Christ Church

Christ Church Steeple

The church's steeple remains to this day a visible landmark.

The church is one of America's most historic shrines and as such Philadelphians have always revered it. Organized in 1695 during the reign of William and Mary, it was built between 1727 and 1754 when George II was king. According to historian John Francis Marion, the bas relief of His Majesty that was on the church in the 18th century was removed in the 1790s in a wave of pro-republican or anti-British sentiment. Today, there is a similar bas relief of George II on the church, outside above the Palladian window on Second Street. It is believed to be the only surviving outdoor depiction of any English royalty on any public building in what were the American colonies. This bas relief was temporarily removed for restoration and replaced in 1994. George Washington, Francis Hopkinson, Robert Morris, Benjamin Franklin, and Betsy Ross all had assigned pews here. Jefferson also attended services here on occasion. The "600-year-old font" in which William Penn was baptized was sent to the colonies by All Hallow's Church, Barking by-the-Tower, England.

Christ Chuch historical marker

The church's steeple, at 200-feet high, is to this day a visible landmark from many parts of the city. One can only wonder then, at what it meant to those ships of two centuries past coming up the Delaware river after months at sea. Another remarkable feature of the church is the wine glass pulpit built in 1769 by Jon Folwell (who also crafted the Rising Sun chair at Independence Hall). For 57 years Bishop White preached from this pulpit. In 1790, if Bishop White looked at Pew 56 he might have seen George Washington and family. Pew 70 was reserved for Benjamin Franklin. The box pews were all rented, the balconies were rented with a few free pews there for servants and slaves of parishioners. On July 4, 1788 bells tolled all day to celebrate the ratification of the Constitution.

  • Here you can visit the font in which William Penn was baptized
  • Pew 70 was Ben Franklin's; Washington sat in Pew 56
  • The Second Continental Congress worshipped here as a body in 1775-76.
  • Benjamin Franklin organized three lotteries to finance the payment of the church's steeple and bells.

  • Location: Second and Market Streets
  • Built: Between 1727-1744
  • Architect: Dr. John Kearsley after Christopher Wren; Steeple Robert Smith 1754
  • Style: Georgian
  • Commissioned by: Anglican Congregation
  • Tourist information: Mo-Sa 9am-5pm; Su 12:30-5 for guided tours; except in Jan. & Feb. when it is closed on Mo and Tu. Open for services. 215-922-1695
  • Facilities: Guides available, indoor/outdoor benches, wheelchair accessible
  • Official website:

Copyright © 1999- by the Independence Hall Association, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942. Publishing electronically as On the Internet since July 4, 1995.