February 13, 2013
The Weirdness That Is Philadelphia’s City Hall
Built in a thirty year period following the Civil War, Philadelphia’s City Hall was designed in the architectural style known as Second Empire due to its Second French Empire era elements, which was also known as Napolean lll style. But you can call it Creepy Building style for short:
City Hall was designed to be the tallest building in the world! But since it took thirty years to complete, other buildings had already surpassed its height before it was finished!
The building is topped with a 37-foot statue of the city’s founder, William Penn, which was designed by Alexander Milne Calder. But you can call him The Sculptor Who Was Hated By The Architect for short.
In fact, the architect who designed City Hall hated the sculptor to such a degree, that instead of pointing William Penn and his 27 tons of bronze toward the preordained sunny South, the architect stuck him atop the building with his back to the city.
This doesn’t seem too bad a punishment when viewing William Penn from certain angles:
But when viewed from other angles:
The many relief sculptures that line the building’s tower are thought to represent historical, allegorical, and mythological figures symbolizing wisdom, virtues, and vices:
But the strangest thing about Philadelphia’s City Hall was in 1980 when a Giant Girl Scout hung a poster on this building and it appeared on an album cover: