition of hose and hose-carriage to each. In 1883 there were 804 fires.

The largest portion of Philadelphia is supplied with water from the Schuylkill, and it was in great part for the preservation of the purity of this water-supply that Fairmount Park was created. The park has not, however, served its purpose in this respect, and the water supplied to the city is most impure. The supply also is hardly adequate to the demand, and many other sources have been suggested. The capacity of the present waterworks allows a daily average pumpage of 90,000,000 gallons, and the seven reservoirs have a total capacity of 191,224,560 gallons. The total number of gallons of water pumped in 1883 was 25,182,775,641, or a daily average of about 69,000,000. There are 784 miles of pipe under ground to supply at least 170,000 buildings, of which 151,096 are (January 1884) dwelling-houses. The dwellings are charged for water according to the number and character of appliances in use, irrespective of the amount of water used or the number of the occupants of the house. The streets have a number of fountains, erected by the Philadelphia Fountain Society, for the use of horses, dogs, and men; and there are also 5752 hydrants for the use of the fire department; but these are wholly insufficient to protect the city.

Finances. — On 1st January 1884 the funded debt of the city of Philadelphia was $66,365,591.24, and the floating debt 689,355.36 or a total indebtedness of $67,054,946.60. The city assets at the same period were $28,096,394.75, so that the excess over assets was $38,958,551.85. This is a reduction of the city's debt from its highest point, 1st January 1880, when it amounted to $72,264,595.76. The assessed valuation of real estate in the city of Philadelphia, 1st January 1884, was $583,613,683, and the annual tax for the year amounted to $10,383,381.84. In 1883 the receipts from all sources for municipal purposes were $13,632,842.38. The various trust funds of the city are under the control of a board of directors of city trusts, composed of twelve prominent citizens appointed by the judges of the Courts of Common Pleas. The board has charge of the Girard Fund; the Wills Hospital Fund, for the relief of indigent blind and lame; the Franklin Fund, for aiding young married artificers; and sundry funds for furnishing the poor with fuel and other purposes, amounting in the aggregate, on 31st December 1883, to $11,606,320.92.

There are thirty-two national banks in Philadelphia with an aggregate capital of $17,578,000, and for the week ending 30th June 1884 their loans and discounts were $73,525,885, deposits $64,436,411, and circulation $8,416,013. Their surplus on 31st December 1883 was $8,712,303. In addition to the national banks there are six banks chartered by the State with an aggregate capital of $714,600; eight trust and safe deposit companies, where deposits are received and a quasi banking business done, with a total capital of $8,625,000, and a surplus on 31st December 1883 of $4,589,732; and three saving funds without any capital, but where all the depositors are interested in the profits, with total deposits on 31st December 1883 of $28,503,200.93. Philadelphia has fourteen joint-stock fire insurance companies, with a capital of $3,950,000; five joint-stock fire and marine companies, with a capital of $4,860,000; six mutual fire insurance companies; and six life insurance companies. In addition to these there are a real estate title insurance company and a plate-glass insurance company, their objects being expressed in their titles.

