Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

(Redirected from Philadelphia)
Jump to: navigation, search
"Philadelphia" redirects here. For other uses, see Philadelphia (disambiguation).
Independence Hall, as it appears today.
Independence Hall, as it appears today.

Philadelphia (sometimes referred to as "Philly" or "the City of Brotherly Love") is the fifth most populous city in the United States and the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, both in area and population. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County6. Since 1952, the city and the county have shared a common government, yet the county still exists as a separate entity within Pennsylvania. As of June 30, 2005, the population estimate for the city was 1,470,151.

The Philadelphia metropolitan area is the fourth largest in the United States by the current official definition, with some 6.2 million people, though some other definitions place it sixth behind the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington-Baltimore. Philadelphia is the central city for the Delaware Valley metropolitan area.

Philadelphia is one of the oldest and most historically significant cities in the United States. It has played a critical role in American history and the birth of American independence, democracy, and freedom. During part of the 18th century, the city was the second capital and most populous city of the United States. At that time, it eclipsed Boston and New York City in political and social importance, with Benjamin Franklin playing an extraordinary role in Philadelphia's rise.

The city limits have been coterminous with Philadelphia County since The Act of Consolidation in 1854. Prior to that, the city of Philadelphia consisted only of those areas between South Street, Vine Street, the Delaware River, and the Schuylkill River. The city's expansion incorporated the neighborhoods of West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, and Northeast Philadelphia, as well as smaller communities such as Roxborough, Manayunk, Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill.

Philadelphia is also one of the largest college/university towns in the United States with over 120,000 students studying within the city limits alone and nearly 300,000 total college and university students in the metropolitan area.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Flag of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Seal of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nickname: "City of Brotherly Love"
Location of Philadelphia,  Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
October 27, 1682
October 25, 1701 
County Philadelphia County
Mayor John F. Street (Dem)
 - Total
 - Water

349.9 km² (135.1 mi²)
19.6 km² (7.6 mi²) 5.29% 
 - City (2004)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Eastern (UTC –5)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 39.9533° N 75.1634° W
Official Website



Before Europeans arrived, the Delaware (Lenape) Indian town of Shackamaxon was located where Philadelphia now stands, specifically, the Germantown neighborhood. In 1669, Swedish colonists became the first Europeans to settle the area (see New Sweden), calling it Wiccacoa. A congregation was formed in 1646 on Tinicum Island by Swedish missionary Johannes Campanius. In 1700, the group built the Gloria Dei Church, also known as Old Swedes.

Philadelphia is a planned city founded and developed by William Penn, a Quaker. The city's name means "city of brotherly love" in Greek (Φιλαδέλφια). Penn hoped that the city, as the capital of his new colony founded on principles of freedom and religious tolerance, would be a model of this philosophy. During early immigration by Quakers and others, when immigrants purchased land in the city, they also received farm land outside of the city. This was intended to allow the city's population to leave the city easily. Penn also required lots of alleyways and open spaces in hopes of controlling fires and disease, which were then common problems in London and other major cities. .

Independence Hall, 18th Century
Independence Hall, 18th Century

Philadelphia was a major center of the independence movement during the American Revolutionary War. The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were drafted in Philadelphia and signed in the city's Independence Hall. The United States Marine Corps also began here on Nov. 10, 1775 when Samuel Nicholas began recruiting men at Tun Tavern.

For a time in the 18th century, Philadelphia was the largest city in the Americas north of Mexico City, and was the fourth largest city under Crown rule (after London, Bristol, and Dublin).

In 1790, as the result of a compromise between a number of Southern congressmen and Alexander Hamilton, then serving as Secretary of the Treasury, the seat of the United States Government was temporarily moved from Federal Hall in New York to Congress Hall in Philadelphia before taking its current residence in Washington, DC. In exchange for locating a permanent capital on the banks of the Potomac River, the congressmen agreed to support Hamilton's financial proposals. Philadelphia served as the temporary capital for a decade, until 1800, when the Capitol building in the new Federal city of Washington, DC was opened.

