Franklin Square was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin in 1825. Over the years, it has been used as a cattle pasture, a horse and cattle market, burial ground, magazine (storage) for ammunition powder, a drill and parade ground for the American military during the War of 1812.

In recent years, the square was pretty much a no man’s land. Although located adjacent to the city’s historic district, it was neither maintained nor renovated unlike much of Independence National Park.

Thankfully in 2006, a revamped and revitalized park opened to the public on July 31, after three years of work by “Once Upon a Nation” a division of Historic Philadelphia.

Last Thursday I attended:
“An Evening in Franklin Square”

The evening began at 5:30pm with cocktails by the fountain and a silent auction (I was at the 2nd Annual Utley All-Star Animals during that time), but made it over to the park by 8pm, where guests were enjoying a buffet dinner, along with a live auction, entertainment, and dancing.

I really love attending these types of events, as I love spending time with the ambassadors of the City and dream one day of being a part of their ranks. Many of the following folks are the people that tend to the tourist of our City, they create tourism.

Andi Coyle ( a story contributor to the book Patriots, Pirates, Heros & Spies book. I covered the launch last year.), Joyce Levitt, Jeff Guaracino (Who is thinking about writing his next book) and Laura Burkhardt, the Publisher of Where Magazine.
Amy Needle heads Once Upon a Nation, which includes the Franklin Square attraction and the storytelling benches throughout the historic district. Last year she was promoted to president and CEO of Historic Philadelphia Inc., parent organization for both Once Upon a Nation and the Betsy Ross House; with her is Cari Feiler Bender, a spokeswoman for Historic Philadelphia Inc. (nice summer colors)
Andrew Davidson and KYW Newsradio 1060’s Hadas Kuznits (Who I read in Dan Gross’ column yesterday, will judge the Golden Slipper’s Hava NaGrilla Kosher BBQ contest at Willow Grove Day Camp on Sunday. The event to promote Jewish culture raises money for Golden Slipper, which helps pay to send underprivileged children to summer camp.)

AJ, Margaret Hughes, Deputy City Representative and Melanie Johnson, Executive Director of Philadelphia City Representative office.

Amy Malissa and Josh Hersz
Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, now I really know,
My my, I could never let you go.
(Two guests belting it out along with the band)
Mrs. Richard Deats, Wayne Spilove, Board Chair, HPI and Richard Deats, Vice President, Phillies Enterprises
The brand new Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel is one of the highlights of Franklin Square. A ride on the Philadelphia Park Liberty Carousel costs $3 for adults, $2 for children (3-12)and is free for children under 2.
Albert Lee, head concierge, Independence Visitor Center, this kid is going to be Mayor someday if not the City’s head concierge. Here he is on the left back in 1986, when he was 7yrs old. He’s got a fun blog too
For years this gigantic sand sculpture was erected at the Shops of Liberty One. Now it’s found a more appropriate home here at the park. It usually has a patriotic or sports theme. This year it’s all about the Phillies. (Although from this angle it looks like Huckleberry hound, I believe that’s the Phillies Phanatic. I’d have to go back and verify that.)
Philly Mini Golf is one of the big highlights of Franklin Square. Children and adults can enjoy this uniquely-designed 18-hole Philadelphia-themed course where you putt through favorite local icons including Elfreth’s Alley, Benjamin Franklin Bridge, Philadelphia Museum of Art with the Rocky Steps (Which the golf attendants tell me they often have to chase people off of as they want their photograph taken on the “Rocky Steps”), The Sound of Philadelphia music, LOVE statue, Chinatown Friendship Gate, and on the 18th hole, putt through the crack in the Liberty Bell (People are constantly hitting it with the clubs to see if it rings, it’s plaster it doesn’t ring) and land in front of Independence Hall.
FEES: $8 for adults, $6 for children (3-12), and free for children under 2

There’s something wrong with the 9th hole, do you know what it is?

I was so excited to see the Club House’s gift shop with all it’s fun possibilities. You can pick up safe horse shoes, kick balls, bubble machines, wiffle bats and flying disc (you can’t say Frisbee the attendant tells me as that is a trademark brand) There were a lot of fun games to purchase even Chinese Checkers. So bring the kids leave the games and home and pick up some new ones. There are also plenty of picnic tables and areas to play.Two age-appropriate playgrounds have added for the benefit of residents, area day care centers, and visitors to the Square. One playground is for kids ages 2 – 5, with sea saws, sliding board, swings and a playhouse.
The second playground, is designed for ages 5-12, has a play set and swings.
BREAKING NEWS, well actually Michael Klein broke some of the news in his 4/1/09 column that Starr to open a burger shack in Franklin Square (building in the center)I was planning to go back during the day to get a shot of the Golf Rental Building as the Starr Food Stand will look very similar. The tipster told me to make sure my readers knew it’s not a restaurant but a food stand. No tables will be inside, but picnic tables will surround the area for your enjoyment. The breaking news is the Starr Burger Shack will be opening on July 4, 2009 at this spot; No name for the burger stand has been announced yet. You don’t have to wait until Independence Day to try a Burger, as there is a temporary burger cart set up there daily.Franklin Park is also a great place to hold children’s birthday parties: