William Penn (October 14, 1644–July 30, 1718): Founded in 1682, Philadelphia was William Penn’s “Holy Experiment.” King Charles II repaid a debt he owed to Penn’s father by giving the young Quaker a parcel of land the king called Pennsylvania, meaning “Penn’s Woods.” Penn decided to design a city based on his religion’s ideal of equality—radical for the time—where Quakers, Catholics, Anglicans and Jews lived alongside one another. Resident’s welcoming nature harkens back to the city’s founder, who called the city Philadelphia, a combination of the Greek words for “brother” and “love.” (Fun fact: Humble Quaker that he was, Penn didn’t like the boastful name Pennsylvania.) Though many think it’s Benjamin Franklin that’s a statue of William Penn on top of City Hall.
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William Penn: Founded Philadelphia in 1682
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