text: seven walking tours through historic Philadelphia

Old Pine

Society Hill 26 Society Hill 28

Society Hill is blessed in the number of old churches which have survived, and at 4th and Pine there is another, the Third Street Presbyterian Church, more familiarly known as Old Pine. Although built in 1766, the church was altered twice (in 1837 and 1857) and a Greek Revival front was added. However, its handsome Corinthian columns give an air of elegance to the old neighborhood. Old Pine has as many historical connotations as any building in the city. Know as "The Church of the Patriots," 60 men from the congregation were members of the Continental Army, 35 of whom were commissioned officers. General John Steele, a parishioner, was personal aide-de-camp to Washington and served as field officer at Yorktown on the day Cornwallis surrendered. During the Revolution the British used the church as a hospital and later, when they had used the last of the pews and woodwork for firewood, the church was commandeered as a stable by the dragoons.

The haunting graveyard on the church ground also has a fascinating history to tell. One hundred Hessians are buried in a common grave along the east wall of the church. William Hurry (1721-81), who some historians believe rang the Liberty Bell at the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, is buried here. On a more modern note, maestro Eugene Ormandy, renowned conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra, is also interred at Old Pine.

Walk to 5th and Pine Streets, turn left and walk one block to reach the entrance to the Presbyterian Historical Society

Society Hill