Restoration of the old but habitable has been more characteristic than wholesale demolition and rebuilding throughout most of the city.
Even in its downtown section, Philadelphia continues to be a city of shops rather than of huge merchandising outlets.
Once a section of outlying estates of the wealthy, the park contains many fine old mansions maintained by the city as museums.
Through it winds the narrow valley of Wissahickon Creek, whose rugged beauty has inspired generations of poets and painters.
City Hall contains 700 rooms and 250 architectural reliefs and sculptures by William Penn that stands atop the building’s main tower; the tip of his hat— almost 549 feet above ground level, or approximately 33 stories—was for some 90 years the highest point in the city, by an unwritten “gentleman’s agreement.” Four shady, fountained squares—Logan, Franklin, Washington, and Rittenhouse—dot the quadrants.
Its place in history was secured by its role as the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the constitutional convention of 1787, and second U. The enormous industrial production of the city and the surrounding metropolitan area represents a continuation of Philadelphia’s early leadership in the Industrial Revolution and in American commerce and finance generally.
Lying in the midst of the vast urban community stretching down the Eastern Seaboard, Philadelphia is an integral part of the vibrant fabric of contemporary social and economic life as well as a tranquil oasis joining together the spirit of America, past and present.
Philadelphians by and large are not a street people, and their orientation has been so traditionally toward the home that the city became known as a “city of homes.” Philadelphians are also great joiners, giving the city more social and other clubs than any other in America.
Many of these are based in ethnic neighbourhoods, others are city wide, and still others serve the affluent “Main Liners” who reside in the plush suburbs that grew up in past centuries along the main line of the Pennsylvania Railroad (now Amtrak).