Look Up, Philadelphia! A Walking Tour of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
a walking tour in the Look Up, America series from walkthetown.com
by Doug Gelbert
published by Cruden Bay Books at Smashwords
Copyright 2013 by Cruden Bay Books
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the Publisher.
The model for Benjamin Franklin Parkway is the Champs Elysees in Paris, France — a wide, pastoral avenue connecting City Hall to the world’s largest municipal park, Fairmount Park. It did not come easy. When formal planning got underway prior to World War I there was a mass of buildings between there and there.
The designers of the Parkway were Paul Cret and Jacques Greber and the mass removal of those buildings - and the displacing of the people who lived in them - was a startlingly bold stroke for a conservative city often accused of preferring to live in the days of the Founding Fathers. By 1919 a stretch of Parkway could be seen and within a decade fountains, small parks, statues and monuments and formal public buildings began to take their place on the Parkway. By 1935 the Franklin Institute, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the head of the avenue, and the Rodin Museum could be seen along the mile-long parkway.