History of Rittenhouse Square
Rittenhouse Square has always denoted quality. In 1913, architect Paul Cret, who was one of the men responsible for Benjamin Franklin Parkway and many of its buildings, designed the Square’s central plaza with the stone railings, pool, and fountain. To have lived near or on the Square was a huge mark of prestige, similar to now. Today, there are several houses still standing, but they have been converted into apartments.
The Most Popular Town Square!
Rittenhouse Square is one of five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century in Central Philadelphia. The park cuts off 19th Street at Walnut Street and also a half block above Manning Street. Its boundaries are 18th Street to the east, Walnut St to the north, Rittenhouse Square West, and Rittenhouse Square South, making the park approximately two short blocks on each side.
The tree-filled park is surrounded by high rise residences, luxury apartments, hotels, terrific restaurants and shops. Its green grasses and dozens of benches are a popular lunch-time destination for residents and workers in Center City, while its statues are popular gathering spots for small children and their parents. The park is also a popular dog walking area for residents, as featured in the fictional film, “In Her Shoes.”
The Square is also the site of annual flower markets, farmer markets, and outdoor art exhibitions.
Square Design and Architecture
The main walkways are diagonal, beginning at the corners and meeting at a central oval. The plaza, which contains a large planter bed and a reflecting pool, is surrounded by a balustrade and ringed by a circular walk. Classical urns, many bearing relief figures of ancient Greeks, rest on pedestals at the entrances and elsewhere throughout the square. Ornamental lampposts contribute to an air of old-fashioned gentility. A low fence surrounds the square, and balustrades adorn the corner entrances. Oaks, maples, locusts, plane trees, and other types stand within and around the enclosure, and the flowerbeds and blooming shrubs add a splash of color in season.
What You’ll Find in Rittenhouse Square
You can find everything here. Whether you’re enjoying the landscape, touring this part of town, heading to a five star restaurant, or looking for art, Rittenhouse Square always delivers. As diverse as it is refined, this neighborhood is a true testament to history, beauty, and the constant state of growth our city prides itself on.
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