MARAC in Philadelphia: Benjamin Franklin Sightings

by Sarah Weatherwax, Local Arrangements Committee

Benjamin Franklin is surely one of the names most closely associated with Philadelphia’s past and his presence is very visible around the city today. For those of you who sign up for a tour of the American Philosophical Society, you will see a statue of Ben Franklin looming over the entrance. Franklin founded APS in 1743, but 12 years earlier he established the Library Company of Philadelphia (1314 Locust Street) whose building is also adorned with a Franklin statue. For those who want to venture even further from the hotel, keep going west to the Franklin Institute on the Parkway. Although not founded by Franklin, the institution’s mission is to inspire a passion for learning about science and technology, certainly something that would have pleased Benjamin. Crossing over the Schuylkill River into West Philadelphia takes you to the University of Pennsylvania (yet another institution founded by Franklin) and featuring a handsome statue of Franklin in front of College Hall.

Statue of Benjamin Franklin in front of College Hall

The less adventuresome or those with less free time can find plenty of opportunities to see Franklin close by the hotel in Old City. The Benjamin Franklin Museum located at Franklin Court with entrances on Market and Chestnut Streets between 3rd and 4th Streets, just opened in the fall and is located in close proximity to the Franklin Post Office and Franklin Printing Office. Only about a block away is Franklin’s final resting site in the graveyard of Christ Church. As you wander about the Old City and National Independence Historic Park area, be sure to keep an eye out for Benjamin Franklin, himself, as portrayed by an actor in historic garb. From bridges to elementary schools to plumbers to apartment buildings, it is not hard to find something with the name Franklin attached to it, but the one business you must check out is the Franklin Fountain at 116 Market Street and treat yourself to some delicious ice cream.

Ben Franklin’s Grave by Matt McGee

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