Happy 100th Birthday, Ben Franklin Parkway!


The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is much more than just a street — an idea that will be central to a centennial celebration this month.

Parkway 100 kicks off Sept. 8, launching more than a year of interactive events to mark the 100th birthday of one of the city’s most iconic and picturesque thoroughfares, which is located just six blocks from your 1500 Locust apartment.

Planners of the Parkway broke ground in 1907 but a full decade passed before construction got underway. Throughout the last century, the Parkway has become a tourism hub, bordered by famed cultural institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Free Library of Philadelphia and the Franklin Institute. The expansive 1-mile boulevard has also hosted some of the city’s largest events, from its annual Fourth of July festivities to the NFL Draft, the papal visit and 2005’s Live 8 festival.

The fun kicks off with We Are Connected Sept. 8, featuring more than 100 free activities throughout the Parkway district — at museums, parks and public spaces — including live entertainment, tours and hands-on arts projects.

The theme of unity will follow with the “Collections and Connections” exhibitions. Each of the members of the Parkway Museums District will contribute their own multi-media art project celebrating the area’s history and future — marking the first time for such universal collaboration. Among the highlights of the exhibitions is “Winter Fountains for the Parkway,” a public-art installation that will light up the Parkway for four months starting in December.

Chances are, you’ve spent some time on the Parkway — lounging in the green spaces and beer gardens or learning in one of the many museums. The centennial celebration is another great opportunity to enjoy all that the Benjamin Franklin Parkway offers to the City of Brotherly Love.