Commerce. — Until within the last sixty years Philadelphia was the commercial emporium of the United States, but since that time her commerce has been gradually declining, until now she ranks fifth in the order of ports, being preceded by New York, Boston, San Francisco, and New Orleans. At the same time her manufactures have been steadily increasing, until she has become the great manufacturing centre of the country. On 30th June 1884 there were registered as belonging to the port of Philadelphia 854 vessels, having a tonnage of 197,491 tons, 295 being steamers. For the year ending 31st December 1883 724 coast-wise vessels having a tonnage of 418,625 tons entered, and 1213 with a tonnage of 576,719 tons cleared. During the same period there entered 1066 foreign vessels with a tonnage of 813,706 tons, and 942 cleared with a tonnage of 732,333 tons. For the six months ending 30th June 1884 there entered 290 American vessels with a tonnage of 134,807 tons, and 199 cleared with a tonnage of 101,908 tons. In the same period 285 foreign vessels entered with a tonnage of 263,577 tons, and 246 cleared with a tonnage of 238,929 tons. Statistics of the exports and imports of the city have been kept since 1821; and they show that the greatest exports in any one year were in 1876, the centennial year, when they amounted to $50,539,450. The greatest imports ($38,933,832) were in 1880. For 1883 the exports were $38,662,434 and the imports $32,811,045. For the six months ending 30th June 1884 the exports were $17,605,271, and the imports $18,245,733. The total receipts for duties at this port for the year 1883 were $11,834,014.55, and for the six months ending 30th June 1884 $6,917,376.71. Lines of steamers run to Liverpool, Glasgow, New York, Boston, Baltimore, Savannah, Charleston, and other ports. Philadelphia is also the centre of the three great internal carrying lines of the State, the Pennsylvania Railroad, the Lehigh Valley Railroad, and the Reading Railroad. The last two are principally coal-roads from the great anthracite coal-fields of Pennsylvania, while the first, with its numerous branches, is the main artery from the west for the transportation of its agricultural products. The gross receipts for 1883 of the Pennsylvania Railroad, from all lines connecting directly with Philadelphia, were $57,512,766.36. The total tonnage moved over these same lines was 57,379,115 tons, and the number of passengers for the same period was 36,584,435, and the pieces of baggage 1,774,192. The tonnage of the other two roads is proportionately large.

Industries. — The largest single classes of manufactures are the iron and steel and the textile industries. The first-named, which includes all forms of machinery and of iron and steel articles, employed in 1883 31,917 persons in 712 establishments, producing articles valued at $58,608,781. The manufactures of wool, cotton, silk, &c., employed 60,897 persons in 1018 establishments, producing textile fabrics to the value of $102,087,128; and these figures are rather below than above the actual facts. In the carpet manufacture alone, for which there are 216 establishments, there are 35,000,000 yards of carpet made annually. The census for 1880 gave Philadelphia 8567 manufacturing establishments, with a capital of $187,148,857, employing 185,527 hands and producing articles valued at $324,342,935 per annum. The seven classes producing over $10,000,000 a year were — sugar-refineries (11), $24,294,929; factories of woollen goods (89), $21,349,810; men's clothing manufactories (426), $18,506,748; cotton-mills (145), $14,268,696; carpet manufactories (170), $14,263,510; foundry and machine shops (226), $13,455,238; drugs and chemicals manufactories (54), $11,804,793. Since then, however, Philadelphia has made great strides, and the close of 1882 showed 12,063 manufacturing establishments, employing 147,137 men, 67,050 women, and 28,296 children under sixteen years of age, or a total of 242,483, and yielding products of the value of $481,226,309. The large and important industry of brick-making, for which there are 63 yards, produces annually about 350,000,000 bricks, of a market value of at least $3,500,000. The fine “pressed brick” of Philadelphia is used in all parts of the country, and of late years moulded bricks of various designs and of any size have been extensively and successfully made.

Charities. — There are not less than 300 charities proper in Philadelphia, leaving out institutions of learning which come within the legal definition of the word. A few of them are municipal, but the majority are wholly private in their origin and conduct. Among the former may be classed the Blockley Almshouse for the care of the indigent poor of the city, and the house of correction, employment, and reformation at Holmesburg. This last is a mixed institution, being a workhouse both for criminals and paupers, and in 1883 there were received into it 7290 men, women, and children. On 31st December 1883 there were 1236 inmates, of whom 197 were females. The city bath-houses are another important municipal charity. There are twenty-two hospitals in Philadelphia, the most important being the Pennsylvania Hospital, projected in 1751 by Benjamin Franklin and Dr Thomas Bond. It is governed principally by the Quakers, and is supported wholly by voluntary contributions. It has a capacity for 230 patients, and recent accident cases are always admitted. The insane department of this hospital is located on Haverford road, and was opened in 1841, since which time to January 1884 there have been 8852 patients. In addition to this hospital for the insane there is an insane department attached to the City Hospital at the Almshouse, and a Friends Asylum for the Insane at Frankford. Other important charities are the Philadelphia Dispensary, Home for Consumptives, Home for Incurables, Preston Retreat (lying-in charity), Orphans' Society, Philadelphia Working Home for Blind Men, Sheltering Arms for Infants, the Sick Diet Kitchen, and the House of Refuge for Juvenile Delinquents. This last receives children committed by the court of Oyer and Terminer upon conviction of a criminal offence, also vagrant, incorrigible, or vicious children committed by magistrates on complaint of the parent or any other person that the parent or guardian is incapable or unwilling to control them.

