American City: Philadelphia

Philadelphia

Location in the United States

Location in the United States

Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the fifth-most populous in the United States.

In the Northeastern United States, at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the Delaware Valley, a metropolitan area home to 7.2 million people and the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

 

 

In 1682, William Penn founded the city to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Philadelphia was one of the nation’s capitals in the Revolutionary War, and served as temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C., was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and railroad hub that grew from an influx of European immigrants. It became a prime destination for African-Americans in the Great Migration and surpassed two million occupants by 1950.

 

Panoramic view of the Philadelphia skyline in 2009

Panoramic view of the Philadelphia skyline in 2009

Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to seven Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is growing, with several nationally prominent skyscrapers. The city is known for its arts, culture, and history, attracting over 39 million domestic tourists in 2013. Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city, and Fairmount Park is the largest landscaped urban park in the world. The 67 National Historic Landmarks in the city helped account for the $10 billion generated by tourism. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, and is also the home of many U.S. firsts, including the first library (1731), first hospital (1751) and medical school (1765), first Capitol (1777), first stock exchange (1790), first zoo (1874), and first business school (1881).  Philadelphia is the only World Heritage City in the United States.

Merchants' Exchange Building

Merchants’ Exchange Building

The Washington Monument at Eakins Oval

The Washington Monument at Eakins Oval