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Washington Square

A leafy retreat with tree-shaded benches, located steps from Independence Hall

Washington Square Park

Washington Square is one of William Penn's original five squares set aside to establish parks for the public. Credit: E. Mencher for Visit Philadelphia

Description

History

In contrast to today’s beautiful park setting, Washington Square during its early years was claimed as a burial ground and pasture.

By 1815, however, the installation of a public walk and tree-planting program initiated what would become the modern-day scenic square — renamed Washington Square in 1825 — with over 60 species of trees. Philadelphia founder William Penn designated the space among five city squares set aside for establishing parks for the public.

Washington Square later became the site of the country’s oldest publishing house and many well-respected members of the publishing industry, including The Farm Journal — the oldest farm publication in the U.S. — and the W.B. Saunders Publishing Company.

Insider Tip

The park shelters the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in memory of soldiers who fought in the American Revolution, and a clone of tree that sprouted from a seed that went to the moon — and back.

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