Portal:Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia Portal

The Philadelphia skyline from the South Street Bridge, January 2020

Philadelphia, often called Philly, is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the sixth-largest city in the U.S., the second-largest city in both the Northeast megalopolis and Mid-Atlantic regions after New York City. Since 1854, the city has been coextensive with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the Delaware Valley, the nation's seventh-largest and one of world's largest metropolitan regions, with 6.245 million residents . The city's population as of the 2020 census was 1,603,797, and over 56 million people live within 250 mi (400 km) of Philadelphia.

With 18 four-year universities and colleges, Philadelphia is one of the nation's leading centers for higher education and academic research. , the Philadelphia metropolitan area was the nation's ninth-largest metropolitan economy with a gross metropolitan product (GMP) of US$479 billion. Philadelphia is the largest center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and the broader multi-state Delaware Valley region; the city is home to five Fortune 500 corporate headquarters as of 2022. The Philadelphia skyline, which includes several globally renowned commercial skyscrapers, is expanding, primarily with new residential high-rise condominiums. The city and the Delaware Valley are a biotechnology and venture capital hub; and the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, owned by NASDAQ, is the nation's oldest stock exchange and a global leader in options trading. 30th Street Station, the city's primary rail station, is the third-busiest Amtrak hub in the nation, and the city's multimodal transport and logistics infrastructure, including Philadelphia International Airport, the PhilaPort seaport, freight rail infrastructure, roadway traffic capacity, and warehouse storage space, are all expanding. (Full article...)

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The July 7, 1844 riot in Southwark.

The Philadelphia Nativist Riots were a series of riots that took place between May 6 and 8 and July 6 and 7, 1844 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States and the adjacent districts of Kensington and Southwark. The riots were a result of rising anti-Catholic sentiment at the growing population of Irish Catholic immigrants. In the months prior to the riots, nativist groups had been spreading a rumor that Catholics were trying to remove the Bible from public schools. A nativist rally in Kensington erupted in violence on May 6 and started a deadly riot that would result in destruction of two Catholic churches and numerous other buildings. Riots erupted again in July after it was discovered that St. Philip Neri's Catholic Church in Southwark had armed itself for protection. Fierce fighting broke out between the nativists and the soldiers sent to protect the church, resulting in numerous deaths and injuries. Grand juries investigating the riots found that fault lay mainly with the Irish Catholic population. However, nationally the riots helped fuel criticism of the nativist movement despite denials from nativist groups of responsibility. The riots made the deficiencies in law enforcement in Philadelphia and the surrounding districts readily apparent, influencing various reforms in local police departments and the eventual consolidation of the city in 1854.

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Oney Judge Runaway Ad.jpg
Runaway advertisement in The Pennsylvania Gazette, May 23, 1796

Oney Judge was a slave at George Washington's plantation, Mount Vernon, in Virginia. A servant in Washington's presidential households beginning in 1789, she escaped to freedom from the Philadelphia President's House on Saturday, May 21, 1796, and defied his attempts to recapture her. More is known about her than any other Mount Vernon slave because she was twice interviewed by abolitionist newspapers in the 1840s.

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Hamilton Disston

Hamilton Disston was an industrialist and real-estate developer who purchased four million acres (16,000 km²) of Florida land in 1881, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, and reportedly the most land ever purchased by a single person in world history. Disston was the son of Pennsylvania-based industrialist Henry Disston who formed Disston & Sons Saw Works, which Hamilton later ran and which was one of the largest saw manufacturing companies in the world. Hamilton Disston's investment in the infrastructure of Florida spurred growth throughout the state. His related efforts to drain the Everglades triggered the state's first land boom with numerous towns and cities established through the area. Disston's land purchase and investments were directly responsible for creating or fostering the towns of Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Gulfport, Tarpon Springs, and indirectly aided the rapid growth of St. Petersburg, Florida. He furthermore oversaw the successful cultivation of rice and sugarcane near the Kissimmee area. Although Disston's engineered canals aided water transport and steamboat traffic in Florida, he was ultimately unsuccessful in draining the Kissimmee River floodplain or lowering the surface water around Lake Okeechobee and in the Everglades. He was forced to sell much of his investments at a fraction of their original costs. However, his land purchase primed Florida's economy and allowed railroad magnates Henry Flagler and Henry Plant to build rail lines down the east coast of Florida, and another joining the west coast, which directly led to the domination of the tourist and citrus industries in Florida. Disston's immediate impact was in the Philadelphia area, where he was active in Republican politics and a philanthropist, but his legacy is often associated with the draining and development of Florida.

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"It was in Philadelphia that 'in a moment of elegance and clarity' the men gathered here wrote the Declaration of Independence and Constitution."

Garrison Keillor

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