Philadelphia Merchant’s Exchange
143 S. 3rd St.
HOURS: Mon.–Fri. 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
The Philadelphia Merchant’s Exchange was essentially the first stock exchange building in the country, offering merchants a fabulous place to barter or sell their wares, which was previously done on the streets and in coffee shops and taverns. It is now headquarters for the National Park Service, and while the building is an architectural gem, there isn’t much to see inside except for a small exhibition on the building’s history.
William Strickland, also responsible for the steeple atop Independence Hall and the Second Bank of the United States, designed the Greek-influenced structure built 1832–1834. The tower is based on the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates in Athens, and the resplendent Exchange Room (now closed to the public) was graced with a domed ceiling, mosaic floor, and marble columns.
At the Exchange’s dedication speech in 1832, solicitor John Kane aptly predicted: “The building which we have founded shall stand among the relics of antiquities, another memorial to posterity of the skill of its architect—and proof of the liberal spirit, and cultivated taste, which, in our days, distinguish the mercantile community.”
© Karrie Gavin from Moon Philadelphia, 1st Edition