1888 German map of Philadelphia.  The two most noticeable streets are Broad Street (running north and south) and Market Street (running west and east).  One will also notice the rivers surrounding Philadelphia, which, for a time, acted as the city boundaries.  To the left, the Schuylkill River is visible; to the right is the Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania from New Jersey.
1888 German map of Philadelphia. The two most noticeable streets are Broad Street (running north and south) and Market Street (running west and east). One will also notice the rivers surrounding Philadelphia, which, for a time, acted as the city boundaries. To the left, the Schuylkill River is visible; to the right is the Delaware River, separating Pennsylvania from New Jersey.

An early railroad center, Philadelphia was the original home of the Baldwin Locomotive Works, the world's largest builder of steam locomotives, which eventually 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, and in turn its freight railroad successor, Conrail.

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, but Philadelphia was not the central focus of the United States Bicentennial observances that took place nationwide in the United States in 1976, a distinction that went to New York City.

Center City Philadelphia panorama, from 1913.
Center City Philadelphia panorama, from 1913.

Geography and climate


A simulated-color satellite image of Philadelphia taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite. The Delaware River is visible in this shot.
A simulated-color satellite image of Philadelphia taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite. The Delaware River is visible in this shot.

Philadelphia is located at 39° 59′ 53″ N, 75° 8′ 41″ W.

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. Bodies of water include the Delaware River, Schuylkill River, Cobbs Creek, Wissahickon Creek, and Pennypack Creek.

The lowest point in the city is 10 feet above sea level near Fort Mifflin in Southwest Philadelphia at the convergence of the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers. The highest point in the city is Chestnut Hill, with an elevation of 432 feet above sea level located near Evergreen Place, just north and west of Evergreen Avenue.


The climate in Philadelphia is temperate, with four seasons. Summers tend to be hot and often muggy, with the humidity tending to be high during July and August. Fall and spring are mild and generally the most pleasant seasons. The rainfall pattern is generally spread throughout the year, with between six and nine wet days per month. Winters are cold, but seldom does the temperature drop below zero. Snow is unpredictable, some winters experiencing little and others characterised by continual snowstorms. The city center and inner New Jersey suburbs generally have light snow, with heavier falls being experienced to the north and west of the metropole. The lowest temperature ever recorded was -7° F on January 22, 1984, and the highest temperature ever recorded was 104° F on July 3, 1966.


8th and Market Street, 1910s.
8th and Market Street, 1910s.

The department store on this corner, housing the Strawbridge and Clothier department store in this photo, has been home to many popular chains, including John Wanamaker, Hecht's, and, currently, Strawbridge's once again. Today, the building is adjacent to the Gallery shopping mall and the Market-Frankford Line of the city's subway system.

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, many of them named for trees, e.g., Chestnut, Walnut, Locust, and Spruce (laid out in increasing hardness from softwood Pine in the South to hardwood Chestnut in the North) parallel the main thoroughfare named High Street by Penn, but called Market Street since at least the early 18th century. Six blocks south of Market is South Street, noted in recent decades for its raucous night life and the subject of the 1963 hit single by The Orlons of the same name).

5th and Market Street, today.  Visible in this photo are the studios of KYW-TV (left) and the Bourse building.
5th and Market Street, today. Visible in this photo are the studios of KYW-TV (left) and the Bourse building.

Holme also planned five public parks, one at the intersection of High and Broad Streets in the very center of the city, now occupied by City Hall, and four others surrounding it now called Washington Square, Rittenhouse Square, Logan Square and Franklin Square. The eastern edge of Rittenhouse Square is on 18th St., four blocks west of City Hall, while the western edge of Washington Square is between 7th and 8th, about six and a half blocks east of City Hall. Both are the same distance south of City Hall. Concurently both Logan Square and Franklin Square are located the same distances east and west of City Hall as Washington and Rittenhouse and four blocks north of Market Street, reflecting the southern squares.


