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Portal:Philadelphia

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Flag of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.svg

Philadelphia, known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U.S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth-most populous U.S. city with a 2018 census-estimated population of 1,584,138. Since 1854, the city has had the same geographic boundaries as Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U.S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents . Philadelphia is also the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis. The Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States.

Philadelphia is one of the oldest municipalities in the United States. William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, and the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787. Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, and the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Philadelphia remained the nation's largest city until being overtaken by New York City in 1790; the city was also one of the nation's capitals during the revolution, serving as temporary U.S. capital while Washington, D.C. was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a major industrial center and a railroad hub. The city grew from an influx of European immigrants, most of whom came from Ireland, Italy and Germany—the three largest reported ancestry groups in the city . In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War, as well as Puerto Ricans. The city's population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950.

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Campus - BenjaminFranklin002.jpg
Benjamin Franklin statue, the University of Pennsylvania, 2003

Philadelphia has more outdoor sculptures and murals than any other American city. Many statues of Benjamin Franklin can be found around town, including an elderly Franklin with a walking cane and paper in his hands seated on a bench along the Locust Walk in West Philadelphia, within the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, a university founded by Franklin.

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Liberty Bell with Independence Hall beyond window across Chestnut St.

The Liberty Bell is an iconic symbol of American independence. Formerly placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House (now renamed Independence Hall), the bell today is located in the Liberty Bell Center in Independence National Historical Park. The bell was commissioned in 1752 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly from the London firm of Lester and Pack (known subsequently as the Whitechapel Bell Foundry), and was cast with the lettering "Proclaim LIBERTY Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof," a Biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus (25:10). The bell first cracked when rung after its arrival in Philadelphia, and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow, whose last names appear on the bell. In its early years the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings and proclamations. Many bells—most likely including the Liberty Bell—were rung on July 8, 1776 in Philadelphia to announce the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, four days after its signing. In the 1830s, the bell was adopted as a symbol by abolitionist societies, who were the first to call it the Liberty Bell. The bell acquired its distinctive large crack in the early 19th century. A widespread story claims it cracked while ringing after the death of Chief Justice John Marshall in 1835. Beginning in 1885, the City of Philadelphia sent it to various expositions and patriotic gatherings. The bell attracted huge crowds wherever it went, additional cracking occurred and pieces were chipped away by souvenir hunters. The last journey occurred in 1915, after which all requests were refused. The city allowed the National Park Service to take custody of the bell after World War II, with the city retaining ownership. In 1976, the bell was moved from its longtime home in Independence Hall to a glass pavilion across the street on Independence Mall, and then to the larger Liberty Bell Center in 2003. The bell has a circumference of 12 ft (3.7 m), a diameter of 3.82 ft (1.16 m), and a mass of 2,080 lb (940 kg).

Selected biography

John Ashby Lester

John Lester was an American cricketer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Lester was one of the Philadelphian cricketers who played from the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of World War I. His obituary in Wisden Cricketers' Almanack, described him as "one of the great figures in American cricket." During his career, he played in 53 matches for the Philadelphians, 47 of which are considered first class. From 1897 until his retirement in 1908, Lester led the batting averages in Philadelphia and captained all the international home matches. John Lester helped to lift Philadelphia cricket to the highest levels of international play with his leadership and understanding of the sport. He is one of the few American cricketers noted in Cricket Scores and Biographies, which said that he was "a watchful batsman who could hit well and had plenty of strokes and strong defence." In 1951 he authored A Century of Philadelphia Cricket, which was a definitive history of the game in the area. Lester was also integral in the foundation of the C.C. Morris Cricket Library when he proposed that cricket, "with a history and literature second to none should be given a permanent home in the United States."

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"I'd like to see Paris before I die... Philadelphia will do."*

W. C. Fields

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