Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Over the years the city has grown enormously in all directions, except to the east, where there is the natural limit given by the main river, gradually covering the entire area of ​​the peninsula between the two rivers, moving towards north in the Wissahickon basin, a left tributary of the Schuylkill (Germantown, Chestnut Hill, etc.), and to the north-east (Frankford, etc.), moving, to the west, beyond the Schuylkill River (West Philadelphia). By law of 1854 the various corporated districts which had been created gradually with the progress of demographic development, starting in 1762, were abolished and the borders of Philadelphia were brought to the borders of the county, incorporating numerous centers, such as Frankford, Germantown, Manayunk, Bridesburg, etc. In this way the city increased dramatically in population, as the comparative figures of the 1850 and 1860 censuses attest.

According to A2zcamerablog, the topographical structure of the metropolis is not uniform, but varies according to the position with respect to the course of the waterways and the morphology of the soil, which is a bit rough especially in the north-western section of the county (Wissahickon basin Creek), where it exceeds 100 m. The uniformity of the master plan in the central part of the metropolis is today interrupted by large diagonals, among which we will remember Lancaster Avenue, Ridge Avenue, the great Roosevelt Boulevard and finally the Parkway, recently opened, a magnificent artery, which, starting from City Hall leads to Fairmount Park on the banks of the Schuylkill river: with these diagonals we try to remedy the traffic problem, which has become disturbing in recent years.

Numerous bridges cross the Schuylkill River, some of which are for railway communications and can be opened. Among the most important we will mention the Penrose Ferry Bridge, 1.6 km away. from the Schuylkill outlet in Delaware; the Passyunk Avenue Bridge, 4.9 km. from the mouth; Gray’s Ferry Bridge, 7.8 km. from the outlet; the South Street Bridge, 6 miles away. from Delaware. Alongside these are three swing bridges for the Pennsylvania and Baltimore and Ohio Railways lines. All the other bridges, including the very important one on which Market Street passes, are fixed and all have a height above the maximum water level of more than 6 meters, thus allowing the underpass to boats of modest size. On the Delaware, on the other hand, given the breadth of the river and the needs of great navigation, until a few years ago there was only the Pennsylvania Railroad bridge, about 1600 meters upstream of Petty Island. In the year 1926, the largest suspension bridge in the world was opened to traffic, linking Philadelphia with Camden. The work, begun in 1922, cost the sum of over 37 million dollars. The distance between the two support towers is 525 meters.

The city is very rich in parks and gardens, which are 140 in all, covering an area of ​​over 28 sq km. The largest and most famous is Fairmount Park, located on both sides of the Schuylkill (over 14 sq km), now linked to City Hall by the Parkway. The park began in June 1812: it contains numerous buildings of historical importance and some buildings from the 1876 Exposition, and is very rich in streets and avenues adorned with statues. Other parks are Pennypack Park, Cobb’s Creek, League Island on the island of the same name, Roosevelt Boulevard, etc. The Fairmount Park Commission has Fairmount Park and 22 other smaller parks under its jurisdiction.

Monument and art collections. – Philadelphia is full of public buildings of artistic and historical importance, such as the City Hall, a huge marble and granite building executed in 1874 in the style of the French Renaissance by John McArthur Junior, the public library, the Independence Hall, built between 1732 and 1735, rebuilt in 1897, where the congress met during the revolution and on 4 July 1776 proclaimed national independence, the Carpenters Hall, seat of the first colonial congress in 1774, the commercial museum, the Masonic temple, in Norman style, erected between 1868 and 1873.

Among the main commemorative monuments that adorn its squares are the statues of Stephen Girard, of Generals Reynolds and McClellan, of Benjamin Franklin, work of John J. Boyle (1900), and of George Washington, work of JA Bailly (1869).

Art teaching is given in Philadelphia at the Pennsylvania School of Industrial Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, to which is attached a gallery containing, along with many others, works by Bouguereau (Orestes chased by the Erinyes), J.-J. Le Febure (Psyche), Ribera (cid), Courbert (Oak), Fortuny (The city palace in Grenade), Cabanel (Birth of Venus), Sargent (portraits of John W. Fielde and his wife), Rodin (Reclining figure).

The University Museum has a fine collection of objects excavated in Crete on the initiative of the university, Etruscan antiquities, especially from the necropolises of Narce and Vulci, and Cypriots, Greek vases, Roman sculptures, coins and medals. The Pennsylvania Museum is adorned with a beautiful female portrait by Parmigianino and a Tiepolo (Christ who heals the paralytic). The Johnson Museum is one of the most important in America for Italian painting, which is represented by a Madonna and Child with Saints by Bernardo Daddi, a Madonna and Child by Pietro Lorenzetti, four Saints by Masolino, a portrait of Lorenzo Lorenzano and four sacred compositions by Botticelli, from a ‘ Adoration of the Shepherds by Signorelli, from a Pietà by Carlo Crivelli, from a portrait of a man by Antonello da Messina, from a Madonna by Giovanni Bellini, to remember only the major ones. (For the Johnson Museum, see B. Berenson’s catalog, Philadelphia 1913).

Of great value and almost exclusively dedicated to Italian painting is also the collection by Joseph E. Widener, in which I am a David by Andrea del Castagno, a self-portrait by Lorenzo di Credi, a female portrait by Neroccio, the stupendous Judithby Andrea Mantegna, the Orpheus by Giovanni Bellini, the famous “Madonna of the Cowper house” by Raphael, the portrait of Bianca Maria Sforza by Ambrogio De Predis.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

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