Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rittenhouse Square, Philadelphia PA

Duck Girl by Paul Manship at the Children's Fountain
One of my favorite places to visit whenever I go to Philadelphia is Rittenhouse Square. This urban oasis is one of five parks that were in the original plans of the city as laid out by William Penn in the late 17th century. In 1825 the park was renamed for David Rittenhouse, a descendant of William Rittenhouse. William founded the first paper mill in the American colonies, and was a Mennonite minister in Philadelphia. David Rittenhouse was a clock-maker, astronomer and the first director of the U.S. Mint.

File:Charles Willson Peale - David Rittenhouse - Google Art Project.jpg
David Rittenhouse by Charles Wilson Peale 1796 (National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC)
I like Rittenhouse Square because it is an embodiment of what an urban square should be. It teems with life. It reminds me of Washington Square Park and Union Square in NYC. It teems with life. Families come to enjoy some outdoor time. Students from Philly's several colleges come to hang out. Buskers come to try and make a buck. Why you never know who you might meet.

Benjamin Franklin enjoying the afternoon,

Many people go to one of the nearby restaurants, pick up some food and drink, and then head to the square to eat and people watch.

The square has also been given some fun and playful statuary.

Duck Girl by Paul Manship 1914
Evelyn Taylor Price Memorial Sundial by Beatrice Fenton 1947

Giant Frog by Cornelia Chapin 1941

Lion Crushing Serpent by Antione Louis Barye (original 1833) cast in 1891

The neighborhood around Rittenhouse Square is mostly residential sitting between downtown Philadelphia and Schuylkill River. Its architecture includes residential buildings, churches and businesses.

The Fell-van Renssellaer House

Liberti Church
Curch of the Holy Trinity

The Rittenhouse Square neighborhood is filled with stores and restaurants. You can spend most of a day wandering around, looking for bargains, eating lunch and hanging out in the park. Enjoy!

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