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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Alternate meanings: Philadelphia (disambiguation)

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania, occupying all of Philadelphia County. 6. As of the 2000 census, the population was 1,517,550. It is one of the oldest cities in the United States (dating from 1681) and during part of the 18th century was the first capital and then-largest city of the United States. At that time it eclipsed Boston, Massachusetts and New York, New York in political and social importance, with Boston-born Benjamin Franklin playing an extraordinary role in its rise.

The city is the central city for the Delaware Valley metropolitan area.

Downtown is known informally as "Center City."

Philadelphia City Flag

Current Seal of the City of Philadelphia

Table of contents
1 History
2 Street layout of Philadelphia
3 Government
4 Business
5 Geography
6 Demographics
7 Transportation
8 People and Culture of Philadelphia
9 Philadelphia in film and television
10 Colleges and universities in Philadephia
11 Professional sports teams
12 List of museums
13 List of sites of interest
14 Events
15 External Links


Philadelphia was a planned city founded and developed by William Penn, a Quaker. It was a major center of the independence movement in the American Revolutionary War.

For a time in the 18th century, Philadelphia was the largest city in the Americas north of Mexico City, and second only to London in size in the British Empire.

An early railroad center, Philadelphia was the original home of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the world's largest builder of steam locomotives (which relocated to nearby Eddystone, Pennsylvania). The Pennsylvania Railroad, once America's largest railroad by revenue and traffic volume and at one time the largest public corporation in the world, was headquartered on Broad Street, as was its merger successor, the Penn Central Railroad.

The city limits have been coterminous with the county since 1854.

In 1876 Philadelphia hosted the World's Fair known as the Centennial Exposition. Memorial Hall and the expansive mall in front of it are remnants of this fair.

In 1926, the city held the Sesquicentennial Exposition.

Street layout of Philadelphia

Philadelphia's City Hall
Penn's surveyor, Thomas Holme, laid out the city in a strict grid, with all streets running either north-south or east-west. The north-south streets are numbered sequentially from Front (instead of First), along the
Delaware River, to 13th, followed by the main north-south thoroughfare, Broad Street (instead of 14th).

The numbered streets then resume, continuing in the original plan to 28th at the Schuylkill River. The east-west streets, most of which are named for trees, parallel the main thoroughfare named High Street by Penn, but called Market Street since at least the early 18th century. He also planned five public parks, one at the intersection of High and Broad Streets in the very center of the city (now occupied by the City Hall) and four others (now called Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, Logan Circle and Franklin Square) surrounding it. The eastern edge of Rittenhouse square is on 18th St, 4 blocks west of City Hall, while the western edge of Washington square is between 7th and 8th, about 6 and a half blocks east of City Hall. Both are the same distance south of City Hall.

Rittenhouse Square is named after David Rittenhouse, a son of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, William Rittenhouse. Rittenhousetown is a delightful rural setting in Fairmount Park. David Rittenhouse was a clockmaker and friend of the American Revolution.

8th and Market Streets, 1910s


From a governmental perspective, Philadelphia County is a legal nullity, as all county functions were assumed by the city in 1952, which has been coterminous with the county since 1854.

Historic seal of the city of
Philadelphia, made by
William Penn.


The city is headed by an elected mayor who is limited to two, four-year terms. The incumbent is former Philadelphia City Council President John Street (D), who was first elected in 1999. He was re-elected by a larger majority in 2003.


The legislative branch of Philadephia is the Philadelphia City Council.


The Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas, also known as the Court of Common Pleas for the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania, is the trial court of general jurisdiction for Philadelphia. It is funded and operated largely by City resources and employees.

The Philadelphia Municipal Court handles matters of limited jurisdiction as well as landlord-tenant disputes, appeals from traffic court, conducts preliminary examinations for felony-level offenses, and the like.

Traffic Court is a court of special jurisdiction which hears violations of traffic laws.

Pennsylvania's three appellate courts have chambers in Philadelphia. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments in Philadelphia City Hall. Also, the Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania sit in Philadelphia several times a year.

Judges for all of the above courts are elected at large.


Philadelphia's economy is heavily based upon manufacturing, refining, and financial services. Philadelphia has its own stock exchange.

The list of major companies in Philadephia includes Aramark, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pep Boys.

The Federal government plays a large role in Philadelphia as well. The east-coast operations of the United States Mint are based near the historic district, and the Federal Reserve Bank's Philadelphia division is based there as well.


Philadelphia is located at 39°59'53" North, 75°8'41" West (39.998012, -75.144793)1.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 369.4 km² (142.6 mi²). 349.9 km² (135.1 mi²) of it is land and 19.6 km² (7.6 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 5.29% water.


As of the census of 2000, there are 1,517,550 people, 590,071 households, and 352,272 families residing in the city. The population density is 4,337.3/km² (11,233.6/mi²). There are 661,958 housing units at an average density of 1,891.9/km² (4,900.1/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 45.02% White, 43.22% African American, 0.27% Native American, 4.46% Asian American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 4.77% from other races, and 2.21% from two or more races. 8.50% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 590,071 households, 27.6% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.1% are married couples living together, 22.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 40.3% are non-families. 33.8% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.9% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.48 and the average family size is 3.22.

In the city the population is spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 11.1% from 18 to 24, 29.3% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 86.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $30,746, and the median income for a family is $37,036. Males have a median income of $34,199 versus $28,477 for females. The per capita income for the city is $16,509. 22.9% of the population and 18.4% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 31.3% are under the age of 18 and 16.9% are 65 or older.


Public transportation

Philadelphia is served by the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, or SEPTA. SEPTA runs buses, trains, subways, trolleys, and trackless trolleys around Philadelphia and into the suburbs.

Philadelphia lies directly on Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. Amtrak's 30th Street Station is a major railroad facility which offers access to Amtrak, SEPTA, and NJ Transit rail lines.

Two airports, Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, reside within the city limits. Philadelphia International Airport provides domestic and international scheduled air service, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport serves general and corporate aviation.


Interstate 95 runs directly through the city along the Delaware River, providing transportation from Florida to Maine.

The city is also served by Interstate 76 (also known as the Schuylkill Expressway) which runs along the Schuylkill River. It meets with the Pennsylvania Turnpike at King of Prussia and provides access to Harrisburg and points west.

Interstate 676, or the Vine Street Expressway, was completed in 1991 after years of planning as a link between I-95 and I-76. It runs beneath city level through Center City.

People and Culture of Philadelphia

Philadelphia is known for distinctive food Philadelphia still gets many immigrants, and has a large Italian-American population.

List of Philadelphians

Philadelphia in film and television

Colleges and universities in Philadephia

Colleges and universities in the vicinity of Philadelphia include: Bryn Mawr College is located in nearby Bryn Mawr. Haverford College is located west of Philadelphia on the Pennsylvania Main Line. Swarthmore College is located in Swarthmore. Villanova University is located in Villanova, a suburb located Northwest of Philadelphia.

Professional sports teams

The Philadelphia Charge plays at the stadium of Villanova University, which is located in Villanova.

List of museums

List of sites of interest


External Links