Education. — Penn in his frame of government provided that a committee of manners, education, and art should be appointed, so that all “wicked and scandalous living may be prevented, and that youth may be trained up in virtue, and useful arts and knowledge.” The first school in Philadelphia of which we have knowledge was opened the year following the foundation of the colony. At a meeting of the provincial council held in Philadelphia “ye 26th of 10th month 1683” the governor and council, “having taken into serious consideration the great necessity there is of a schoolmaster for the instruction — and sober instruction — of youth in the town of Philadelphia, sent for Enoch Flower, an inhabitant of the said town, who for twenty years past hath been exercised in that care and employment in England,” and engaged him to instruct the youth of the city. In the year 1689 the first public school in Pennsylvania was established at Philadelphia under the care of the celebrated George Keith. It was incorporated by the provincial council 12th February 1698, and was entitled “The Overseers of the Public Schools founded in Philadelphia at the request, costs, and charges of the people of God called Quakers,” and in 1711 received a charter from Penn. This school, although supported by the Quakers, was open to all, and for more than sixty years continued to be the only public place for instruction in the province. It thrived and was held in high estimation, and its legitimate successor is still in operation in Philadelphia, where it maintains its ancient reputation. In 1749 Franklin published his Proposals Relative to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania, which resulted the next year in the establishment of the academy and charitable school, which became a college in 1755, and in 1779 was incorporated as the university of Pennsylvania. The university at present occupies a site in Woodland avenue, in what was formerly AVest Philadelphia, and gives instruction in ten departments (Arts, Music, Medicine, Law, Dentistry, Philosophy, Auxiliary of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Towne Scientific School, and Wharton School of Finance and Economy). The faculty consists of 132 professors, lecturers, and instructors in the various departments, and for the college year 1883-84 there were 1000 students.

The public school system of Pennsylvania was not really firmly fixed until 1818, when by an Act of the legislature Philadelphia was made the first school district of Pennsylvania with a distinct educational system from that of the State in general. This district is governed by a board of public education composed of 31 members, one from each ward of the city, who are appointed, one-third each year for three years, by the judges of the Courts of Common Pleas of the county. They have the financial control and general supervision of schools, the selection of the books to be used, the oversight of the teachers, and the building of the schoolhouses. In addition to this board there are the directors of the public schools, twelve from each ward, who have the local supervision of the schools in their respective sections. They are elected by the people, one-third each year for three years. The schools are divided into primary, secondary, and grammar schools, in addition to which there is a central high school, a finishing school for boys, and a normal school which is a finishing school for girls, and where they can also be qualified to become teachers. Ihere are 465 public schools in Philadelphia and 236 school-buildings of a value of $4,186,200. In 1883 the city appropriated $1,637,651.04 to education. During the same period 105,424 children attended the public schools, at an average cost per pupil of $15.35, and 82 male and 2086 female teachers are employed in their instruction. Another noted educational institution in Philadelphia is Girard College for orphans, endowed by Stephen Girard in 1831 for the benefit of poor white male orphan children. By the will a preference is given first to orphans born in Philadelphia, second to those born in Pennsylvania, third to those born in New York city, and fourth to those born in New Orleans. To be qualified for admission the orphans must be between six and ten years of age; and a child without a father, while the mother is living, is held to be an orphan entitled to admission. The buildings cost $1,933,821.78, and were formally opened in January 1848. The total value of the estate applicable to the purposes of the college was on 31st December 1883 $10,138,268.10, and the gross receipts of income for the year 1883 were $976,961.06. During the same period there were 1105 boys inmates of the college. At Philadelphia are also the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb; the Pennsylvania Institution for the Instruction of the Blind; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, founded in 1805, and the first art school in America; the School of Design for "Women; the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art; and the Jefferson Medical College.

