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Everything you need to know about Pennadelphia.

What is Pennadelphia? At first glance, Pennadelphia is a  catchy play on words combining Penn and Philadelphia. But, truly the the University of Pennsylvania and the city of Philadelphia are an integral part of one another. Penn is an urban campus designed to be open to the community. Philadelphia is a city designed as an open city; a perfect match.


The city of Philadelphia was laid out by William Penn. Before the city was founded, the area was inhabited by the Lenape ( Delaware) Indians. The village, Nitapekunk, was located in Fairmount Park. In 1681, as part of a repayment of a debt, Charles II of England owed to Admiral Penn, William's father, Charles II granted William Penn a charter for what would become Pennsylvania Colony.

Shortly after receiving the Charter, Penn said he would lay out " a large towne or city in the most convenient place upon the Delaware River." Legend states that Penn made a treaty of friendship with Lenape Chief, Tammary, under an elm tree at Shackamaxon in what became the neighborhood of Kensington. Penn envisioned a city where all people regardless of religion could freely worship and live together.

Today Philadelphia is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the sixth most populous city in the United States. Philadelphia is home to over 1.5 million people. Many historical sites including Constitution Hall, The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, The Betsy Ross House, and the Museum of the American Revolution brought the vivid history of the city to life on a daily basis. Philadelphia is also home to many wonderful museums of art and culture. Along with the more well-known museums such as The Philadelphia Art Museum, The Barnes Foundation Museum, and the Academy of the Fine Arts, the city also offers Barton Gardens,  The Philadelphia History Museum, the Rodin Museum, the African American Museum, and of course, Arthur Ross Gallery at Penn and the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. The city has over 3,600 outdoor murals located throughout the city and a great many outdoor art sculptures.

Philadelphia also has a long history of "firsts". While not a complete list, here are a few of our firsts:

First brick house built in the country, 1682. This was William Penn's house. First paper mill, 1690, public library, 1731,volunteer fire company, 1736, hospital, The Hospital of Pennsylvania, 1751, stock market, 1754, mint, 1792, art museum, The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, 1805, zoo, 1874, and the first computer, ENIAC, introduced at Penn in 1946.

One of the most interesting parts of the city is its' neighborhoods and citizens. Each neighborhood has its own distinctive name and flavor. Some of the more interesting names of neighborhoods include; Fishtown, Brewertytown, Bella Vista, and Kingsessing(close to the University), which was a Native American term for " place where there is meadow."

Philadelphians a very loyal to their neighborhoods. ONe of the most frequent questions asked of Philadelphians by visitors or newcomers to the city is, "where is the best cheesesteak?" The answer from native Philadelphians rarely is the ever popular tourist places such as "Pat's" or "Gino's", but usually a place in their own neighborhood. However, you should still visit both, the cheesesteak will still be good and they are Philadelphia icons.

Philadelphians are also very loyal to their sports teams. Philadelphia boasts teams in most sports, The Union in soccer, The Philadelphia Phillies in baseball, the Philadelphia 76ers in basketball, the Philadelphia Flyers in hockey, and as of 2018, The World Champion Philadelphia Eagles in football. Philadelphians are nice people, but very passionate sports fans, they think their teams are better than everyone else's.

So, when you get the chance to explore the city, the culture, the arts, the sports, the food, and the people. We welcome over 450,000 college students to the city each year and are happy to have you make your home in Philadelphia. There are always things to do in PhiladelphiaVisit Philly

 Our beautiful city                                                                       

 The University of Pennsylvania 

The University of Pennsylvania was founded on unique grounds. Benjamin Franklin sought to create a local institution of higher learning in which classes were taught in English, instead of the common Latin and Greek. Unlike many other Colonial American College, at Penn, the College was preceded by two schools aimed at younger students, The Academy, and The Charity School. The three schools were part of the same institution and were overseen by the same board of Trustees. The success of the Academy lead, in 1775, to Franklin securing a charter for the College of Philadelphia, to be led by the provost, William Smith.

The class of 1757 was the first class to graduate. The class consisted of twelve students. Half of the twelve members of Penn's first class grew up in Philadelphia or nearby Chester County. Five members of the first class taught at Penn for at least part of their professional careers. The first medical school was established in 1765, and in 1779, Penn became the first American institution of higher education to be named a university. The university continued to grow and moved several times before becoming established in West Philadelphia in 1872.  Some of the first buildings on the new campus in West Philadelphia were College Hall, Medical Hall(Claudia Cohen Hall), the original building of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Hare Medical Laboratories.

Penn's campus is a vibrant place to learn and enjoy all that Penn offers. There are 165 research centers and institutions on campus with many scientific breakthroughs discovered here at Penn. There are also many firsts at Penn: the first student union built in 1896 ( Houston Hall), the first double-decker college football stadium, with the second tier added in 1922,( Franklin Field)  the first digital computer, ENIAC, 1946, the first woman President of an Ivy League institution, Judith Rodin, 1994, and the first female Ivy League Presidents to succeed another female President, Amy Gutman, 2004.

Penn also offers a great many traditions and iconic places to visit on campus. The Button created by Charles Oldenberg, located in front of the Van Pelt Library. The button weighs 5,000 pounds and is 16 feet in diameter. The Love Statue, on Locust walk created by Robert Indiana, a smaller version of the original located in Philadelphia, and of course the Penn Museum. The Penn Relays, established in 1895, is the largest amateur track meet and oldest organized relay competition in the United States. Held over three days in April at Franklin Field. Toast, yes, toast is significant at Penn. Fans at Penn's football games throw toast onto the field after the third quarter of every home football game. The toast thrown is  a response to the lyrics in the Penn song, " a toast to dear old Penn." Some seasons, 20,000-30,000 pieces of toast are thrown on the field.

Enjoy your time at Penn, get involved and have some fun.  


Information: The Penn Libraries, The Penn Archives.


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