Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, a city coextensive with Philadelphia co., Pa., on the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, and on the Pennsylvania, Philadelphia and Reading, and the Baltimore and Ohio railroads; 85 miles S. W. of New York. It is the third largest city of the United States; area, 130 square miles; pop. (1910) 1,549,008; (1920) 1,823,779.

Topography.—The city is built chiefly on a low peninsula between the two rivers. In the portion most thickly built up the highest elevation is 46 feet, but rises to 440 feet in the suburbs. It extends N. and S. about 22 miles, and is from 5 to 10 miles in width. There is a water frontage on the Delaware river of over 16 miles, of which more than 5 miles have docks. The harbor has been greatly improved by the removal of the islands in the middle of the river, and in front of the wharves there is an average depth of 50 feet. The Schuylkill river, which runs through the city, is navigable for large vessels to Walnut street, and is crossed by many bridges, of which the most costly are at Walnut street, Gray's Ferry, Spring Garden street, and Girard avenue. Another important bridge is the Walnut Lane bridge over the Wissahickon, one of the largest concrete bridges in the world. The section of the city W. of the Schuylkill is locally called West Philadelphia; another noted section is known as Germantown. League Island, containing a widely noted navy yard, has an area of 925 acres and lies just above the mouth of the Schuylkill.

Municipal Improvements.—The city owns a waterworks system which cost about $65,000,000. They have a daily capacity of 320,000,000 gallons, and the water is distributed through 1,800 miles of mains. There are in all 1,733 miles of streets, of which 1,549 are paved. The sewer system covers 1,386 miles. The city is lighted by electricity at a cost of $1,244,696 per annum. The average annual cost of the police department is almost $5,000,000, and that of the fire department $2,170,000. The annual death rate averages 24.19 per 1,000. The cost of maintaining the city government in 1919 was $35,514,399. Electric street car lines traverse the principal streets and extend to the various suburbs.

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Fairmount Park.—This is one of the largest public parks in the world. It extends more than 7 miles on both banks of the Schuylkill river, and more than 6 miles on both banks of Wissahickon creek, giving it an area of over 3,000 acres, traversed by 32½ miles of driveways. The park contains four reservoirs of the Schuylkill waterworks; Randolph Rogers' colossal bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln; statues of Washington, Garfield, Grant and others; the mansion (now occupied by a restaurant) in which Robert Morris lived during the Revolutionary War; the Solitude, a villa erected by John Penn, grandson of William Penn, in 1785; the Zoölogical Gardens; Commercial Museum; Belmont Glen, a beautiful ravine; and other points of interest. In 1876 the Centennial Exposition was held here. Memorial Hall, erected at a cost of $1,500,000, which was used for the art gallery of the Exposition, now contains a permanent industrial and art collection. Here also is the Horticultural Building filled with tropical and other plants and surrounded by 35 acres of ground devoted to horticulture.

Notable Buildings.—In the heart of the city, at the intersection of Market and Broad streets, stands the City Hall, on a piece of ground which was formerly Penn Square. This great structure, usually called the Public Buildings, was built of white marble and granite; is 486½ feet long by 470 wide; contains 520 rooms, and including a court yard 200 feet square in the center, covers an area of nearly 4½ acres. The central tower rises to a height of 547 feet, 3 inches, and is surrounded by a colossal statue of William Penn, 37 feet in height. The total cost of the building was over $20,000,000. Besides this there are many other great buildings including the Masonic Temple, costing $2,000,000; the United States mint; the postoffice; the Bourse; the Stock Exchange; Independence Hall, famous as the State House of the colonial period, and as the depository of the Liberty Bell; the Pennsylvania Hospital, covering an entire square; the building of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania; the Philadelphia Library, containing upward of 500,000 volumes; Academy of Fine Arts, containing one of the most extensive collections of paintings, engravings, bronzes, and sculptures in the United States; Odd Fellows' Hall; several armories; custom house, copied from the Parthenon, and considered one of the best samples of Doric architecture in the world; the stations of the Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia and Reading, and Baltimore and Ohio railroads; etc.

Manufactures.—In its manufacturing products Philadelphia ranks next to New York and Chicago. There are upward of 8,000 manufacturing establishments, with more than 250,000 employes. The combined output amounts to more than $750,000,000. The chief products are locomotives, sugar and molasses, men's clothing, foundry and machine shop products, carpets and rugs, hosiery and knit goods, woolen and cotton goods, morocco, chemicals, packed meat, refined petroleum, and silk and silk goods. The great Cramp shipbuilding yards are on the Delaware, just W. of the heart of the city.

Commerce.—In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1920, the imports of merchandise aggregated in value $219,167,601, and the exports $449,691,705.

Banks.—On Sept. 12, 1919, there were 29 National banks in operation, having a combined capital of $22,955,000; surplus, $47,425,000; loans and discounts, $481,256,000; and deposits of about $400,000,000. The exchange at the United States clearing house, in the year ending Sept. 30, 1919, aggregated $21,320,246,000, an increase over the previous year of $2,392,202,000.

Education.—At the close of the school year 1918-1919 the enrollment in the public day schools was 221,069. There were 5,884 teachers. The annual cost of maintaining the public schools was $8,510,501. The institutions for higher education include: the University of Pennsylvania; the Jefferson Medical College; Woman's Medical College; the Hahnemann Medical College; the Philadelphia Polyclinic and College for Graduates; and the Medico-Chirurgical College. There are several colleges of dentistry, one of pharmacy and one of veterinary surgery. There are also Girard College, which was founded in 1831 by Stephen Girard for white orphan boys, Temple University, and the Drexel Institute.

Churches and Institutions.—There are more than 700 churches in Philadelphia, representing all the larger denominations and hundreds of charitable institutions. The most important hospitals are the University, the Insane, the Pennsylvania, the Orthopædic, Municipal, Woman's, Children's, Wills', Jewish, Episcopal, German, Presbyterian, Homeopathic, St. Mary's, and St. Joseph's. There are also many orphanages, homes for the aged, and other institutions of similar character.

Finances.—At the end of 1920 the total net funded debt of the city was $137,676,339. The assessed property valuation for 1920 was $1,805,494,000; tax rate, $28.50 per $1,000.

History.—In September, 1681, a small party of settlers, sent out by William Penn, arrived at the site of the present city, and in the following summer the place was laid out and named Philadelphia, the “city of brotherly love.” Penn himself reached New Castle on the Delaware, with a large number of Quakers, on Oct. 27, 1682. He was well received by a small party of Swedes who lived in a part of the present city. Shortly after his arrival he made the first treaty with the Indians at Shackamaxon. In 1683-1684, and for some time afterward the immigration from England and Wales, Germany and Holland was considerable. Philadelphia was incorpoated in 1691, but its charter was not received till 1701. The city was active in resisting British aggression in 1763-1764. On Sept. 5, 1774, the 1st Continental Congress met here, and on May 10, 1775, the 2d. Col. George Washington was appointed General and Commander-in-Chief of the American army in the State House on June 15, 1775. Here also the Declaration of Independence was adopted July 4, and proclaimed July 8, 1776. The city was occupied by the British from September, 1777, to June, 1778. A battle was fought at Germantown on Oct. 4, 1777. In the summer of 1787 delegates from the various States met in the State House, and framed the Constitution.

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© Ewing Galloway