When city founder William Penn envisioned Philadelphia, he saw a busy, orderly and green town.
As a key part of the city’s civic architecture, Penn established five squares, including Washington Square, as public green spaces.
Today, visiting Washington Square means strolling its tree-lined pathways, observing the clone of Philadelphia’s only Moon Tree and stopping to recognize the memorial to Washington and unknown soldiers of the American Revolution.
The park is just a block from Independence Hall and a popular gathering spot for residents and visitors alike.
The green and lively Washington Square attracts those who want a respite from the city action — picnickers, families, sunbathers and history buffs.
In contrast to today’s beautiful park setting, during its early years, Washington Square 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 Southeast Square — renamed Washington Square in 1825 — with more than 60 species of trees.
The stately buildings surrounding 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.
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