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City Hall contains over 600 rooms with the centre being hollowed out forming a plaza. There are subterranean tunnels for subways to escape the cold. The building serves as the centre of Pennsylvania’s municipal and state government and is impossible to miss with the huge statue of William Penn sitting atop the tower (along with hundreds of other statues around the building).
Building took 30 years to complete at a cost of over $23 million and at that time there was a law created that stated no building was allowed to eclipse the statue which stands 30 feet from the top. You can get a view of the city from the observation deck.
Philadelphia' s City Hall is one of the most impressive municipal buildings I have ever seen. It is placed on the former center square, where the two main arteries of the city, Broad and Market Streets meet. The massive building is built around a courtyard which is nice to rest for a few minutes and where in December a magnificent Christmas tree is put up.
A tour is offered to see the official rooms, the tour is free and definitely interesting, it always ends with a little excursion up the city hall tower where one has a terrific view of the city. Unfortunately, the quality of the tour can differ depending on your tour guide and the available rooms (some can be closed due to council meetings or official functions taking place), still, one definitely learns a lot about the building and sees some magnificent rooms. The tour starts in a little office close to the Eastern Exit.
- Historical Travel
City Hall and William Penn Statue
Directly at the heart of Philadelphia, on Center Square, a National Historic Landmark rises 510 feet into the air. The exact geographical center of William Penn's original plan for Philadelphia, Center Square, known today as Penn Square, was designated by Mr. Penn to be the location for a building of "publick concerns" - home of Philadelphia's City Hall.
The huge granite mass of City Hall, throughout its 100+ year history, has indeed been a building of "publick concerns". An elaborate temple of local politics, City Hall is one of the nation's finest examples of French Second -Empire Architectural style. It has earned a great deal of respect and admiration as a unique architectural and sculptural achievement.
It is the nation's largest municipal building (larger than the U.S. Capital), it holds the dubious distinction as being its most expensive.
The building's Second Empire Mode of French Renaissance Revival architecture, so popular at the start of construction, was outdated and abhorred by its completion. A 30 year construction project.
On top of the city hall tower is a statue of William Penn. He is the founding father of Philadelphia and gave name to what is now the state of Pennsylvania meaning "Penns Woods" The statue and city hall was the tallest building in Philadelphia until the 1980s when taller buildings broke the "Gentleman's code" of not building higher then the William Penn Statue.
The statue of William Penn is the tallest statue on any building in the world at 37 feet. You can go to an observation area at the base of the statue for great views of the city.
Hours: Weekdays: 9:30am-4:15pm
- Historical Travel
CITY HALL: Built between 1871 & 1901. This is the business district of Philadelphia. I like this part of the city very much. Cultural venues are located along Broad Street, which is also called the Avenue of the Arts.
- Family Travel
Take the tour to the top
On two occasions, one in spring and one in winter, I had the opportunity to get on the elevator to the top of the tower, just below the statue of William Penn. Breath taking views of the city.
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