March 9, 2012

Be Still...


The city streets of Philadelphia bustle below.  But high above the rooftops sits the silhouette of William Penn.  In stillness, watching over his city.  Let me tell you a little story about this lonely guy named Billy...



"Be Still"
Philadelphia, PA


William Penn, city founder and original proprietor of the then British colony "Penn's Woods", sits atop Philly's City Hall.  Which happens to be the largest stone masonry building in the world, and took 30 years to build. Historically,  there had been a gentleman's agreement that the City of Brotherly Love would not approve the building of any structure that would rise above Billy's hat.  Because after all, nothing is bigger in Philly than Billy...well MAYBE Ben Franklin, but definitely NOT Rocky Balboa! That's the Philly I grew up in.  Billy sat high atop the geographic center of his Philadelphia surveying the city below him.  And you could see him looking down upon you wherever you went in the downtown area.

Philadelphians are proud of our Billy, as well as cheese steaks and our professional sports teams who have had a good run of success.  That all changed in 1987 when "One Liberty Place" was constructed and left poor Billy in it's shadow...397 feet worth of shadow.  And our sports teams began to lose, and lose, and lose some more.  Altho, we STILL liked our cheese steaks. So much for Gentlemens' Agreements.

"The Curse of Billy Penn" was lifted in 2007 with the construction of the even taller "Comcast Center" (currently the tallest building in Philly).  Leave it to a couple of union iron workers to outsmart a curse and allow all us Philly Phaithful to finally sleep in peace and stop harassing Philly sports radio shows. Actually, we STILL do the latter.  Those crafty guys took a small figurine of William Penn and attached it to the final beam to be raised on the Comcast Center, along with an American Flag.  Mini-me Billy now sits high atop Philly once again.

Be still my heart, the Phillies went on to win the World Series one year later.  Coincidence?  I think not!


--Kathy


23 comments:

  1. Oh I love this, be-still my heart! haha It feels like a part of my history too, since my ancestors came from England and bought land from 'Billy'. I love seeing the different parts of America in blogland that I haven't ever seen before, what a great area you live in Kathy!! I hope someday I can get there to trace my roots further, before I'm too old!

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    1. Kim, get off your crutches and travel up to explore your roots...I would LOVE to be your guide (as long as I can take some phots too).

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  2. great story. plus i love how your photo has a quietness/stillness to it. :) just beautiful.

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  3. Love the photo. Love the Eagles. Cursed for sure. 1960? Still bleeding green right here in Pats country. Happy weekend.

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  4. I love this picture of "Billy" I took a similar one last summer through the sunroof in my car as we were driving around the circle! Can't wait to see the other fun places you have in store!

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  5. Love your knack for telling great stories...good for Billy Penn!!

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  6. What an interesting story, and such smart iron workers! Glad the curse was lifted!

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  7. I just told this story to someone at work, today!! I remember when they raised the mini-billy and the beam! Can't believe it's been that long since the tower was built, jeesh time flies! PS I tagged ya in a post on my blog, cheesy, but I hope you'll join in!

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  8. Nice post, great shot. Love Be still my heart.

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  9. Great capture. I was in Philly all week (I'm based in CA) and managed to get a shot of the Philly skyline. A beautiful and fun city, one of my favorites!

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    1. So glad you had a good time in Philly :)

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  10. I'm loving these history lessons about your city - always so well explained with interesting facts.

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  11. Great picture with great story!

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  12. This is such a gorgeous image! Love the angles of the building and the perspective.

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  13. What a fantastic photo - the black and white only adds to its striking effect. I'm so glad the curse was finally broken! :)

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  14. you make history interesting, you sure can tell a story. great fun facts and an awesome picture!!

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  15. I came to see a picture and got a history lesson too:) Great post.

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  16. I always love to hear what you have tell us about your wonderful city.. Such a great photo..

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  17. I like how the old meets new here. I hope to visit Philly some day.

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    1. You've got a tour guide if you need one Kelly :)

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  18. Love the shot & all the info you are giving us. It's working out great for sharing with my kids.

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  19. Great photography.

    Regards and best wishes

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  20. I love the contrast of new & old!

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