Philadelphia has many neighborhoods, each of which has its own identity. Many of these neighborhoods coincide with the borough and townships that made up Philadelphia County before their absorption by the city. These include Logan Square, Andorra, Roxborough, Northern Liberties, Old City, Bustleton, Brewerytown, Oxford Circle, Feltonville, Somerton, Juniata Park, Manayunk, Center City, Queen Village, Kensington, Frankford, University City, Strawberry Mansion, Chestnut Hill, Fishtown, Olney, Logan, Port Richmond, Germantown, Mount Airy, Mayfair, Tacony, Wynnefield, Chinatown, Fox Chase, South Philly, Graduate Hospital/Southwest Center City, Society Hill, the Museum District and many others.


see Delaware County, Pennsylvania and Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia also has a significant immediete suburban area which depend on its economy and public transportation, such as Yeadon, Upper Darby, Lansdowne, Ardmore, King Of Prussia, Cheltenham, Willow Grove, Bala Cynwyd, and Norristown.


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

The city is home to many major Fortune 500 companies, including cable television and internet provider Comcast, insurance companies CIGNA and Lincoln Financial Group, energy company Sunoco, food services company Aramark, Crown Holdings Incorporated, Rohm and Haas Company, the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Boeing helicopters division, and automotive parts retailer Pep Boys.

The Federal government plays a large role in Philadelphia as well. The city served as the first capital city of the United States, before the construction of Washington, D.C.. Today, 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.

Due in part to the historical presence of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and the large ridership at 30th Street Station, Amtrak also maintains a significant presence in the city. These jobs include customer service representatives and ticket processing and other behind the scenes personel, in addition to the normal functions of the railroad.

Because of the presence of the federal government, the city has a large contingent of law firms. The city is also a national center of law due to the prestigious University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Temple University Beasley School of Law.

People and culture of Philadelphia

Philadelphia skyline, looking east.  The two most prominent buildings in this photograph, One Liberty Place and Two Liberty Place, will soon be eclipsed in height by the Comcast Center, currently under construction.
Philadelphia skyline, looking east. The two most prominent buildings in this photograph, One Liberty Place and Two Liberty Place, will soon be eclipsed in height by the Comcast Center, currently under construction.


City of Philadelphia
Population by year [1]

1790 - 28,522
1800 - 41,220
1810 - 53,722
1820 - 63,802
1830 - 80,462
1840 - 93,665
1850 - 121,376
1860 - 565,529
1870 - 674,022
1880 - 847,170
1890 - 1,046,964
1900 - 1,293,697
1910 - 1,549,008
1920 - 1,823,779
1930 - 1,950,961
1940 - 1,931,334
1950 - 2,071,605
1960 - 2,002,512
1970 - 1,948,609
1980 - 1,688,210
1990 - 1,585,577
2000 - 1,517,550

As of the census2 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, 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. The ethnic makeup of the city is 32.5% Black, 13.6% Irish, 9.2% Italian, 8.1% Puerto Rican, 6.4% German, and 4.3% Polish.

Philadelphia has long been a Black and White city, and currently the city's white and African American populations are about equal in size. The city also has the second largest Irish, Italian, and Jamaican populations in America. Increases in Latino immigration have created a diverse Hispanic community centered around El Centro de Oro in North Philadelphia. There is also a large Puerto Rican and Dominican population in the city. The Asian community has long been established in the city's bustling Chinatown district, but recent Vietnamese immigrants have also forged neighborhoods and bazaars alongside the venerable Italian market. Numerous Korean immigrants have come to the melting-pot of Olney. Many other cultures can also be found throughout the city, including Subsaharan Africans and West Indians in the Cedar Park neighborhood, Poles in the Port Richmond neighborhood, and many Russian, Greek and Ukrainian immigrants in the Near Northeast.

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 population, 31.3% of those under the age of 18 and 16.9% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Annual fairs and events


Philadelphia has great diversity, depth, and quality among its restaurants. Notable restaurants include Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's self named Morimoto, Buddakhan, Old Original Bookbinder's, Vetri, Alma de Cuba, City Tavern, and Le Bec Fin.

