Philadelphia City Hall – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura

Philadelphia City Hall

This elaborate towering structure was once famed for its revolutionary height. 


Given that Philadelphia is the birthplace of our nation, it’s only fitting that its seat of government is one of the largest municipal buildings in the country, and even in the world — bigger even than the U.S. Capitol Building.

This towering City Hall was built by architect John McArthur, Jr. in the Second Empire style, and was the tallest habitable tower in the world from 1894 until it was surpassed by the Singer Building in Manhattan in 1908.

The building’s antenna spire reaches 548 feet high, and atop it sits a larger-than-life statue of William Penn, the founder of Pennsylvania. Weighing in at 27 tons of bronze and standing 37 feet high, the statue itself towers as the tallest atop any building in the world. The metal portion of the tower boasts four giant clocks on each side, each 26 feet in diameter.

Today, well over a century after it was constructed, the City Hall still stands proud as the 16th tallest building in Pennsylvania and a reminder of the city’s uniquely important place in American history. 

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