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Philadelphia , city and port, coextensive with Philadelphia county, southeastern Pennsylvania, U. It is situated at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. Area square miles square km. Philadelphia has been described both as the elegant but rather jaded great lady and as the overage and sickly spinster of American cities.

A more realistic look at Philadelphia, however, shows it to be a very modern and vigorous city, arising in gracious counterpoint to the deep serenity of an older city that has provided gentle but firm intellectual , economic, and humanitarian direction to the nation at whose birth it played midwife.

Philadelphia, the largest city in Pennsylvania, displays many characteristics of a small town. Its many trees, parks and other open spaces, and its quiet pace of life reflect in various ways the genteel Quaker heritage bestowed on the city by its founder, William Penn.

Nearly everywhere are dignified reminders of the colonial and Revolutionary city and of Benjamin Franklin , a Philadelphian by adoption, who left his imprint on innumerable ongoing institutions, both cultural and commercial, in the city.

Beneath this facade, however, Philadelphia represents an urban cluster of national and international stature. Its place in history was secured by its role as the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence , the constitutional convention of , and second U. The Port of Philadelphia and Camden , one of the largest freshwater ports in the world, is the major element in the official agglomeration of Delaware River ports, collectively one of the busiest shipping centres in the world.

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. The coextensive boundaries of Philadelphia city and county remain essentially as defined by the Consolidation Act of The grid of streets in central Philadelphia, the first U.

Midway between the two rivers, Penn Square, occupied by City Hall, is the centre of the plan. Westward from Penn Square along John F. Kennedy Boulevard is Penn Center, and the long stretch of Broad Street, north and south of Penn Square, has been called the Avenue of the Arts because of its numerous cultural attractions. The multilevel complex comprises high-rise offices and hotels, with interior courts and malls and underground walkways lined with shops and restaurants.

Benjamin Franklin Parkway provides a splendid vista as it cuts diagonally northwestward from Penn Square through the grid, encircling Logan Square and leading into Fairmount Park. 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. The oldest sections of Philadelphia— Southwark, Society Hill , and the Independence Hall area—lie to the east, along and inland from the Delaware.

Southwark is the oldest, having been settled by Swedes in Those of its ancient and dilapidated houses that have escaped bulldozing for riverfront expressways resemble the edifices of Society Hill before its restoration began in the s. Independence National Historical Park , established in and designated a World Heritage Site in , contains Independence Hall , where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were created, and many other buildings used by the Revolutionary and early federal governments.

In , the Independence Visitor Center opened in the park, and in , the new Liberty Bell Center was opened to house the famous bell. Also nearby is the National Constitution Center, which was opened on July 4, , to promote the better understanding of the U. Throughout these areas and elsewhere, domestic architecture is characterized primarily by two- and three-story red-brick structures fronting directly on the sidewalks and containing impressive examples of colonial design both outside and inside.

The Philadelphia Historical Commission has certified about 7, buildings and structures, ranging from 17th-century houses to a bridge constructed in 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. In , a change was signalled by the completion of the first of a number of new skyscrapers that redefined the skyline of Philadelphia and formed part of the construction boom that took place during the s and early s.

The long stretches of Philadelphia north, south, and west of the intersection of Broad and Chestnut streets, a city hub of sorts just below Penn Square, contain numerous distinctive sections, often identified for generations with various ethnic groups that have filled the city during its long history. South Philadelphia contains sections, notably Italian and Irish, settled by European immigrants mainly in the 19th century as well as a large African American section.

Though Philadelphia has had most of the characteristics of an ethnic and racial melting pot nearly from its start, it lacks the steaming hurly-burly visible everywhere in its behemoth neighbour, New York City, about 90 miles km northeast. A basic sobriety underlying these tenets led to many stringent laws that remain in both the city and state.

On the other hand, these groups strove for tolerance in all matters. Pennsylvania was among the few colonies admitting Roman Catholics and Jews, and the Quakers long were leaders in seeking justice and the alleviation of inhumanity in racial and other human relations. Philadelphia still has innumerable small, endowed charities of Quaker origin to provide the poor with fuel or food—as well as one of the oldest and strongest municipal commissions on human relations.

Cultural conflicts and competition for housing and jobs created tensions between the old stock groups and the new arrivals. A series of anti-Catholic nativist riots rocked Philadelphia in the Jacksonian period, with an especially violent riot in ; Catholics gradually gained acceptance, and two Philadelphia Catholics, the immigrant St.

John Neumann and the native born St. Katharine Drexel , were canonized. Although immigrants came to Philadelphia in the hundreds of thousands in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the city had a relatively low proportion of foreign-born when compared with other major cities at that time. Some Irish, Italian, Polish, and Jewish newcomers did find opportunities for considerable economic advancement in Philadelphia; for many, however, hopes never materialized and progress toward full acceptance was slow.

