2nd St. btwn. Market and Arch Sts., 215/922-1695
HOURS: Mon.–Sat. 9 a.m.–5 p.m., Sun. 12:30–5 p.m., closed Mon. and Tues. in Jan. and Feb., guided tours start on the hour
COST: Free, but suggested donation $3 adult, $2 student
In its heyday, among Christ Church’s members were many of Philadelphia’s elite—including a total of 15 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Basically, everyone who was anyone was a member. The first parish of the Anglican Church in Pennsylvania and the birthplace of the American Episcopal Church, it is also referred to as “The Nation’s Church.”
At its founding in 1695, the modest brick-and-wood structure resembled the typical Quaker meeting houses that dominated early Philadelphia. It was a far cry from what you’ll see today—one of the finest and most elaborate examples of colonial Georgian architecture in the world.
Rebuilt in 1727–1744, the church was designed by Dr. John Kearsley and modeled on the work of famed British architect Christopher Wren. The tower was added in 1754 with funds raised from a lottery organized by Benjamin Franklin, making the church the tallest structure in the colonies for 75 years to follow.
Inside, you’ll see William Penn’s baptismal font (donated in 1697 by All Hallows Church in London), a chandelier installed in 1740, and a pulpit built by Thomas Folwell in 1769. William White, church rector for 57 years, first Bishop of Pennsylvania, and Chaplain of the Continental Congress, is buried here. When the parish grew too large, St. Peter’s Church was established as an offshoot for Society Hill members. The church remains active to this day.
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition