Since its completion 30 years after constuction began in 1871, City Hall has dominiated the Center City panorama. City Hall was constructed on Penn's Square, one of WIlliam Penn's original five planned parks, and was the true center of the original city. Architect John McArthur, Jr. intended for the ornate building to be the tallest strcuture in the world at 548 feet, but it never held that distinction; the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Washington Monumnet in the district of Columbia was completed prior to City Hall. City Hall instead was given the distinction of being the tallest occupied structure in the U.S. until 1908-1909. The building is still the world's highest masory load-bearing structure consisting of 88 million bricks and thousands of tons of marble and granite.
City Hall is perhaps the nation's largest and elaborate seat of municipal government. It is the finest American example of the French Second Empire architecture widely used in turn of the century public buildings.
City Hall boasts the most comprehensive scupltural decoration of any American building. Alexander Mine Calder designed over 250 sculptures including the statue of William Penn, which stands atop the tower. Calder fashioned people and animals of the world, educators, artists and engineers out of the stone "to express American ideals and develop American genius." There are three generations of Calder family artists found along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway: his son designed the Swan Fountai
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