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City Hall

Philadelphia City Hall was built on Center Square, a four block area that William Penn designated for public buildings. Construction began on January 3, 1871 and ended thirty years later on June 26, 1901. The architectural style is French Second Empire. It's made primarily of brick with a face of white marble, granite and limestone. It is currently the largest municipal building in the United States. It's even larger than the U.S. Capital building in Washington DC.

Major modifications were required during the 30 year building process as technological advances like electricity and elevators were incorporated into the design. These modifications, along with extreme political interference, resulted in a final construction cost of $24.3 million. The original estimate was $7.5 million. By today's standards, the same project would cost around $7 billion to complete.

The height at the top of William Penn's hat is 548 feet 11.5 inches. The bronze statue is 37 feet tall, the tallest statue on any building in the world. It is made of 14 separate pieces. Billy Penn - as the statue has become known in Philadelphia - was assembled and displayed for a year in the City Hall courtyard. Then in November of 1894, it was dismantled, lifted piece by piece to the top of the tower, and reassembled.

Workers can gain access to the brim of Billy Penn's hat by climbing on top of the tower elevator, scaling a ladder that goes up the center of the statue, and exiting through a 22-inch hatch on the top of the hat.

City Hall covers more than 14 acres of floor space.

Thirty-seven tons of bird droppings was removed when City Hall was pigeon-proofed in 1993.

Before City Hall, Penn Square had been used as a public hanging ground, and later, a water pumping station.

The clock in the tower weighs 50 tons and the second hand travels 114.7 miles in one year.

 

 

City Hall at a glance

Number of rooms 695
Number of entrances 14
Number of elevators 20
Number of sculptures over 250
Size of courtyard 200 x 220 feet
Number of bricks used 88,300,000

 

Bottles found in a civil defence room near City Hall


Other Resources

City Hall Fun Facts