Skip Navigation

May-June 2017

ResizeResize Text: Original Large XLarge


Philadelphia – City of American Foundations and Firsts

The Founding Fathers of the United States met in Philadelphia to sign the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787. Less well known, and prior to these two monumental historical moments, Philadelphia hosted the Second Continental Congress, where the United States Army was established on June 14, 1775, the United States Navy on October 13, 1775, and the United States Marine Corps on November 10, 1775.

Philadelphia's other notable firsts for the fledgling nation included the establishment of the first art museum and art school, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, in 1805; the first African-American Church, Mother Bethel-African Methodist Episcopal Church, in 1794; the first zoo, the Philadelphia Zoo, in 1874; the first stock exchange, the Philadelphia Stock Exchange, in 1790; the first hospital, the Pennsylvania Hospital, in 1751; the first university, the University of Pennsylvania, in 1779; the first United States Mint, in 1792; and the first library, Benjamin Franklin's The Library Company of Philadelphia, in 1731. 

ED DARACK is an independent author and photographer who covers a broad range of topics. His next book is The Final Mission of Extortion 17, published by Smithsonian Books. Learn more at

The full text of this article is available by subscription only.

In this Issue

On this Topic

Privacy Policy

© 2018 Taylor & Francis Group · 530 Walnut Street, Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA · 19106