This blog entry is presented by the slip and fall injury lawyers that form part of the Philly Slip and Fall Guys team.
One of the five original public parks planned by William Penn himself when he structured out the city of Philadelphia in 1682, Franklin Square is located in the Center City region between N 6th and 7th Streets and between Race St. and I-676. Recognized in the present day as on of the city’s favority playtime oasis, it also features the Parx Liberty Carousel, the Philly Mini Golf course, and the local-favorite SquareBurger.
North East Publick Square
William Penn envisioned Philadelphia as a “Green Countrie Towne,” and, as a result, quite prominent in his design was a central square with four additional squares equidistant from the origin. The 5 public squares, open green spaces to be shared by all, would be havens commerce for settlers within the bustling city. Initially given directional appellations – northeast square, center square, north east square and so on, today the squares possess the names of inspirational individuals in the city’s history.
Penn hoped for settlers to enjoy of this organized space and in doing so set an example for other settlers, particularly one of social discipline. However, Penn’s did not actually possess the proper power to rule over the squares and the activities that occurred on them. When more settlers immigrated to the city, the squares were widely neglected. Throughout history, they were employed as fields for animals to graze upon, as gunpowder storages during the American Revolution, and even as a graveyard. Philadelphians who felt the cemetery was against William Penn’s plan protested, demanding the square be used for nature purposes. In spite of these public demonstrations, the square was continually used for burial purposes over the coming decades.
It wasn’t until 1837 that the square was made into a public park, a use which continues today. William Rush and Thomas Birch redesigned the park to depict nature, employing symmetrical walkways and plant areas. This was to ensure the park would be orderly for tourists while respecting the vision that William Penn originally had for it.
Abandonment & Decline of Franklin Square
In the 19th and through to the early 20th centuries, Franklin Sq was at the center of a high-end residential neighborhood. Unfortunately, beginning in the ’20s, the rise of the automobile began the decline of the Square and its surrounding neighborhood. Namely, the construction of the Ben Franklin Bridge, which required the demolition of fashionable homes, shops, and other structures. Pedestrian access to the park was effectively cut off in a major way, while commercial use of the surrounding area also declined. All in all, the entire neighborhood declined, ultimately earning the name of Philly’s “Skid Row.”
A New Life for Franklin Square
In the year 2006, Historic Philadelphia, Inc took over management of the square. Through a $5.5 million project, they ultimately managed to restore the 19th-century fountain in the park center, while also bringing in numerous attractions. The park was reopened in July 2006.
The newly implemented attractions include a golf course, a playground, a carousel, and plentiful gardens. The park’s renovation also spurred the evolution of the surrounding area, including new housing, commercial, and office lots.
The slip and fall injury lawyers at Philly Slip and Fall Guys frequently visit Franklin Square and after reading this entry, they hope you too will swing by and check out this Center City staple.