Little known facts:

  • In the 2005 Zagat Restaurant Guide, Philadelphia had more restaurants score 29 than any other city in the United States.
  • Philadelphia routinely finishes first in food service industry surveys for the best tipping cities.

Distinctive Philadelphian dishes include:

  • Cheesesteaks, a kind of humble culinary masterpiece, made of paper-thin chipped ribeye steak fried on a griddle, cheese (usually either Cheez Whiz™, provolone, or American) and fried onions on an Italian hoagie roll. There tends to be some fairly fierce competition over the coveted "Best Cheesesteak" title, and many will often share their opinions vigorously on this topic. (Easiest place to get one is at 9th and Passyunk, where both Pat's Steaks and Geno's Steaks are located. Both are 24-hour operations, with trademark south-Philly Italian market awnings and tables on the sidewalks. Both being triangular shaped buildings, they stare at each other like opposing battleships facing an impasse while splitting clientele fairly evenly.) Cheesesteaks (be it of lower or higher quality than the aforementioned restaurants) can also be obtained at 1000's of neighborhood deli's and restaurants through the Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Delaware area.
  • Hoagies -- a sandwich made with cold cuts and veggies on an Italian roll, similar to the submarine sandwich. Sandwich is so-named because of its popularity among Italian-immigrants employed at the former shipyards on Hog Island, with the sandwich originally being called a "hoggie".
  • Scrapple -- corn meal mush cooked up with every part (scrap) of the pig, from the Pennsylvania Dutch country of Lancaster County.
  • Italian ice (Water Ice)-- a frozen dessert, similar to a slushie except stiffer.
  • Irish ice -- Water Ice served through a soft-serve ice cream machine, giving it a very unique texture.
  • Polish ice -- A much looser, creamier form of Italian Ice, usually coming only in chocolate and vanilla.
  • Gelati-- A mix of water ice and soft ice cream.
  • Soft pretzel -- thick, doughy pretzels, generally coarse-salted, often served with mustard. Unlike soft pretzels of other cities, which are the same shape as hard pretzels, Philadelphia soft pretzels have a long, thin, block-like shape. Best eaten fresh, they generally don't keep well, becoming rather rock-like after several days.
  • Stromboli -- similar to a calzone, invented in Philadelphia.
  • Black Cherry Wishniak -- Old fashioned black cherry soda, made with actual black cherry flavoring. Name "wishniak," while not exclusive, is generally associated with popular regional soft drink brand Frank's.
  • Tastykake -- Brand name synonymous with pre-packaged baked goods, and a Philadelphia institution for over 90 years; best known varieties include Krimpets (jelly or butterscotch), Kandy Kakes (cream or peanut butter), Krimpies (shaped like Krimpets, but with "Kreme" filling and chocolate cake and icing), Tasty (fruit) Pies (unlike many competitors, these are not fried and sugar glazed, and are consequently a lot healthier)
  • Utz Potato Chips and Herr's Potato Chips -- Regional brand names, offering chips and pretzels generally judged as being of higher quality than national brands such as Frito-Lay.

Notable residents

Philadelphia has been home to many people of note, the most famous of whom is probably Ben Franklin, who along with the others in the Continental Congresses helped shape the city along with the country and the world.

Its cultural diversity is reflected in the music and musicians who have come from or through Philadelphia: the R&B styles of Jill Scott and Patti LaBelle, the jazz of Grover Washington Jr., Stan Getz, and Sun Ra, the rock of Todd Rundgren, Hall & Oates, and Pink, the hip hop of The Roots, the electronic-funk of Josh Wink, and the opera of Marian Anderson.

Famed comedian Bill Cosby was born and raised in Philadelphia as well as actors Grace Kelly, Will Smith, John Barrymore, Peter Boyle, and Kevin Bacon. Others, like Richard Gere, were born in Philadelphia, but moved elsewhere in their youths. Kathryn Morris (of TV's Cold Case, set in Philly), was born in Ohio but attended Philadelphia's Temple University.

The city also has been home to many business and political figures of note.


