There was a time, not that long ago, when no building could be taller than the hat on the William Penn statue atop City Hall. This is no longer the case as skyscrapers dot the Philly skyline, but City Hall is still an impressive structure. It ancors Broad Street, the city's main artery, the Avenue of the Arts. The Parkway radiates from City Hall, ending at the Art Museum
The observation deck at the top offers an impressive view of the city. The bronze statue of William Penn on the top is by Alexander Milne Calder, the grandfather of the 20th century Calder of mobile fame. When Philly sports teams do well, an increasingly rare occurance, it's customary to "dress" the statue in a sports jersey.
If you walk north, right on the sidewalk you can see William Penn's "Prayer for Philadelphia."
When William Penn planned Philadelphia, it was his intention to have a central square, Penn Square is where City Hall stands today. It rises 510 feet high and its clock tower is topped by the figure of William Penn. When driving throughout Philadelphia, William Penn, a tall gent 37 feet high, looks benignly down upon your travels and welcomes you to his city.
City Hall is an example of French Second-Empire Architecture. It was the most expensive municipal building to erect, taking thirty years to complete due to many delays. It is the nation's largest municipal building! The entrance in the photograph is the West Portal--the smallest and simplest of the entrances.
City Hall is open Mon.-Fri. from 9:30 am-4:30 pm with tours occuring every 15 minutes. There is no charge for the tour.
The building that houses the City Hall is an impressive tall/huge building in French second empire style (pic 1). I’ve read that was designed to be world’s tallest building but although the construction started in 1871 it didn’t finish until 1901 (and the cost went up to millions these 30 years) when other building were already taller.
There are about 700 different rooms but what I liked most was the Clock Tower which dominates Philadelphia skyline. At the top is 11m statue of William Penn (city’s founder)
There’s a 90’ tour Monday-Friday but the reason we actually visited the City Hall because we wanted to go up to the Tower of City Hall and have a pigeon’s eye view of the city. First we took our tickets ($5) at the bottom level where the souvenir store is and then we went up with the elevator. First to the 7th floor and then we followed the red lines on the floor to the escalator that goes to 9th floor waiting room. Then the guard will take you to the top with another elevator that leads to the observation desk which is below Penn’s statue). There are no refunds if late so arrive at the Tower 15 minutes before scheduled time.
At pics 2-3 you can see some of the pics we took from up there.
The City Hall is open Monday to Friday 9.00-16.30
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.
One of the most unique and distinctive buildings in Philadelphia, City Hall was constructed from 1871 to 1901. This square was in William Penn's original 1682 design of the city, but it took many years for the city to expand west from the Delaware River.
City Hall is designed as a huge square with a 548 foot tower. Its 700 rooms make it the largest municipal building in the US, and it houses all three branches of city government.
At the top of City Hall's tower is the famous and highly visible statue of Pennsylvania's founder, William Penn. This 37 foot-tall statue weighs 77 tons, and includes intricate details, such as the buttons and lace cuffs. Mr. Penn is pointing a hand towards Penn Treaty Park where a peace treaty was signed with the local Indians, and he is carrying the Charter of Pennsylvania.
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
While in Philadelphia, why don't you stop for a visit to City Hall. Often overlooked, City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States. The building contains over 14.5 acres of floor space. On top of City Hall sits a 27-ton statue of William Penn atop the clock tower. Until 1987, there was a city law that no buildings could be higher than the top of the William Penn statue, but that has passed as many buildings now reach higher into the sky.
There are tours that will take you throughout the building but my advice is to pass on the tour and instead take a FREE walk up the stairs to the observation deck which provides a panoramic view of the city.
As for the picture you see, this is City Hall during the Christmas Holiday season. 2005 marks a new beginning for City Hall as for the first time, instead of the traditional lights, City Hall is illuminated in amzaing colors from projected imagery. Casa Magica for Artlumiere of Paris, France has created this amazing site that makes it appear that City Hall has undergone a new paint job.
The Philadelphia City Hall building is made of marble, granite, limestone, bricks, and concrete. It is the larges city hall in the country. The building stands in Penn Square and is pedestrian friendly with its tunnels that allow you to cross between Broad and Market Streets. The tower atop the building is open for tours.
In the center of downtown Philadelphia is the nation’s largest municipal building. City Hall is situated in the exact geographical center of William Penn's original 1682 plans for the city, now known as the intersections of Broad and Market Streets, Center Square.
City Hall includes some 700 rooms and more than 250 architectural relief’s and freestanding sculptures, including its most famous 37’ bronze William Penn statue topping the clock tower. I found one of the most remarkable features to be the 250 relief and freestanding sculptures, all created by Alexander Milne Calder adhered to this ornate building.
Inside City Hall we climbed up and down several grand staircases. We visited the City Council Room but found the Supreme Court & several other rooms locked. We took a small elevator above the clock up to the top of the tower. The views were impressive as were the photographs.
OK, it's not a MUST see. More of a "it would be nice if you are nearby" see.
The photo is of City Hall. Look up top... higher, higher... there on top is Billy Penn (William to those that aren't on a personal level with him).
See if you can find someone to give you a tour of City Hall and give you some information about it... largest freestanding masonary building in the world (no, I don't fully know what that means), etc. The building has an interesting story.
Every weekday you can get a free guided tour of Philadelphia's City Hall. If you aren't interested in the tour you can just go up for a view of the city from the top of William Penn's statue. The building itself is the largest free standing masonry structure in the world. The city just changed this and the tour is NO LONGER FREE.
As I can't figure out how to put more than one photograph on a page I thought I'd create this one for another shot of City Hall.
If you look closely you'll see, City Hall is embellished with a statues. I once read that it has more art work on it than any other building in the world. I find that a little hard to believe but I can tell you that you can spend hours searching for all of them.
I admit that I'm one of the people that overlook this fantastic building. I take it for granted since it's Philly's City Hall. However, it also is the world's tallest masonry building! William Penn (The founder of Pennsylvania, go figure) is the bronze statue at the top. This is just one of hundreds of sculptures at the site. His statue is also the tallest atop any building in the world. There's a great observation deck where you can have an expansive view of the city. For more unique legends, go ahead and look up the "Curse of William Penn".
Tours for non school groups are noon to 4:15 M-F.
The centre of town is dominated by this huge building, that really impressed me.
I'm not going to write about it, but strongly advice to follow the link bellow, where all the details are explained by someone more qualified than me.
A skyline of modern skyscrapers circle around this spectacular architectural gem. The largest city hall in America, Philadelphia's French Revival City Hall is a wonder. The inside is amazing as well and they offer free tours every day at 12:30pm. At the end of the tour, they take you up to the top and you get a great view of the city as well as a sight of the gigantic William Penn statue perched on top. It is also a great way to get acquainted with the interesting history of Philadelphia.