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Philadelphia Scramble Squares®
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Fascinating Facts about Philadelphia Scramble Squares®
Named after a Biblical city in Asia Minor, Philadelphia, literally the “City of Brotherly Love,” in Pennsylvania was the first Capital of the United States of America. It was in Philadelphia’s State Hall, now called “Independence Hall,” where the Declaration of American Independence was drafted and ratified on July 4, 1776. Following the American Revolution, the United States Congress officially continued to meet in Philadelphia until the Nation’s capital was moved to the “City of Washington” in the “District of Columbia” in 1800.

In March 1681 a Quaker named William Penn received the title to Pennsylvania in a land grant from King Charles II of England. Penn assigned a commission to select a location with suitable water frontage on the Delaware River for the establishment of a city. Penn arrived at the site of about 90 miles from the mouth of Delaware Bay on the Delaware River to establish the city of Philadelphia in October 1682. He planned a rectangular grid pattern on 1,200 acres between the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, the part of the present city that lies between South and Vine Streets. His plan also provided an innovative urban planning design of four public squares (now parks) and a town square (now City Hall). Penn's plan would strongly influence the future growth of Philadelphia and help set the urban planning pattern for most later cities in America.

Philadelphia was established as the seat of government and capital of the colony in March 1683. The first mayor of Philadelphia, Humphrey Morrey was appointed by William Penn. During the next few years, Philadelphia expanded rapidly and flourished. Most settlers in the area at that time were Quakers, or “Friends,” from England, but as the community developed into a thriving trade center, increasing numbers of German, Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived. Philadelphia had become the third largest port on the Atlantic Seaboard by 1690. By 1774 Philadelphia had become the military, economic, and political center of the colonies. The First Continental Congress convened at Philadelphia’s Carpenters' Hall in 1774. Instead of the Congress simply denouncing British policy, it took stronger action by imposing a commercial boycott against British trade goods. The Second Continental Congress met at Philadelphia in 1775, and before the session began, the American Revolution had begun in Massachusetts with fighting between the colonists and British troops. In Philadelphia at the State House on July 4, 1776, Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence from the British Crown.

During the Revolutionary War from September 1777 to May 1778, the British occupied Philadelphia, and Congress met in New York. During that very bitter winter of the war, the heroic endurance of George Washington's army north of Philadelphia at Valley Forge became the turning point of the young nation’s historic struggle to free itself from tyranny. Wartime financial needs influenced Congress in 1781 to establish the Bank of North America, the new country’s first bank, and the Philadelphia Mint was created by Congress in 1792. The Philadelphia Convention was held at the State House in 1787, and its delegates drafted the Constitution of the United States. Philadelphia’s “firsts” include many that were innovated by its most famous citizen-- patriot, printer, philosopher, inventor, firefighter, insurance executive and and statesman Benjamin Franklin, who discovered electricity with a kite and a key, founded the first fire department in the United States in Philadelphia in 1736 and organized the first fire insurance company, the “Philadelphia Contributorship.”

After the American Revolution, Philadelphia focused on shipbuilding. Today, the Port of Philadelphia, on the Delaware River, is the nation’s largest port and the world's busiest freshwater port.

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