|Surprising to many, the Swedish
actually were the first Europeans to settle in Philadelphia.
Though not long after, William Penn settled upriver where the
Schuylkill meets the Delaware River. Charles II of England was
in debt to Penn’s father (an admiral in the British army)
and that debt was paid in land. William Penn turned out to be
a brilliant city planner. He laid out the city in a grid. Street
running north and south were numbered and streets running east
to west were
named after trees. Penn was able to attract settlers with great
success. Little by little the gridular settlement filled in.
Although Philadelphia was settled after New York and Boston, the
city grew to become the largest English speaking city in the British
empire, nest to London. By 1800, Philadelphia had spread as far
west as Broad Street. During colonial times, Philadelphia thrived
in virtually every way.
One of the most prominent Philadelphians during that era was Benjamin
Franklin. Franklin had tremendous success as a printer, inventor,
scientist, diplomat and as a statement. He was beloved by the city.
Ben Franklin remained a loyal British subject until England’s
harsh policies pushed him (and many others) in favor of independence.
Declaration of Independence
George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, and many others
met in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to debate, draft,
and sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4th 1176. The declaration
was read publicly on July 8th in Independence Square.
British troops occupied patriot homes during the Revolutionary War,
which eventually brought battles to Philadelphia. After independence
had been won, the Constitutional Convention met in 1787 in Philadelphia.
The delegates crafted the Constitution of the United States, which
is still followed today. Philadelphia functioned as the U.S. capital
After the capital moved to Washington DC, Philadelphia remained
a prominent industrial hub. Philadelphia fueled the transportation
revolution and was also a key supply center during the Civil War.
Philadelphia endured some difficult times during the 20th century.
Much of the Philadelphia’s population moved outside the city
to newer, cleaner suburban areas. Consequently, the city became
susceptible to crime, drugs, and homelessness.
Polish was brought back to Philadelphia with the opening of the
Pennsylvania Convention Center in 1993. Since them there have been
a number of revitalization efforts aimed at cleaning up center city:
landmarks have been restored, streets repaved, and buildings have
been renovated. Subsequently, businesses, stylish shops, and fine
restaurants have returned. Philadelphia’s center city is once
again a prestigious area to live and work in. Furthermore, tourism
has emerged as a lucrative industry that’s brought wealth
back to the area.
Philadelphia has regained its luster and has an even brighter outlook
on the horizon. However, the city remembers its rich history and
honors its heritage.