Echoes from the Sidewalk

What exactly is that ornate, cream-colored facade looming over Locust Street? Walking west, from Washington Square, one could simply pass by the old Musical Fund Hall without a thought. And that would be an option, but it would be a mistake.

In the 1820s, when the Musical Fund Hall was new, it was the center of cultural life in Philadelphia. Broad Street was still mostly barren. The Academy of Music would not be built for three more decades. Nearby, the Walnut Street Theater was thriving and the Square served as one of the gathering grounds for the city's 150,000 residents. But that population would double again before 1850 and double again by 1870, forcing the city westward and leaving the Musical Fund Hall as a pleasant, if quaint, memory. [Read more...]

Joel Rose, Producer and Editor
Viet Le, Rachael Berenguer and Jennifer Lynn, Associate Producers
Elisabeth Perez-Luna, Executive Producer
Kenneth Finkel, Executive Director, Arts & Culture Service

Funding was provided by The William Penn Foundation.

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Marking Pennsylvania History

ExplorePAHistory.comFirst Republican National Convention
The upstart Republican Party began as a response to the crisis of slavery in 19th century America. The GOP held its very first national convention in Philadelphia in June of 1856.

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