Philadelphia is home to some of the country's most prominent radio stations, including two of the nation's leading rock stations, WMMR at 93.3FM and WYSP at 94.1FM. Both stations have been breakthrough stations for many contemporary rock bands, and both are widely known in the rock music community for their influence in impacting the country's rock music trends.

In 2005, Philadelphia became the largest city in the United States without a modern rock-format radio station, in part because of the difficulty such a station has in gaining market share from WMMR and WYSP, two of the country's most popular rock stations. WPLY Y100 had formerly been a purely Philadelphia-based alternative rock station, but its format was changed to hip hop in early 2005 by parent company Radio One.

Philadelphia is home to WHYY-FM (90.9 FM), the Delaware Valley's premier public radio station and NPR affiliate. WHYY-FM produces Fresh Air, and is affiliated with WHYY-TV, which serves Philadelphia but broadcasts out of Wilmington.

WXPN (88.5 FM), operated by the University of Pennsylvania, is responsible for launching the careers of many famous artists who couldn't get airplay from the major stations at first. The station is funded to a large extent by listeners who become members. WXPN sponsors a music festival each summer, and they now broadcast worldwide via their website: [2].

WEXP, La Salle University Radio, is one of Philadelphia's most popular college radio stations. WEXP specializes in alternative music and sports, and was established in 1972. The station is well known for its sports coverage, which is widely considered as the most extensive of any college radio station in the United States. WEXP airs nearly 100 live sports broadcasts every year for six Explorer teams, in four sports (soccer, football, basketball, and baseball). They broadcast worldwide via their website: [3].

WXTU (92.5 FM) is the most listened-to country music station in the northeast, and second most east of the Mississippi, behind only Nashville's WSM.

WOGL (98.1 FM) is a popular station for oldies.

Philadelphia's current sports talk radio station, WIP 610AM, became the city's "Pioneer Radio Voice" on March 17, 1922. The station, which was owned and operated by the Gimbel Brothers Department Store, was the city's first radio station.

WUSL (98.9) and WDAS (105.3) are Philadelphia's leading stations for R&B, quiet storm and hip-hop audiences.

Museums, art collections, and sites of interest


Club Sport League Stadium Logo
Philadelphia Eagles Football National Football League; NFC Lincoln Financial Field Philadelphia Eagles Logo
Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Major League Baseball; NL Citizens Bank Park Philadelphia Phillies Logo
Philadelphia 76ers Basketball National Basketball Association Wachovia Center Philadelphia 76ers Logo
Philadelphia Flyers Ice Hockey National Hockey League Wachovia Center Philadelphia Flyers Logo
Philadelphia Soul Arena football Arena Football League Wachovia Center Philadelphia Soul Logo

Philadelphia has a long and proud history of professional sports teams. Philadelphia sports fans have a reputation of being devoted to their teams in good times and bad. Of late Philadelphia teams have been performing well, but frequently missing championships by failing during the crucial stages. Some locals half-jokingly attribute this to the Curse of Billy Penn. The city's last major championship came in 1983. The Philadelphia Wings, the indoor lacrosse team, have won six championships between 1989 and 2001.

The Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and 76ers have each recently had new venues built for them. The Eagles currently play at Lincoln Financial Field (informally known as "The Linc") which was built in 2003. The Phillies now play at Citizens Bank Park (2004). The Sixers and Flyers share the Wachovia Center (1996) with the Philadelphia Soul (Arena Football League) arena football team. The Wachovia Spectrum (1967) is now home to the Flyers' top farm team, the Philadelphia Phantoms (American Hockey League), and the Philadelphia Kixx (Major Indoor Soccer League), an Indoor soccer team.

The Philadelphia Barrage (Major League Lacrosse) play at the stadium of Villanova University, which is located in Villanova, Pennsylvania (Delaware County) which is just outside of Philadelphia to the west. The Philadelphia Wings are an Indoor lacrosse that plays in the National Lacrosse League.