Libraries. — Philadelphia was for many years not only the first city commercially in the country, but it was also the seat of letters. When the poet Moore visited America in 1804 he wrote to his mother, of Philadelphia, “it is the only place in America that can boast of a literary society.” Unfortunately it has much degenerated in this respect in eighty years, and to-day but little attention is paid by its people to letters and literature. To Franklin, again, its first library is due. It grew out of the Junto, and in 1731 the Library Company of Philadelphia was established. In 1769 it absorbed the Union Library Company, which had been formed some few years before; and in 1792 the Loganian Library, a valuable collection of classical and other works provided for under the will of James Logan, a friend of Penn, was transferred to the Philadelphia library. It subsequently acquired, by bequest, the libraries of the Rev. Samuel Preston of London and of William Mackenzie of Philadelphia. Among the rarities in the latter was a copy of Caxton's Golden Legend, 1486. In 1869 it was made the beneficiary, under the will of Dr James Rush, of an estate valued at over a million dollars. It has two library buildings and possesses about 145,000 volumes, as well as valuable manuscripts and broadsides. The Mercantile Library Association is the popular circulating library of the city, and contains 149,000 volumes. Other libraries are the Athenæum, Apprentices Library, Library of the Law Association, and Friends Library.

Learned Societies. — The American Philosophical Society is the oldest organized body for the pursuit of philosophical investigation in its broadest sense in America. It was founded also by Franklin, 25th May 1743, and incorporated 15th March 1780, with its founder as president. It began the publication of its transactions in 1773, and the 22d volume has been recently issued. The publication of the proceedings of this society was commenced in 1838, and still continues. Its library contains about 23,000 volumes, and the society also possesses valuable manuscript correspondence of Franklin. The Academy of Natural Sciences was organized in 1812, and its ornithological collection, which contains over 25,000 specimens, is claimed to be the finest in the world. It has a fine library of works on the natural sciences, and publishes a journal and its proceedings. The Franklin Institute for the promotion of the mechanic arts started in 1824. It has a valuable library of over 20,000 volumes devoted to mechanics and kindred subjects, and has ever since its organization published a monthly journal. The Historical Society of Pennsylvania was founded in 1824, and is devoted to the preservation of material relating to the history of the State. Its collections are of great historical value, and its library contains more than 20,000 volumes. The Numismatic and Antiquarian Society of Philadelphia, founded in 1858, was the first organization on the American continent to engage in the pursuit of numismatic science. It has a fine collection of coins and a good library. Another notable body is the College of Physicians and Surgeons, with a medical library of 23,000 volumes and a fine museum of prepared specimens.

Newspapers. — The American Weekly Mercury was the first newspaper published in Philadelphia and the third in the colonies, It was started on 22d December 1719 by Andrew Bradford, a son of William Bradford, the first printer in the middle colonies, and this paper was the first newspaper in the same section. On 21st September 1784 the first daily newspaper in the United States was issued at Philadelphia. It was the American Daily Advertiser, subsequently published as Poulson's Daily Advertiser, and later merged into the North American and United States Gazette, which is thus by succession the oldest daily newspaper in the United States. There are at present (July 1884) twenty daily newspapers published in Philadelphia, eight of them being afternoon papers, with an average circulation of 375,000, and seventy-seven weekly newspapers, chiefly religious and Sunday secular papers.

