Continuing yesterday’s Franklin Institute inktober, today’s inktober is about the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, located in FI’s rotunda.
The Ben Franklin statue was sculpted by James Earle Fraser from 1906 to 1911. It’s 20 feet tall, weighs 30 tons, and is on a 92 ton pedestal of white Seravezza marble.
The statue is the focal point of the Memorial Hall, designed by John T. Windrim and modeled after the Pantheon in Rome. The Hall is 82 feet in length, width, and height. It also has a 1600 ton domed ceiling and marble floors, walls and columns.
The statue was dedicated in 1938 and designated a national memorial in 1972. It hasn’t been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, but it’s affiliated with the National Park Service (along with Franklin Institute). Admission is free to Memorial Hall.
Today’s inktober is about the Franklin Institute, Pennsylvania’s most visited museum and one of Philly’s top tourist destinations.
In 1824, the Franklin Institute was founded by Samuel Vaughan Merrick and William H. Keating in honor of Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin Institute’s building was originally around the corner from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, but the building became too small for their research, programs, and library.
In 1934, the Institute moved to its current location on the Parkway and it became one of the first museums in the world to offer a hands-on approach to learning science.
The institute has over 400,000 sq feet of exhibit space (it has 12 permanent exhibits and it hosts amazing traveling exhibits), two auditoriums, and the Tuttleman IMAX Theater. The institute houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial and it also operates the Fels Planetarium, the second oldest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere.
Side note: It’s my mom’s favorite museum and my favorite museum too. Her favorite parts are the IMAX theater, the observatory, and the exhibits they offer. I love the IMAX, the Planetarium, and the gift shop. Please go! It’s awesome.
Today’s inktober is about the Free Library of Philadelphia.
The Parkway Central location is the main location of the Free Library system, which has over 50 branches around the city.
Planning for the library began in 1911 and it opened for service on June 2, 1927. The Beaux-Arts building was designed by Julian Abele. The library building’s design and the adjacent Philadelphia Family Court building’s design are modeled after the Hotel de Crillon and the Hotel de la Marine on Paris’s Place de la Concorde.
The library has a map collection of over 130,000 maps and it has one of the strongest sheet music collections in the country (350,000). Its Rare Book Department has one of the world’s most renowned Charles Dickens collections and has extensive collections of illuminated manuscripts, Beatrix Potter, Edgar Allen Poe, and more.
Original drawing is now available for purchase here.
Today’s inktober is about Moore College of Art and Design. Moore is the first and only women’s college of art and design in the United States.
It was founded in 1848 by Sarah Worthington Peter as the Philadelphia School of Design for Women. The college was renamed Moore College of Art & Design in 1932. It was named after Joseph Moore, Jr., who set up a $3 million dollar endowment in memory of his parents.
Today’s drawing is of the Swann Memorial Fountain, which is in the center of Logan Circle. The fountain memorializes Dr. Wilson Cary Swann, the founder of the Philadelphia Fountain Society.
It was designed by Alexander Stirling Calder, son of Alexander Milne Calder (who sculpted the William Penn statue on top of City Hall), and the architect Wilson Eyre. The fountain was completed in 1924.
The sculpture features three Native American figures which symbolize the area’s major streams. The girl leaning against the swan represents the Wissahickon Creek. The woman holding the neck of a swan represents the Schuykill River. The man reaching for his bow represents the Delaware River.
Today’s inktober is about Logan Square/Logan Circle: a large traffic circle, open space park and one of the five original planned public squares on the city grid.
In William Penn’s 1684 plan for the city, it was called Northwest Square. However, in 1825, it was renamed Logan Square after Philadelphia statesman James Logan.
In 1917, a French landscape architect named Jacques Gréber converted Logan Square into a circle similar to the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
The Swann Memorial Fountain is in the middle of the circle, and the circle is bordered by the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute, Moore College of Art and Design, and the Cathedral Basilica.
Small fact today! There are 109 flags displayed along the Parkway. The tradition began in 1976 as a part of the bicentennial celebration. The flags represent countries with significant populations in Philly, and for the most part are hung alphabetically.
Continuing yesterday’s story, today’s #inktober drawing is of William Penn. At the top of City Hall is a 37 foot, 27 ton bronze statue of William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia. The statue was made by Alexander Milne Calder.
The Penn Statue is the tallest statue atop any building in the world. It faces Northeast towards Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown, where Penn signed a treaty with the local Native American tribe (Lenape/Delaware).
There was a “gentleman’s agreement” that forbade any building from being taller than the brim of Penn’s hat. However, that agreement was broken in 1987, when One Liberty Place was built. This break of the agreement supposedly put a curse on all local sports teams.
My inktober’s theme is Philadelphia! More specifically, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The parkway is Philly’s main cultural/scenic boulevard, and this year is its centennial celebration. So to start off, today’s inktober drawing is of Philadelphia City Hall!
City Hall was designed by architect John McArthur Jr in the Second Empire style. Construction began in 1871 and ended in 1901. At its completion, it was the world’s tallest habitable building. It’s currently the world’s tallest masonry building, with an exterior structure made out of limestone, granite and marble. With almost 700 rooms, City Hall is the largest municipal building in the US. It houses the Mayor’s office, the Philadelphia City Council, and court rooms for civil trials.
Side note: I was going to cover the history behind the William Penn statue at the top of City Hall, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow.