text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Merchant's Exchange

Merchant's exchange

Around the corner (on the NE corner of 3rd and Walnut St.) is the Philadelphia Merchant's Exchange, designed by William Strickland, one of the foremost 19th-century architects, and built between 1832 and 1834. It was originally a gathering place where merchants met to barter or sell their cargoes and merchandise. The cornerstone was laid on the 100th anniversary of George Washington's birth.

This masterpiece of elaborate Greek Revival has a Corinthian portico on the west front and an unusual semicircular apse punctuated by columns on the east, facing the river. The tower is not a conventional cupola, but a free adaptation of the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens. From here ships could be seen approaching up and down the river. The small cobblestone way, now Dock Street, on the north side marks the site of Dock Creek, one of many small creeks which originally flowed in from the river.

Independence Hall Area