The Philadelphia City Hall, built between 1871-1901, is the largest municipal building in the USA and is also the tallest masonry building in the world. Its architect was John McArthur Jr, and the sculptor of the William Penn statue was Alexander Milne Calder.
Still traveling on foot while it was getting hotter that Sunday afternoon, I skipped seeing the Liberty Bell as the queue was a bit slow. I headed straight instead towards the Independence Hall, where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.
There was a garden behind it where I saw a statue of John Barry, Father of the American Navy, who served during the war for independence.
Crossing the Walnut Street behind Independence Call and turning to right is the Washington Square. I thought at first that this place was a tribute to George Washington, but I found later as I was reading through the walls around the square that this is where the unmarked graves of thousands of soldiers of Washington’s army who died from sickness during the Revolutionary War lie. As I walked to the fountain towards to the middle of the square I could see the monument and a court of flags. Except for the squirrels running about from one tree to another, there is an air of somberness – in honor of the fallen soldiers who dedicated their lives for the fight of freedom. As I neared the monument I read from its wall “Freedom is a light for which many men have died in darkness.” There is also an excerpt from Washington’s farewell address on September 17, 1796 that reads: “The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts – of common dangers, sufferings and success.”
You can find Washington Square at 210 W Washington Square, Philadelphia, PA 19106, USA.
I feel like the first week of August just flashed through my eyes. I spent most of it in Philadelphia, USA for a business trip – and though the long intercontinental flights from and back to the Philippines was arduous, aggravated by a stye after my first night in Philly I’m dwelling on the bright side: safe travels, getting work done and meeting new people. On the side, I was able to spend a Sunday walking about and getting to know The City of Brotherly Love more personally.
Determined to shrug off the effects of jet lag, I started the day reviewing the things to do and places to explore, as recommended by the likes of TripAdvisor and Google Maps. My itinerary was a self-walking tour, as I’ve been told that there are lots of historical landmarks that the city has to offer.
From the hotel I walked through Broad St where the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts greeted me at my right. I liked the gigantic paint brush structure next to it – I took it as a sign to stop procrastinating about my artwork and getting my watercolor paintings restarted.
Further down the road is the majestic Philadelphia City Hall – a sight to behold, with its grand clock tower and the statue of Philadelphia’s founder, William Penn At the top. I decided to check it out later as I was off to hear mass at 930 AM, so I turned right and walked along Arch Street and then through Benjamin Franklin Pkwy where I passed by the eye-catching sculptures made by various artists.
When I arrived at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, I was twenty minutes early so I decided to walk around Logan Square, where there was a big fountain and a beautiful panoramic view of the surrounding buildings like the Free Library of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute, The Academy of Natural Sciences and the Cathedral Basilica. From a distance I could see the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the famous Rocky Steps. I miscalculated that one though – I thought it would take me just an hour to go from the cathedral to the museum basing on Google Maps. I contemplated if I had enough time, or energy to walk all the way as it was already getting hot even though it’s early in the morning. It didn’t take me long to decide – I figured I’ll just admire it from a distance. Note to self: next time start earlier and bring a larger water bottle.
I spent the next 20 minutes sitting at one of the benches next to the fountain of Logan Square, watching people letting their dogs take a dip and gallop in the fountain’s pool. This made me smile and miss my boys back home. Dogs and their simple joys – a reminder of the best things in life that money can’t buy.