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2005 Celebration! - Franklin and Architecture: Building the City

Philadelphia in Franklin's era was known as the Athens of the New World. As master builders and carpenters erected homes ranging from simple to elaborate, Franklin turned his attention to safety features that were both useful and practical helping to provide the infrastructure for this growing metropolis. Through his Pennsylvania Gazette he stressed the need for a better water supply, urged the formation of fire companies, and suggested the paving and lighting of streets. In his private time he created the Franklin stove and his experiments with electricity gave rise to the lightning rod. This year's 299th birthday celebration of Benjamin Franklin examined building in Philadelphia and the role Franklin played. A morning seminar was devoted to "Franklin's Philadelphia: Understanding It and Preserving It" with lectures by Penelope Hartshorne Batcheler, retired architectural historian, Independence National Historical Park; Anna Coxe Toogood, historian, Independence National Historical Park, Bruce Laverty, Gladys Brooks Curator of Architecture, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia; and John Gallery, executive director of Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

The keynote speakers at the luncheon the 2005 honorees were Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, honored by Celebration! of Benjamin Franklin Founder as extraordinary architects who took Franklin's Philadelphia to new heights while retaining a sensitivity to its 18th century roots.

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