A City Hall Virtual Tour
City Hall Tower
ost visitors to Philadelphia make the City Hall tower tour a part of their visit. A dominating feature in the City's skyline, the tower is topped with a 27 ton bronze statue of William Penn, the largest statue on any building in the world. Originally supposed to make the new City Hall the highest building in the world at 547' 3½", the tower was surpassed in height by the Washington Monument at 550' and the Eiffel Tower at 984', which were completed first.
|t did remain the tallest structure in Philadelphia until 1986 when the City and Art Commission broke an 85 year "Gentleman's Agreement" and allowed the construction of One Liberty Place to top out at 945 feet.|
it still lays claim to being the tallest occupied masonry structure
in the world with walls at its base that are 22 feet thick.
e will ride up to level 22 (44 floors), where the observation deck is located below the statue. Although the statue itself is inaccessable to the public, it's still a wonderful view from the deck.
he observation deck, as well as the entire metal portion of the tower, was reconstructed in 1988. The $24 million project involved replacement of 40,000 square feet of metal cladding as well as cleaning and restoration of the statue. Scaffolding, 337 feet above the street, surrounded the tower just below the clock where the masonry ends and the metal begins. It was removed in 1991, after remaining in place for six years of construction and engineering surveys.
|ur elevator holds 5 passengers, and was originally built by Otis in 1901. The cab's glass panels will allow us to catch a glimpse of the pneumatic controller for the great clock (electricity was considered to be too feeble to control the giant hands) as we pass by.|
he city is laid out before us in our view from the deck.
|he western skyline is dominated by the twin towers, Liberty One and Liberty Two. Since the 'gentleman's agreement' was broken, the City's skyline in the west has sprouted several buildings that exceed our current elevation.||ooking
North, we can see Broad street cutting a straight line through the city
all the way to the suburbs.
||otice how the eastern skyline is much lower. Except for the ARA tower on the left, and the PSFS building on the right, there are no highrises between us and the Delaware river in the background.|
ortheast of the towers is the parkway, leading up to the Art Museum and behind it, the Schuylkill River forms the City's original western boundary.
road street cuts a direct line through the City again to our South. With the exception of a few tall buildings near us, the rest of south Philadelphia remains residential.
n the horizon, to the left, we can just about see the stadium complex which is out near the City's southern boundary.
he barrel roofs of the new Convention Center and the Reading Terminal are in the foreground to the left, while barely visible in the northeast background is the Ben Franklin bridge.
s we take the elevator back down
to the seventh floor, remember to take a look at the tower's exterior.
More of Alexander Milne Calder's work adorns the tower in the form of four
bronze eagles and four bronze figures above the clock faces. Just below
the clock, in the masonry spandrels, are carved reliefs depicting the four
|'d like to thank you for joining me on this tour, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed it.|
f you haven't seen the rest of the building, stop by room 201 for the INTERIOR TOUR , otherwise take the elevator in the northeast quadrent to the ground floor in order to EXIT.
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