Rittenhouse Square

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | C.1918

Photo Credit: Pavel Vekshin

The founder of the city of Philadelphia, William Penn, designed five original public squares. Of the five, Rittenhouse Square has changed the least since then, retaining the openness and integrity Penn originally intended. In 1913 its design took on the character of the Luxembourg Gardens or any number of Parisian parks when the French architect Paul Philippe Cret added fountains, flowers, and other elements, softening Penn’s Quaker sensibility.

Originally called Southwest Square, it was later named after David Rittenhouse, an exceptional man whose mind appreciated both vast mysteries and intricate detail: he served as the president of the American Philosophical Society and as the nation’s first director of the United States Mint. And in his spare time, he was an astronomer and a clockmaker.

📖 Featured on Page 50 of AWA, The Book 

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