Philadelphia’s City Hall has loomed proudly in Center City since it topped out in 1894, but its tower continues to stand only thanks to several renovations. While the municipal floors of the building only rise nine stories high, the clock tower remains the largest freestanding masonry structure in the world to this day. The edifice is topped by a 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania, which brings the tower to a full height of 548 feet. The structure was designed by John McArthur Jr. and Thomas Ustick Walter, and was completed in 1901. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look back at the direly-needed renovation for the top of the clock tower that took place in the 1980s.
Philadelphia City Hall
The 37-foot-tall statue of William Penn atop the City Hall clock tower brings the structure to a full height of 548 feet. As YIMBY discussed in yesterday’s story, the intended south-facing direction of the statue, crafted by sculptor Alexander Milne Calder, was changed at the last minute, and for nearly 127 years the figure has faced northeast. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY looks back at the onetime proposal to have the statue revolve around its axis so it could gaze upon the entire city.
The statue of William Penn has stood at the very top of Philadelphia City Hall in Center City for well over a hundred years, facing northeast. The large figure of the Quaker was crafted by sculptor Alexander Milne Calder, who also produced the smaller statues just above the clock house and around the entire building. The 548-foot-tall Philadelphia City Hall was designed by John McArthur Jr. and Thomas Ustick Walter, renown architects of their time. In this feature, Philadelphia YIMBY takes a look back at the original southern direction the statue was supposed to face and at the subsequent change.
The statue of William Penn has stood at the peak of City Hall in Center City for almost 127 years, rising to a height of 547 feet. The sculpture was created by Alexander Milne Calder,…
At the time of construction, Philadelphia City Hall at 1400 John F. Kennedy Boulevard in Center City was a building that was both ahead of its time and inspired by traditional design. The municipal floors and the clock tower feature stone walls, cornices, pillars, and decorative additions that brought the public to awe. The 548-foot structure was designed by John McArthur Jr. and Thomas Ustick Walter, who have both worked on other well-known buildings. John McArthur Jr. designed the First National Bank, and Thomas Ustick Walter designed the new and current dome of the Capital Building in Washington D.C. While the highest space in the building sits nine floors above ground, the clock tower stands hundreds of feet tall and was constructed just after the municipal floors. Today Philadelphia YIMBY looks at the construction of the clock tower, which ranks as the world’s tallest freestanding masonry building.