Representing one of the earliest examples of urban renewal in the United States, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway is Philadelphia?s most famous boulevard, named after the city?s most famous resident. The construction of the road aimed to ease heavy industrial overcrowding in Philadelphia?s Center City also called downtown Philadelphia, that includes the central business district and the central neighborhoods of the city. More importantly, this plan intended to restore Philadelphia?s natural and artistic beauty. Its urban planner, Jacques Gr?ber, successfully implemented the plan.
The original plan for the new boulevard was to be lined by impressive buildings, a lot like the Champs-Elys?es in Paris. However, in 1917, a design to create a wide boulevard consisting of two different sections was adopted by the Fairmont Park Commissioners. The Champs-Elys?es design was still executed throughout the boulevard stretching from the City Hall Tower on one end to a fixed point on the hill called Fairmont, now the site of the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the other end. Moreover, flags of different countries around the world line along the boulevard. The design of the Parkway has given it the impression ?a slice of Paris in Philadelphia? and has been called the ?Avenue of Remembrance?.
The Logan Square, also known as the Logan Circle divides the Benjamin Franklin Parkway into two sections. The portion connecting the City Hall with Logan Circle was of a more modest nature while the section of the boulevard, stretching from the Logan Circle to Eakins Oval has a park-like look on each side surrounded by greenery and is considered to be the road?s most striking.
The Parkway is the backbone of the Museum District of the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and has become one of the favorite spots to visit among the tourists. Walking or driving along the road, visitors will have an easy access to some of Philadelphia?s most famous religious, cultural and educational attractions such as the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Swann Memorial Fountain, the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute, Moore College of Art and Design, the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Rodin Museum, Eakins Oval, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. From the northern end of the road, the Fairmont Park can easily be accessed through Kelly Drive, Martin Luther King Drive (formerly West River Drive), the Schuylkill River Trail, and the Schuylkill Expressway (otherwise known as I-76).
The Parkway can also be viewed as an outdoor sculpture patch. Many sculpture works that depicts different themes and stories, as well as memorials, can be found along the stretch of the boulevard. Some of these sculptures are featured on fountains, such as the Swann Fountain at the center of Logan Circle and the one at the Love Park.
The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is situated centrally that?s why it has become a site for many concerts and parade. One of the most unforgettable concerts that took place here was the Live 8 concert where artists such as Dave Matthews Band, Linkin Park and Maroon 5 performed on July 2, 2005.