Philadelphia has been the focal point of one of the historically most important black communities in the nation. During the early national and antebellum periods, many black leaders came from or centred their activities in Philadelphia, and the free black community there was intensely involved in many efforts to abolish slavery, assist fugitive slaves, and advance the general social and economic well-being of blacks. In , the American Anti-Slavery Society was organized in the city.

Between and , however, the Philadelphia black community was victimized by several antiblack mob actions. At the beginning of the 20th century Philadelphia was the site of the largest black community of any northern city. Discrimination in housing resulted in the creation of overcrowded black districts, but activists including the Rev. Leon Sullivan , perhaps best known for the Sullivan Principles and work against apartheid in South Africa , struggled to overcome these problems.

By the late 20th century about 40 percent of all Philadelphians and well over 50 percent of the public school population were black. The suburbs, by contrast, were about 95 percent white. Such old and once-dominant industries as textile mills met stiff competition from the South and from abroad.

Industry was given a boost by World War II but began to decline later; thousands of jobs were lost in the s. Nonmanufacturing and service industries, however, continue to increase employment and now dominate the economy. High-technology industries such as communications, computer software, and Internet commerce became important in the late 20th century.

Printing and publishing and food processing are major factors in the modern economy. Manufactures include chemicals, industrial machinery, fabricated metal products, electronics, transportation equipment, scientific instruments, apparel, paper products, rubber and plastic products, and primary metals.

A decline has been evident in the migration of both people and businesses from the city to the suburbs. The Valley Forge area, best known as a Revolutionary War historic site, has become a nest of business and industrial locations.

Much of this relocation is under the sponsorship of the Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation. One of the mainstays of the economy in Philadelphia and much of eastern Pennsylvania from before the birth of the nation was the naval yard, which employed tens of thousands of workers in its prime. Ship building emerged as an important part of the economy in the late 18th century, and the Continental Congress commissioned five ships from Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War.

A naval shipyard was opened in by an act of Congress of , and the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard became one of the most important production sites for the navy. During World War II some 50 new ships were built there and hundreds more were repaired.

In , the Defense Base Closure Commission recommended that the shipyard be closed, and the yard received its final commission, which was completed in The yard closed in Efforts were made to keep the yard going even before it closed, and in an agreement was reached with a major Norwegian shipbuilder. Ship production began again in , and the first ship built at the new Kvaener Philadelphia Shipyard was completed on March George Washington approved the first U.

In West Philadelphia is located the Science Center, a nonprofit project of more than 30 academic and scientific institutions with a multimillion-dollar commitment to research. Dupont, Rohm and Haas, and Lockheed Martin are other large concerns with extensive research programs within the metropolitan area. A major milestone in the computer age was born out of experiments at the University of Pennsylvania , where the ENIAC computer was launched in The unique Food Distribution Center, a nonprofit corporation managed by a board of directors representing city government and private enterprise, is a prime example of how Philadelphia has joined the work of the private and public sectors to serve the best interests of both.

Covering more than acres hectares , it is a food-industry park handling in a unified operation every food-marketing facility from ripening bananas to smoking fish; it is composed of more than stores plus warehousing and processing plants. From its early days until the s, Philadelphia was the financial capital of the United States, but it lost this position to New York City.

It was the birthplace of American banking, and the first building and loan association was founded there. Philadelphia also supplies the stock and exchange services demanded by modern business. The Philadelphia Commercial Exchange was set up in as an outgrowth of the older Corn Exchange Association of to regulate the then-flourishing grain and flour trade. The Philadelphia Bourse was organized in , and the Maritime Exchange was founded in Philadelphia has the oldest stock exchange founded in in the United States.

Mint is located within the city. One of the first subway systems in the United States was established in the city in and remains a centrepiece of public transportation in Philadelphia. Express buses provide rapid service between the inner and outer city. A high speed rail line connects Philadelphia with nearby communities in New Jersey and a ferry and rail line link the city with the renovated waterfront in Camden, New Jersey.

A joint New Jersey—Pennsylvania bridge commission operates 7 toll and 13 tax-supported bridges over the Delaware north of the city.

Two of these are solely for pedestrian use. The Schuylkill is bridged at a number of points and has a subway tunnel. The authority has also carried out major improvement and expansion programs throughout the entire port area. Philadelphia International Airport is less than 7 miles 11 km from the city centre.

The city-county consolidation in was a result of the inability of a colonial-type government by committees to adapt to the needs of a growing city for new public services, e.

Ironically, Philadelphia had, in fact, led most cities in providing urban improvements, but they were too few and too slow, and the breakdown of law and order in the s forced changes.

Until the early s the standard type of U. As in other large cities, this form was subject to pressures for special favours, such as street-railway franchises and public-works contracts; bribery and corruption were both inevitable and rampant.

The reform movement that began in was joined in by top business and financial leaders, who organized the Greater Philadelphia movement, and together they took up the battle for an entirely new city charter. This document effectively removed the city council from its administrative role and increased the staff and powers of the mayor. A strong civil-service commission improved professional employment.


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