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John F. Kennedy Plaza
LOVE Park with the Philadelphia Museum of Art in the distant background
|Area||0.5 acres (0.20 ha)|
|Operated by||City Parks & Recreation|
|Status||Currently closed for renovations|
Love Park, officially known as John F. Kennedy Plaza, is a plaza located in Center City, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The park is nicknamed Love Park for its reproduction of Robert Indiana's Love sculpture which overlooks the plaza.
Love Park is the brainchild of former Philadelphia City Planner Edmund Bacon and architect Vincent G. Kling. The park is across from City Hall and was designed as a terminus for the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The park was built in 1965 and covers an underground parking garage. The main features of the plaza are curved granite steps and a single spout fountain added in 1969. What was once the city visitor center (built in 1960, before LOVE Park) was closed down for five years, but opened up in May 2006 as The Fairmount Park Welcome Center. The park was dedicated in 1967 as John F. Kennedy Plaza after President John F. Kennedy.
A "Love" sculpture, designed by Robert Indiana, was first placed in the plaza in 1976 as part of the United States' Bicentennial celebration. It was removed in 1978, but the sculpture was missed, and the chairman of Philadelphia Art Commission, Fitz Eugene Dixon Jr., bought the sculpture and permanently placed it in the plaza, in 1978.
While Love Park was undergoing renovation in 2016 and closed to the public the sculpture was housed in City Hall. The refurbished LOVE sculpture was returned on 13 February, 2018.
Fairmount Park Welcome Center
Built at the base of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in 1961 by the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, the building actually predated the surrounding Love Park by five years. Informally known as the "flying saucer", it was designed by architect Roy Larson of Harbeson, Hough, Livingston & Larson as a futuristic celebration of postwar Philadelphia optimism, attracting visitors to the heart of Penn Center, one of America’s most ambitious experiments in urban renewal. The building survives today as one of the best and most intact examples of flamboyant midcentury modern architecture in Center City Philadelphia and has been determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently closed while being renovated with the rest of the plaza.
The Christmas Village in Philadelphia
The Christmas Village in Philadelphia was formerly held at Dilworth Plaza, on the west flank of City Hall. During the construction on that site of Dilworth Park, the Christmas Village was temporarily relocated to LOVE Park. It is modeled after 16th-century German Christmas Markets, the most famous one being in Nuremberg. Running from Thanksgiving to New Year's Eve, the village attracts thousands in Center City and is one of the most popular holiday events in Philadelphia. Currently, while Love Park is being renovated, the village has moved temporarily back to Dilworth Park for the holidays.
The Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Fountain is often dyed colors throughout the year to commemorate or celebrate events. Regular colors have included:
- Pink - kickoff for breast cancer awareness month (annually in October)
- Blue - commemoration of police officer fatalities
- Green - in honor of the Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series, Phanatic Green (October 29, 2008) Also to support the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011.
- Red - marketing event for Showtime's Dexter television series
- Purple - Lupus Awareness
- I Magazine, 14 February 2018, page 3, 'Love' returns for Valentines Day
- "Philadelphia Public Art: Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Fountain". www.philart.net. Retrieved 2016-08-23.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-04-24.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to LOVE Park.|
- LOVE Park from ushistory.org in Philadelphia
- Video documentary about the rise and fall of skateboarding in LOVE Park
- Love Park videos and photos from SkateSpotter