Books to Awaken, Delight, & Educate

Sacred Sites of Center City :
A Guide to Philadelphia's Historic Churches, Synagogues and Meetinghouses

Sacred Sites of Center City

Paper, fold-out map, 51 color photographs
28 pp.
5.5" x 10.5"
April 2008
ISBN: 9781589880429

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John Andrew Gallery

Photography by Tom Crane

Take a Moment and read an excerpt from this book.

Retail: $9.95 / Sale: $7.95

Center City Philadelphia contains a concentration and diversity of religious places unmatched by any other area of similar size in the country. Sacred Sites of Center City describes the history and architecture of these landmarks. The guide includes color photographs of each building and offers five walking tours that enable the visitor to experience the neighborhood environments in which these distinctive properties are located. Two churches located in the commercial shopping district are also included.

William Penn described the founding of the colony of Pennsylvania in 1682 as a "holy experiment." Central to that experiment was freedom of worship for all religions, something unavailable in any other part of the British Empire at that time. Penn hoped that tolerance of religious differences would lead to a society in which all individuals, of all backgrounds—including the local Native American population—would be able to live in peace and harmony. This was the second aspect of his holy experiment.

The opportunity for freedom of worship encouraged people of many different faiths to come to the Philadelphia and construct places of worship. Many early settlers were, like Penn, members of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), but Anglican, Catholic, and various Protestant churches, and Jewish synagogues quickly joined the Quaker meetinghouses. As the growth of the city moved south and then west from its original settlement in what is now called Old City, religious congregations followed, erecting larger and more sumptuous religious structures.

These buildings stand as landmarks in every section of Center City to remind us of Pennís vision.

John Andrew Gallery is Executive Director of the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia and is a Partner at Urban Partners. He sits on the board of YouthBuild Charter School, an institution he helped establish. Previously, Mr. Gallery created the Philadelphia Office of Housing and Community Development and served as its first Director. He has taught at the University of Pennsylvania Fells Center, Harvard University, and University of Texas at Austin. He was Coordinator and Vice President of Development, as well as Consultant to the Mayor, on the Philadelphia Bicentennial Corporation, and was the Senior Urban Designer at the Philadelphia City Planning Commission responsible for the final design of Market East. Mr. Gallery sits on a number of other boards and has published several architectural guides as well as countless articles.

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