Social Life. — Among Philadelphia's claims to priority she has in her midst one of the oldest purely social clubs in existence, the Colony or State in Schuylkill, which was formed in 1732. The other purely social clubs in the city are the Philadelphia Club, Social Art Club, and University Club. The Union League (Republican) and Commonwealth (Democratic) are mixed social and political clubs. There are some organizations of a mixed social and charitable character, such as the St George Society (1772), the St David Society (1729), the St Andrew's Society (1749), and the Sons of St Patrick or Hibernian Society (1771). The First Troop of Philadelphia City Cavalry, formed in 1774, is a military organization of high social standing. There are also a gentlemen's driving park or racecourse and innumerable cricket and boat clubs. There is an opera-house capable of accommodating 3500 persons, and five first-class theatres, but Philadelphia as a community seems not to be a theatre-going people.

History. — Down to the War of Independence the history of Philadelphia is virtually that of Pennsylvania (q.v.). The patent granted to William Penn (see Penn, p. 495) for the territory embraced within the present Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was signed by Charles II. on the 24th of March 1681, and in the autumn of that year Penn appointed three commissioners to proceed to the new province and lay out a great city. This seems to have been his chief thought in settling the province, and his instructions to his commissioners were to select a site on the Delaware where “it is most navigable, high, dry, and healthy; that is where most ships can best ride, of deepest draught of water, if possible to load or unload at the bank or key side without boating or lightering of it.” These commissioners were William Crispen, Nathaniel Allen, John Bezar, and William Heage. Crispen, who was a kinsman of the proprietor, died on the voyage out, and the remaining commissioners arrived toward the close of the year. They had been preceded by Penn's cousin, Captain William Markham, as deputy-governor, and were soon followed by the surveyor-general of the province, Thomas Holme, who, as may be understood from his office, was one of the most important men in the early history of the city and State. The site of the city was speedily determined upon, and Holme proceeded to lay it out according to the modified instructions of Penn, and his Portraiture of the City of Philadelphia in the Province of Pcnnsilvania in America was published and sold by Andrew Sowle in Shoreditch, London, in 1683. This plan shows the old part of the city as it is to-day, covering between 1200 and 1300 acres. Unfortunately no date can be fixed, even approximately, for the founding of the city; nor is the date known of Penn's first visit to the capital of his province. He landed at Newcastle on the Delaware on 27th October 1682, and two days later came up as far as Upland, now Chester, 13 miles south of Philadelphia. He doubtless did not remain long so near his pet scheme without viewing it, but when he did first come to Philadelphia is now unknown.[4]

