Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: Representative Styles as Seen in Lancaster County

At the time of the Common­wealth of Pennsylvania’s Ter­centenary, it is appropriate that architecture receive special atten­tion. Of all the arts, architecture is most closely related to life itself: whether a barn or a cathedral, a build­ing satisfies a human need. Thus, buildings are a mirror of a given epoch’s ideals and functions. 1n this light, Pennsylvania’s architectural...
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Pennsylvania’s Architectural Heritage: Statehouses and Capitols

Through the three centuries of Pennsylvania’s history, the build­ings that always have been both the functional and symbolic heart of the Commonwealth have been the seats of government. These statehouses and capitols bespeak much about the governmental structure and social ideals of the respective ages which created them. Indeed, the very change of nomenclature from statehouse to capitol...
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Benjamin Henry Latrobe: The Artist as Commentator

Benjamin Henry La­trobe (1764-1820) is generally acknowl­edged to be America’s first professional architect and engineer, practicing in the United States from 1796, when he immigrated from England, until his untimely death from yellow fever in New Orleans in 1820. He worked, during that period, in cities as diverse as Richmond, Philadelphia, Balti­more, Washington, D.C., Pittsburgh, and...
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Girard College: A Story of Change and Continuity

Girard College, a boarding school for orphans and other­wise under­privileged children, is located in a largely unattractive, grimy industrial district of Philadel­phia. Its location in the city’s north section does not conjure images of wealth or the Social Register, but its endowment marks it is as one of the richest boarding schools in the country. The story of Girard Col­lege and its...
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Independence Hall, The Birthplace of a Nation

September 1824 was a busy month for Phila­delphians. The Mar­quis de Lafayette returned to America for the first time since the Revolution­ary War, and it was rumored that the high point of his tra­vels would be a visit to Penn­sylvania’s venerable State House. Naturally, much of the preparation for his visit cen­tered on the old red brick building where the events of the Revolution had...
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Currents

Fancy That! “Capricious Fancy: Draping and Curtaining, 1790-1930,” an exhibition tracing the history of design sources for draping and curtaining American and European interiors during the span of nearly one hundred and fifty years, will open at the Athenaeum of Philadelphia on Monday, December 6 [1993]. On view will be a selection of rare books, prints, and trade catalogues drawn...
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Now Presenting American’s Oldest Playhouse: The Walnut Street Theatre

It all started with the circus. Early in the nineteenth century, the New Circus, as it was called, was located at the corner of Walnut and Ninth Streets in Philadelphia, several blocks west of the State House (now Independence Hall). On February 2, 1809, an advertisement in the newspaper Aurora announced that “Messrs. Pepin and Breschard, Professors of the art of Horsemanship and agility,...
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An Address for the Afterlife at Laurel Hill Cemetery

It all began in 1836, when architect John Notman (1810–1865) laid out a series of meandering walkways and terraces on the east bank of the Schuylkill River above Fairmount Park. With his design for Laurel Hill Cemetery, the twenty-six-year-old native of Scotland created the first architecturally designed cemetery in the country. He also established the nation’s second garden-type cemetery,...
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Sacred Places in Pennsylvania: Signs of Religious Freedom and Diversity

When William Penn established Pennsylvania, he did so in part to create a place where his own faith community, the Religious Society of Friends (or Quakers), could worship freely, just as the Puritans did in Massachusetts and the Baptists in Rhode Island. But Penn went further – he established freedom for other faiths and creeds, welcoming one and all, regardless of their beliefs and...
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