Ben Franklin? Thomas Jefferson? Abe Lincoln? Who’s on top of City Hall? (video)


If City Hall is the heart of Philadelphia, then I would say the statue of the guy on top is the soul of Philadelphia.

William Penn founded Pennsylvania, made a treaty with the Lenni Lenape and is pretty much the go-to Quaker. So yeah, he got himself a City Hall statue (and one in Fishtown’s Penn Treaty Park). And it’s too bad not many people seem to know it.

On a recent afternoon, I asked people walking around outside City Hall if they knew whose statue is atop the building.

Do you know who that statue is on top of City Hall?

Antione, 18, Germantown: Nope

Anna, 25, Chicago: (shakes head)

Lizzie, 20, New Jersey: I have no idea

Ella, 20, New Jersey: No

Any guesses?

Nyishia, 26, North Philly: No

Ella, 20, New Jersey: Abraham Lincoln

Kathy, 21, Upper Darby: Ben Franklin

Saad, 25, D.C.: Thomas Jefferson?

It’s actually William Penn. Ever heard of him?

Saad, 25, D.C.: That makes sense

Anna, 25, Chicago: PENNsylvania

Ella, 20, New Jersey: I think I’ve heard of him.

Nyishia, 26, North Philly: The school

Kathy, 21, Upper Darby: He’s a Quaker

Ryan and Paul, New Jersey: William Penn owned a good amount of land here

How does a guy as important to Philly as William Penn fly so far under the radar? Well for starters, there’s no one walking around Old City dressed as Penn.

If you’re feeling bad for not knowing about the Penn statue, check out some fun Billy facts in this William Penn 101.

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City Hall