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The Pulse Of City Life

May 2018

At the turn of the century, in 1799 and 1800. Birch and his son Thomas issued a series of engraved views of Philadelphia that provide a remarkable record of the most attractive and the most enterprising of eighteenth-century American cities. At the time the Birches pictured it, the junction of Second and High streets (left) marked the heart of Philadelphia. Distances from the city to other places were measured from this intersection. In another view (above) they recorded the procession commemorating the death of Washington as it passed by the country market place on High Street. The Arch Street Ferry is shown below. In 1797 more than 1,400 vessels berthed at bustling Philadelphia.