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Sesqui-Centennial Celebration in Philadelphia 1926

Updated on August 16, 2013

The 1926 Sesqui-Centennial, Philadelphia's World's Fair

The Sesqui-Centennial was huge, not only in size, but in its importance for the City of Philadelphia at the time. It began on June 30, 1926 and ran all the way into December of that year. It's size was enormous and stretched from Broad St. and Oregon Ave. all the way to and including the Naval Base. Something like 80 countries participated, including Russia, India and Japan to name a few.

The Grand Entrance To The Sesqui-Centennial, The Giant Liberty Bell

The Giant Liberty Bell with 26000 Lights

At Broad and Oregon Ave there is a park split up the middle by Broad St. This Giant Liberty Bell stretched across Broad St. in between the 2 parks. It had 26,000 incandescent light bulbs on it, and was lit up at night for the festival. It was over 85ft. high. and cars and trucks drove under it. I have not been able to find many photos of this. If anybody has any, I would love to scan them. I will post the others I have here. This photo still shows the scaffolding they used to erect it, and I'm not sure if this is looking south or north on Broad St.

Giant Liberty Bell Under Construction

This is the Giant Liberty Bell Under Construction with an inset of the completed bell.

Historic Philadelphia - Lots of books and info can be found here on Amazon

There are many books on the subject of the Sesqui-Centennial of Philadelphia, some are more rare than others. All of them are mostly affordable, and some exceptionally rare books can range at about $100 to $200.

Daily Program - October 23 1926

1926 Sesqui-centennial Program
1926 Sesqui-centennial Program

This is a picture of one of the many daily programs distributed during the Sesqui-Centennial in Philadelphia 1926, this one being from October 23rd 1926

Map of the Sesqui-Centennial

Rough Map of the Sesqui-Centennial
Rough Map of the Sesqui-Centennial

This is a map of the Sesqui-Centennial grounds in 1926 South Philly.

The top of the map is Broad st. at Oregon Ave. Next where it says Liberty Bell is where the giant liberty bell stood, stretching across Broad St.

The bell is gone but the park is still there, now known as Marconi Plaza.

Moving down the map where it says Main Entrance is Packer ave. So all the stuff below that is gone and is now Packer Park Homes. Notice that where there are now homes used to be a lagoon and they had boats riding through it.

Moving lower on the map we come to Sulgrave Manor which is at the entrance to FDR Park now. Where it says Stadium is where JFK Stadium was and is now the location of the Wells Fargo Center home of the Flyers and 76ers.

To the left of that where it says 'Swimming Pool' well that is still there but the pool is a swamp where many species of birds live including geese, swans, herons, ducks of differing kinds and others.

Edgewater lake is still there, where it says 'Military Camp' is where the new baseball fields are. Where it says 'Marine Corps' is around where the skate park is. Where it says 'Aviation Field' way on the left is where FDR Golf Course is now but then it was

a small airport where the likes of Charles Lindberg landed.

Down near the bottom where it says 'Reserve Basin' is where the Navy Yard is.

Persia Building 1926

Persia Building 1926 Sesqui-centennial
Persia Building 1926 Sesqui-centennial

This is a postcard of the Persia Building. This was located just south of the boathouse to the right, in fact it looks like this photo was taken from the boathouse, known as the Russian Tea room back then.

View of the Boathouse from The Persia Building

View of the Boathouse from The Persia Building
View of the Boathouse from The Persia Building

This is what was called the Russian Tea Room. Now it is the boathouse. It has a floating dock and bathrooms. It is presently unoccupied and there is signs up saying it is available to lease. So it could be a nice restaurant someday. They did some work to it in the last couple years and replaced the roof with a nice period steel roof.

Great Stuff From The Sesqui-Centennial can be found on eBay - Including Post Cards and Souvenirs

Souvenirs of The 1926 Sesqui-Centennial are becoming harder to find. Though some thing can always be found on eBay

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    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      I do like to envision what it would be like to have walked the lanes of these old expositions so it was interesting to see them here.

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 4 years ago

      Absolutely fascinating. I lived in Philadelphia for almost five years but never knew about any of this!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      Very original and interesting lens.

    • abakes98 lm profile image

      NobodyLoser 4 years ago

      Very well put together. My lenses don't seem to flow like this. Bravo.

    • Jogalog profile image

      Jogalog 4 years ago

      An interesting read. Blessed.

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 4 years ago

      Really enjoyed reading this lens. Thanks a lot.

    • Rachel214 profile image

      Rachel214 5 years ago from Haifa

      @steveko: Great information!

    • steveko profile image
      Author

      steveko 5 years ago

      @Rachel214: Sadly, because of low attendance related to bad weather that year, most of the buildings were sold off to pay the bills. Only a few left. Even JFK stadium is gone now, replaced by the Wells Fargo Center where the Flyers play.

      The only things left from this celebration are the Boathouse, the Lookout and The Swedish Museum.

    • Rachel214 profile image

      Rachel214 5 years ago from Haifa

      Thanks for this great lens! I am also originally from Philly. I would LOVE to see a lens about the buildings that dot Fairmount Park. I'm guessing some of them are related to this celebration?