Philadelphia Landmark Profile: The Swann Memorial Fountain
If you live in Philadelphia, or if you’ve visited the City of Brotherly Love, you probably know the Swann Memorial Fountain. But how much do you know about this beloved Philly landmark?
In the heart of Logan Circle stands The Swann Memorial Fountain, created in 1924. Previously, this location was used as a pasture and a place for public executions until 1823. In 1825, this space was named Logan Square after former Mayor James Logan. Finally, in July 1924, hundreds of couples tangoed and fox-trotted on the square to celebrate the completion of Logan Square’s new landmark: “The Swann Memorial Fountain.” It was gifted by the Philadelphia Fountain Society to honor its late founder, Dr. Wilson Cary Swann.
The Swann Memorial Fountain Design and Symbols
The Swann Memorial Fountain, sculpted by Alexander Stirling Calder, represents Philadelphia’s three major rivers, the Delaware, the Schuylkill, and the Wissahickon. Swans were added to commemorate Dr. Swann’s name. The three large bronze Native American sculptures are inspired by traditional “river god” sculptures, personifying nature: the male Native American represents the largest river, the Delaware, as he reaches above his head to grasp his bow; the young girl on her side represents the Wissahickon, and the mature woman symbolizes the Schuylkill River, as she hold the swan’s neck. Bronze turtles and frogs decorate the ornate water jets.
Today, the fountain is popular for taking a dip during the hot summer; where Hallahan seniors celebrate their final days of school with a customary running through the fountain; where Moore Art students carefully focus on a sketch of the fountain or on a perspective rendering of the art museums, the Parkway’s fountains, and City Hall; fitness boot camps and yoga classes coexist here; formal outdoor dancing has been organized to replicate how it was celebrated in the 1920s; wedding pictures are taken; residents and tourists alike enjoy a picnic; and those lucky enough to live in Logan Square enjoy easy access to the rest of the city.
If you’re interested in moving to Logan Square, contact Maxwell Realty today. We connect buyers and renters with some of the best real estate in Logan Square, and all of Philly’s most beloved neighborhoods. Let us help you find yours.
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