The History of Rittenhouse Square Essay

The History of Rittenhouse Square Essay

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Rittenhouse square has a long and noteworthy history and design. Once upon a time Rittenhouse Square was known as Southwest Square, but in 1825 it was renamed after David Rittenhouse, who was an astronomer, inventor, clockmaker, and the first director of the U.S. Mint. Rittenhouse square is located between Walnut and Pine Streets, from 15th Street to 24th Street, in the southwest quadrant of downtown Philadelphia, or as commonly referred to—the city of brotherly love. The design for this square was originally devised by William Penn, who formed Philadelphia and was the governor of Pennsylvania and his surveyor Thomas Holme in 1682. Although the plans had been completed for this square it was not until the year 1816 that any manner of design had been implemented. This turned out to be a fence around the square, which was paid for by the local residents in a loan to the city for the production of this fence.
Rittenhouse square has a compelling physical presence that includes—the main walkways that are diagonal, beginning at the corners and meeting at a central oval; here the central plaza possesses a rectangular reflecting pool symmetrically opposite a large planter bed, with a centralized, little, glass pavilion anchoring the space. The plaza is surrounded by a circular path and a balustrade that interconnects with the diagonal pathways. At the entrances and around the square are classical Greek urns on low pedestals showing personages of ancient Greeks, along with other unique sculptures that have been implemented throughout the years. Flower beds, shrubs, and various diverse varieties of tress including sycamore, horse chestnuts, maples, elms, and oaks are also found throughout the square; this added a splatter of color and con...


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...g to give a place for recreation, for the betterment of human welfare and how this was accomplished, just like many of the lessons we have gone covered in this course. Rittenhouse square was intended to be used for recreational purposes and that is the exact thing it is used for, whether it be a family picnicking in the park, a business man escaping from work for a quick lunch on a nearby bench, or just a general visit to look at the wonders this square holds and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This is one place I do not believe needs any improvements, the local people have done so much to make this a great place throughout the years. This square has even been referenced as the “perfect urban neighborhood because of its excellent balance of residential and commercial uses, beautiful nature and flora, and diverse architectural styles” by Jane Jacobs.

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