Franklin Square, Race Street between 6th and 7th Streets
The central fountain during the square's Victorian heyday.
Franklin Square was one of the original public spaces in Philadelphia, laid out in 1683 according to Thomas Holme's plan for the city and serving as a centerpiece of William Penn's model "greene country towne". Like many of the city's public spaces, Franklin Square served many functions over the course of time, above and beyond those for which it was initially intended, and has left behind many traces of that storied history.
In 2005-2006 Franklin Square underwent a significant facelift in an effort to rejuvenate its use as a active public space, and archaeological investigations were conducted prior to the start of construction and landscaping. The initial Archaeological Sensitivity study traces the square's long and diverse historical development, summarizes the findings of previous investigations performed in the mid 1970s, and discusses the many different types of archaeological resources likely to be contained within this space. The Archaeological Monitoring report presents the findings of field investigations performed during the square's transformation. Among the exciting discoveries made at that time include a series of intact burials associated with the former First Reformed Church cemetery (1741-1836), portions of a gun-powder magazine dating to the second half of the 18th century, remnants of an early 19th century cattle market, and fragments of the decorative walkways that graced the square during its Victorian-era heyday.
Franklin Square as Victorian garden during the 19th century.
Thomas Holme's original plan for Philadelphia, 1683. Franklin Square is at the upper right.
Headstones from the former First Reformed Church cemetery.
Mechanical trenching during the 2006 refurbishment of the square.
Headstones from the cemetery used as curbing along 19th century walkways.