Positively Philadelphia: Our City of Little-Known Monuments

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(The statue of Don Quixote, at 2nd and Girard.  Photo from Historical Society of Pa.)

(The statue of Don Quixote, at 2nd and Girard. Photo from Historical Society of Pa.)

lipton_lauren DL Lauren Lipton
Lauren Lipton, a fixture in Philadelphia journalism, is “at the...
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By Lauren Lipton

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You probably pass by works of art honoring famous people every day in this area, and many of them you know:  William Penn, atop City Hall; Frank Rizzo, waving from across the street; and even that fictional prizefighter, Rocky Balboa.

But there are others…

“Don Quixote de La Mancha, delivered in 1996, installed in 1997,” notes Allan Heller, author of Monuments and Memorials of Philadelphia.  “Erected as a symbol of hope for the area — it was in an empowerment zone.”

heller book DL

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That statue (top photo) stands at Second Street and Girard Avenue.

“It shows the title figure astride his horse, Rocinante, clutching a lance in his right hand, and he has a buckler in his left,” Heller says.  You really can’t miss it.  “Joaquin Garcia Donaire did the original in Ciudad Real, Spain.  It was a gift from Ciudad Real to Philadelphia.”

There’s another statue you might pass all the time but never looked at carefully enough…

“The Washington monument, near the art museum; a lot of people don’t know that the equestrian situated at the top is George Washington, and it’s a shame that it’s so tall that it’s out of reach of most viewers,” Heller says.

(The Washington monument, in the center of Eakins Oval.  File photo)

(The Washington monument, in the center of Eakins Oval. File photo)

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Why did Heller write the book?

“I was inspired to write this book after finishing a similar one about Washington, DC.  I thought, ‘Why not something closer to home?’  And Philadelphia certainly has a lot to offer in the way of monuments.”

And, for this week, that’s “Positively Philadelphia!”

“Positively Philadelphia” main page

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