Department of Records - City of Philadelphia
RECORDS : Archives

Phildelphia History

The City's 19th and early 20th centuries were punctuated by events which constitute the source for any number of research topics in themselves: the creation of Fairmount Park; the City's two international expositions: the 1876 Centennial Exhibition and the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition; the construction of the City's City Hall which took over  thirty years to construct, which is the largest wall-bearing building in the world, and which, incidentally, is an architectural masterwork ,and  the development of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The City Archives holds the minutes and other records of the Board of Commissioners of Fairmount Park from 1867 until very recently. It also holds corporate records of the United States Centennial Commission and the Centennial Board of Finance which conducted the 1876 International Exhibition and of the Sesquicentennial Exposition Association, responsible for the 1926 Exposition. Of later and perhaps related interest are records of the City's 1976 Bicentennial celebration and its "We the People" Constitutional celebration of 1987. The records of the Commissioners for Erection of Public Buildings, 1870-1901, may be found at the City Archives. So too may the records of the efforts of Philadelphia to participate in the City Beautiful Movement through the construction of the Parkway and its other efforts at city planning in the records of the City's Art Jury and Commission and in records of the City's City Planning Commission.