The Presence of the Past in Franklin Square
200 N 6th St, Philadelphia, PA 19102
Originally called Northeast Square, Franklin Square was renamed in 1825 to honor Benjamin Franklin. Although designated as a public square in the earliest city plan, Northeast Square was slow to develop, due in part to its marshy land.
By the early 1740s, the First Reformed Church had begun construction of a church nearby and lacked room for an adjacent cemetery. The nearest sizeable tract of open land was Northeast Square. In 1915, excavations took place for the installation of a new sewer line. In the course of this excavation, several graves were discovered. Excavations for the Benjamin Franklin Bridge Plaza in the early 1920s revealed additional human remains. In 1925, a water main was constructed through the square. In the course of this excavation, three human skulls were uncovered in the western part of the square. During a sewer excavation in the square in 1976, two skulls and other bones were uncovered, as well as two gravestones.
On July 31, 2006, after a multi-million dollar renovation, the once dilapidated park, was restored to green space where families and visitors could safely gather. Existing features were renovated and new features added to make the 7.5 acre park a new attraction for the City.