The seat of government was fixed in Philadelphia by the meeting of the governor and council on the 10th of March 1683, and the General Assembly met two days later. For 117 years the city continued to be the capital of Pennsylvania and was the most important town, commercially, politically, and socially, in the colonies during nearly the whole of this period. In October 1685 the first printing press established in the middle colonies was set up here by William Bradford; the earliest specimen of his work which has survived to our day is his Kalendarium Pennsylvaniense or America's Messenger, being an Almanack for the year of Grace 1686. The printing press was followed in 1690 by a paper-mill, erected by William Rittenhouse, a Mennonite preacher, on the Wissahickon creek, a locality which has ever since remained a favourite for the manufacture of paper. The one man, next to William Penn, whose influence was most deeply impressed upon Philadelphia as upon the affairs of the colony, was Benjamin Franklin, whose power was felt almost on his first landing in October 1723, when in his eighteenth year, and its impress is seen to-day. Four years after he settled here he formed a club for mutual improvement, which he called the “Junto,” out of which subsequently grew the American Philosophical Society for the promotion of useful knowledge and the Library Company of Philadelphia. He also originated the present university of Pennsylvania, organized the first fire-engine company in the city, and was instrumental in founding the Pennsylvania Hospital. In March 1753 the first Arctic expedition ever sent out from America sailed from Philadelphia. The vessel, called the “Argo,” was commanded by Captain Swaine, but her voyage accomplished nothing of importance. In 1770 the first factory for the manufacture of fine porcelain in the colonies was established at Philadelphia by a Swiss and an Englishman, but the difficulty of obtaining competent workmen forced its abandonment two years later. During the war of the revolution Philadelphia was the virtual capital of the colonies and the scene of all the prominent civil events of those stirring times. The first Congress met at Carpenter's Hall on 4th September 1774; on 24th May 1775 Congress reconvened in the old State house and here continued its sittings, except when the city was threatened by the enemy and in his possession. On 2d July 1776 the “resolutions respecting independency” were passed, and on the 4th July 1776 Philadelphia was the scene of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence; and the old State house became ever afterwards Independence Hall. On 9th July 1778 “the articles of confederation and perpetual union between the independent States of America” were here adopted and signed, and in the same place the convention to frame a constitution for the United States of America met on 14th May 1787, with Washington as presiding officer, and continued its sessions until 17th September, when the work was finished and the fundamental law of the land given to the world. The affairs of state were thus placed on a firm foundation, while the affairs of the church had received the attention of the people the previous year. In June 1786 the clerical and lay delegates from the Protestant Episcopal churches in the United States met in Philadelphia and formally organized “the Protestant Episcopal Church in North America.” The Congress of the United States had held its opening session in New York, but in December 1790 it reassembled at Philadelphia; and for ten years the seat of government was at Philadelphia, until it was permanently removed to the District of Columbia. Here Washington delivered his farewell address to the people of the United States, and here he retired from public life. As in Philadelphia the first bank in the colonies had been opened — the bank of North America in 1781 — so in Philadelphia the first mint for the coinage of the money of the United States was established in 1792. Both of these institutions are still in full operation. In April 1816 Congress incorporated the bank of the United States, which was the second banking institution of that name chartered by the Government, and fixed it at Philadelphia. The affairs of this institution form a very important chapter in the history of the city, as indeed in the history of the whole country. It had an unsettled existence, until the final blow came from President Jackson, towards the close of his first term of office, in 1833. Being opposed to the continuance of the bank, he withdrew the public deposits, amounting to about $8,000,000, the result of which was widespread ruin and business depression, not only in Philadelphia but elsewhere.

The two events of greatest note which have taken place in the city in recent years have been the centennial celebration of the independence of the colonies in 1876, and the bi-centennial celebration of the landing of William Penn in 1882. The centennial celebration was of the greatest moment, owing to the Exposition of the Industries of All Nations, which was open from 10th May to 10th November; the total admissions reached the number of 9,910,966 persons. (C. H. H*.)


VOL. XVIII. PHILADELPHIA PLATE X.
EB9 Philadelphia.jpg
W. & A.K. Johnston, Edinburgh & London
ENCYCLOPÆDIA BRITANNICA, NINTH EDITION



  1. The geometrical laying out of the city into parallelograms made easy the adoption of the decimal system of numbering for the houses, which is readily understood and greatly helps strangers and citizens in finding their way about the streets. The houses in streets running east and west are numbered by hundreds, beginning at the Delaware and going west. Thus, from Delaware river to Front street the houses are numbered from 1 to 100; from Front street to Second street from 100 to 200; above Second street 200; above Third street 300; and so on. The even numbers are placed on the south side of the street and the odd numbers on the north side of the street. Market street is taken as a dividing line between north and south, and all the main streets stretching north and south, which lie north of Market street, are in the same way numbered running northerly, and those which lie south of Market street are numbered running southerly. The west side is given the even numbers and the east side the odd numbers.
  2. There are 34.27 miles of footwalk, 30.46 miles of carriage-drives, and 7.82 miles of bridle-paths within the boundaries of the park.
  3. The collection numbers 673 specimens, — mammals 251, birds 372, reptiles and batrachians 50, valued at $46,726.
  4. In Philadelphia for many years stood a famous elm tree, known as the treaty tree, and when it was blown down in 1810 a stone was placed to mark the spot. Tradition had it that under this tree Penn, on his first coming to Philadelphia, held a treaty of amity and friendship with the Indians, — a treaty not sworn to and never broken. The light of investigation has dispelled this tradition and relegated it to the category of mythology, along with the stories of William Tell and Captain Smith and Pocahontas.