In the past Philadelphia has also been home to the Philadelphia Athletics (MLB, now the Oakland Athletics), and the Philadelphia Warriors (NBA, now the Golden State Warriors). The city's original NFL team was the Frankford Yellow Jackets (Frankford being a neighborhood located in Northeast Philadelphia); the club disbanded during the 1931 football season, then re-emerged under the same ownership two years later as the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Manayunk area is also home to the annual USPRO bicycle race, which is the US road racing national championship race. The main feature of the race is the "Manayunk Wall", an inclined street including all of Levering Avenue and a few blocks of Lyceum Avenue. The race has been largely credited with the economic revival of the neighborhood, and cycling is a prominent theme of many of the shops and restaurants in the area.


Philadelphia's City Hall
Philadelphia's City Hall

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.

The city is headed by an elected mayor who is limited to two consecutive four-year terms, but can run for the position again after an intervening term. The incumbent is former Philadelphia City Council President John Street (D), who was elected in 1999, and re-elected by a larger majority in 2003. Philadelphia's mayors have been Democrats since 1955.

The legislative branch of Philadelphia is the Philadelphia City Council, which consists of seven council members elected at-large and ten council members from individual districts. The current council president is Anna C. Verna.

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

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 also have sittings 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 these courts are elected at large. Each court has a prothonotary's office in Philadelphia as well.


Public schools

All of Philadelphia is served by the School District of Philadelphia. All schools in the district are required to have a school uniform or a similar dress code.

Private schools

Philadelphia is home to the most extensive Catholic education system in the nation. Along with hundreds of parish-driven elementary schools, there are also twelve Catholic high schools within the city ranging from Archdiocesan high schools to private Catholic high schools.

Higher education

Colleges and universities near Philadelphia include:


Ben Franklin Bridge, seen from the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.
Ben Franklin Bridge, seen from the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware River.

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.

PATCO provides subway service to Camden, Collingswood, Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Ashland, and Lindenwold, New Jersey, from stations on Locust Street between 16th and 15th, 13th and 12th, and 10th and 9th Streets, and on Market Street at 8th Street.


Two airports, Philadelphia International Airport and Northeast Philadelphia Airport, reside within the city limits (Philadelphia International also lies in the city limits of Tinicum Township, Delaware County). Philadelphia International Airport provides domestic and international scheduled air service, while Northeast Philadelphia Airport serves general and corporate aviation.


Interstate 95 (I-95) runs through the city along the Delaware River, providing transportation from Florida to Maine.

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

Interstate 676, the Vine Street Expressway, was completed in 1991 after years of planning. A link between I-95 and I-76, it runs beneath street level through Center City, and connects to the Ben Franklin Bridge at its east end.

Roosevelt Boulevard and the Roosevelt Expressway (US 1) connect Northeast Philadelphia with Center City. The boulevard was built for the Lincoln Highway as part of the City Beautiful movement. In recent years, it has become a traffic bottleneck and includes the second and third most deadly intersections in the country about a mile from each other, according to a study by State Farm Insurance.

The Woodhaven Expressway (PA 63), was built in 1966 to serve the neighborhoods of Northeast Philadelphia, and runs between Interstate 95 and Roosevelt Boulevard (US 1). Plans to extend the highway west into the suburbs were killed by community opposition when the highway was first built. The subsequent severe traffic congestion over the past four decades on adjoining Byberry Road has led to renewed plans for some sort of extension and expansion. Several plans have been suggested that would expand different roads using different design methods to connect to the highway. A final decision has not yet been reached, and undoubtedly the construction phase will continue for several years after the planning stage is completed.

The 1960 birth of the "Blue Route".
The 1960 birth of the "Blue Route".

The Delaware River Port Authority operates four bridges in the Philadelphia area over the Delaware River to New Jersey: the Walt Whitman Bridge (I-76), the Benjamin Franklin Bridge (I-676 and US 30), the Betsy Ross Bridge (NJ 90), and the Commodore Barry Bridge (US 322). The Tacony-Palmyra Bridge connects PA 73 with NJ 73, and is maintained by the Burlington County Bridge Commission.

