Logan Circle (Philadelphia)
Swann Fountain in Logan Circle
|Architect||Thomas Holme; Jacques Greber|
|MPS||Four Public Squares of Philadelphia TR|
|NRHP Reference #||81000555|
|Added to NRHP||September 14, 1981|
Logan Circle, also known as Logan Square, is an open-space park in Center City Philadelphia's northwest quadrant and one of the five original planned squares laid out on the city grid. The circle itself exists within the original bounds of the square; the names Logan Square and Logan Circle are used interchangeably when referring to the park. The park is the focal point of the eponymous neighborhood.
Originally called "Northwest Square," the park was used for public executions and burial plots until the early nineteenth century. In 1825, it was renamed Logan Square after Philadelphia statesman James Logan.
In June 1864, temporary buildings were built on the square and it was the site of the Great Sanitary Fair, a 2-week exposition that raised US$1,046,859 to buy medicine and bandages for Union troops during the American Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln visited the fair.
Although the original bounds of the square—18th Street to the east, 20th Street to the west, Race Street to the south and Vine Street to the north—are still intact, the park today is distinguished by its circle, constructed in the 1920s as a segment of Benjamin Franklin Parkway. It was designed by Jacques Gréber, a French landscape architect who converted Logan Square into a circle similar to the oval of the Place de la Concorde in Paris. Philadelphia even modeled its Free Library and Family Court Building after the twin buildings of the Hôtel de Crillon and the Hôtel de la Marine in Paris.
Among the sites in its immediate vicinity are the Swann Memorial Fountain at the center of the circle, Free Library of Philadelphia, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute, Moore College of Art and Design, the Roman Catholic Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul, and the Mormon Philadelphia Pennsylvania Temple.
In early 2005 efforts were begun to clean up and redevelop the park to make it more accessible to pedestrians. Most noticeably the large paulownia trees that featured prominently around the fountain were removed. City planners had determined that they had reached the end of their life span and had become an eyesore. They will be replaced with similar trees as part of a larger plan to improve the space.
To commemorate the end of every school year since the 1960s, the newly appointed Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors of J. W. Hallahan Catholic Girls High School jump into the fountain. The event is the subject of much local media coverage throughout Philadelphia.
Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul (1846–64).
In popular culture
- The band The Wonder Years has a song named after Logan Circle on their album The Upsides.
- The emo band Algernon Cadwallader's song "Spit Fountain" references the statues in Swann Fountain.
- National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
- "The Central Library and Logan Circle: New Public Spaces". City of Philadelphia.
- "Squaring the Circle", Philadelphia Citypaper, by Christopher Schwartz, Sept. 15, 2005.
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