text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Welcome to Washington Square

Washington Square, one of the five squares William Penn laid out in his 1682 survey of Philadelphia, was then simply called the southeast square, for Quakers did not believe in naming places after people. In 1833, however, it was renamed to honor the first President, George Washington. The trees in Washington Square are older, wider-spreading and taller than those in Rittenhouse or Independence Squares, and the square itself has a more open, spacious quality - but then, it started as a pasture. Later the square served as a burial ground - potter's field - and many American and British soldiers of the Revolution lie here, along with victims of the yellow fever epidemic of 1793.

Washington Square and West