Finally fully opened in December 1991, the Northeast Extension (Interstate 476) connects I-95 south of Philadelphia International Airport to the Pennsylvania Turnpike north of the city. The stretch of I-476 between I-95 and the Turnpike is named the Mid-County Expressway, but is referred to locally as "The Blue Route", because regional planners drew a blue line right through a map of Montgomery and Delaware Counties for one planned option where the road would be built. North of the Mid-County Interchange at Plymouth Meeting, the highway becomes a toll extension of the Turnpike that leads to cities in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The construction of I-476 between I-76 and I-95 took much longer than expected (It was scheduled to be built in 1964) due to community opposition and stubborn landowners. Shortly after it was completed, though, it became one of the busiest corridors in the region.

Other planned freeways have been cancelled, such as an Interstate 695 running southwest from downtown and a freeway upgrade of Roosevelt Boulevard.


Rail transportation

Main article: History of Rail transport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Since the early days rail transport in the United States, Philadelphia has acted as hub for several rail companies. The two most notable companies to have major operations in Philadelphia were the Pennsylvania Railroad (PRR) and the Reading Railroad (Reading), with both operating hubs out of Philadelphia, the PRR operating first Broad Street Station then 30th Street Station and Suburban Station, and Reading operating out of Reading Terminal, now part of the Pennsylvania Convention Center. The two companies also operated separate competing commuter rail systems in the Philadelphia area, known collectively as the Regional Rail system. The two systems today, for the most part still intact, now operate as one whole system under the control of SEPTA, the regional transit authority.

Philadelphia is also notable for being one of the few North American cities to maintain some of its streetcar lines. In addition to the green line trolleys in West Philly, the city has recently reintroduced the historic Girard Street line as a heritage streetcar line.

Today Philadelphia serves as a major rail transportation hub for the nationalized Amtrak system, with 30th Street Station serving as its main station. As well as serving as a major station on Amtrak services running on the Northeast Corridor it also services as a major station for services PRR's former Pennsylvania Main Line to points west such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Chicago, Illinois. 30th Street Station currently is the 3rd busiest station in terms of passengers in the Amtrak system.

Sister Cities

Philadelphia has ten sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International, Inc. (SCI): Douala (Cameroon), Florence (Italy), Incheon (South Korea), Nizhni Novgorod (Russia), Tel Aviv (Israel), Tianjin (China), Torun (Poland), Aix-en-Provence (France), Kobe (Japan), and Mosul (Iraq).

External links

Travel guide to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Wikitravel

Flag of Pennsylvania Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
(Government | History | Pennsylvanians)
Capital: Harrisburg
Largest cities: Allentown | Altoona | Bethel Park | Bethlehem | Chester | Erie | Harrisburg | Lancaster | Levittown | Mount Lebanon | New Cumberland | Norristown | Penn Hills | Philadelphia | Pittsburgh | Reading | Scranton | State College | Wilkes-Barre | York
Regions: Coal Region | Delaware Valley | Lehigh Valley | Northern Tier | Northwest Region | Pennsylvania Dutch Country | Laurel Highlands | The Poconos | Susquehanna Valley
Counties: Adams | Allegheny |Armstrong | Beaver | Bedford | Berks | Blair | Bradford | Bucks | Butler | Cambria | Cameron | Carbon | Centre | Chester | Clarion | Clearfield | Clinton | Columbia | Crawford | Cumberland | Dauphin | Delaware | Elk | Erie | Fayette | Forest | Franklin | Fulton | Greene | Huntingdon | Indiana | Jefferson | Juniata | Lackawanna | Lancaster | Lawrence | Lebanon | Lehigh | Luzerne | Lycoming | McKean | Mercer | Mifflin | Monroe | Montgomery | Montour | Northampton | Northumberland | Perry | Philadelphia | Pike | Potter | Schuylkill | Snyder | Somerset | Sullivan | Susquehanna | Tioga | Union | Venango | Warren | Washington | Wayne | Westmoreland | Wyoming | York
Personal tools