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Franklin Square
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FRANKLIN SQUARE

Northeast Square, as it was originally called, is the least known of the city squares. As an open common before 1815 it provided pasturage and a site for the horse and cattle markets.

In 1741 a portion of the square was release to the German Reform Church for use as a burial ground.

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When the state Supreme Court Declared the case invalid in 1835, many of the congregation's graves were moved, but some remain to this day, covered over by the lawns and bushes. In recent years a memorial plaque has been placed near the central pool. During the Revolution the square also held a powder house, and in the War of 1812 it served as a drilling ground for troops. In 1825, then years after the city began to level and plant the ground, the square assumed its current name in honor of Benjamin Franklin.

As the nearby residential  developments of the 19th century gave way to 20th  century warehouses, industry and other commercial  operations, the square became less popular as a place  for walking and recreation. With the building of the  Benjamin Franklin Bridge and the Vine Street Expressway,  it has become increasingly isolated, despite its proximity  to Independence Mall. Although it currently has playground  equipment, a small baseball diamond, a fenced central  pool, colonial-style lamps, and a large collection  of benches among the trees, Franklin Square goes relatively  unnoticed by passersby. Near the southeast corner  is a memorial to the Philadelphia police and firefighters  who died in the line of duty, with honor rolls listing  the names of the fallen.

The square's eastern border  also offers a close-up view of Bolt of Lightning -  a memorial to Benjamin Franklin, which stands across  6th Street in Monument Plaza. A gleaming, 101-foot  sculpture by international renowned artist Ismau Noguchi,  the Bolt is an angular, stylized rendering of Franklin's  legendary electrical lightning experiment involving  a kite, a key, and a now-famous thunderstorm.

 

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The mission of the Fairmount Park Commission is to preserve and protect the park's open spaces, to provide opportunities for recreation, to maintain the landscapes, structures, streams and woodlands that exist within the boundaries of the park for the health and enjoyment of the citizens.
Copyright 2004 Fairmount Park Commission - All Rights Reserved