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City Council Chambers Panoramic

City Coucil Chambers
Prior to 1920, the legislative branch of Philadelphia's city government consisted of two governing bodies, the Select and Common Councils. With a new city charter in 1919, the bodies were merged and Room 400, which was created for the Common Council, became the Council Chamber that is still in use today.

The appearance of the room today dates from major renovations done in 1907. Since that time we find the columns, pilasters, cornices rostrum bases, wainscoting, panels framing walls, and gallery railings are all covered with highly polished white Alabama Marble.

The columns on the gallery level have wonderful capitals of bronze angels with outstretched arms. The wall panels are currently painted two shades of blue. These panels are in fact stretched canvases that were originally prepared to be painted with murals. A design competition was held and artists where selected in 1896, but the murals were never painted.

During most meetings and hearings, the brass rail surrounding the room helps to separate the council members and their staff from the visitors seated in the wooden chairs. Overflow crowds can sit in the fifth level gallery. All meetings are open to the public. Most meetings are televised live on cable television.

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