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Jane’s Walk: William Penn’s “Howling Wilderness”

October 12 @ 10:00 am 1:00 pm

APT certified guide Jim Murphy hosts a free 3-hour Jane’s Walk on William Penn, his “Howling Wilderness,” and how he transformed Philadelphia into the fastest growing city in the Colonies. It starts 10 a.m. at the National Constitution Center 525 Arch St., Phila. Jane’s Walks, held in honor of writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs, are more interactive and participatory than normal walking tours. No reservations are required. Just show up.

Celebrate the 375th  birthday of Philadelphia’s founder William Penn with a free, public “Jane’s Walk” 10 a.m., Saturday, October 12, and explore the story of the city’s extraordinary early growth.The walk begins outside the National Constitution Center (525 Arch Street), winds through Old City and Society Hill, and will finish by 1 p.m. at Washington Square. 

Walkers will pass by the Arch Street Meetinghouse, Tamanend Statue, William Penn’s market, Welcome Park, Dock Creek, St. Peter’s Church, Old Pine Church and more.Jim Murphy, a local writer about Philadelphia history and certified member of the Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides, will lead the walk. His theme: “How William Penn transformed a ‘Howling Wilderness’ into the fastest growing city in the American colonies.”

Murphy, who is currently finishing a book on Philadelphia’s heroes and historic sites for Temple University Press, has organized William Penn birthday celebrations in the past, one at Welcome Park in 2015 and another at City Hall in 2016. Murphy says, “Come share your experiences and opinions as we walk through William Penn’s Philadelphia legacy. You’ll earn something about Penn you probably don’t know and enjoy discussing Philly history.”

The walk is part of a series of events marking William Penn’s 375th birthday, which is actually Oct. 14. (A major celebration will take place 4:30 to 6 p.m., Friday, Oct. 18, at City Hall Courtyard, sponsored in part by The Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides.)

Jane’s Walk is a festival of public walks inspired by writer and urban activist Jane Jacobs (1916-2006). They take place each May in some 250 cities worldwide. Jacobs wrote, “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.” In that spirit, Jane’s Walks are dialogues, led by citizen experts and community leaders, seeking to engage participants in conversation and inquiry about places citizens share.

Jane’s Walks are free, public, and go on rain or shine. No advance registration is necessary.

When Murphy approached Jane’s Walk Philadelphia city organizer Ashley Hahn about Billy Penn’s 375th anniversary during a Jane’s Walk last May, she encouraged him to lead this special off-season walk to celebrate. Jane’s Walk 2020 will take place May 1-3.

Toward the end of the walk, Murphy promises to share an easy way to remember Philly streets south of Market Street that he learned from his mother. “Almost no one knows this memory aide anymore,” he says. “But our walkers will.”

For more information about Jane’s Walk Philadelphia, go to: janeswalkphl.org .


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