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Penn Treaty Park is a small park on the western bank of the Delaware river, in the Philadelphiamarker neighborhood of Fishtownmarker. It is located at the intersection of Delaware (Columbus) Avenue and Beach street, just off Delaware avenue.

Overview

The southern part of the park consists of a walkway surrounding an open green favored by dog walkers and lunchtime picnickers. A stand of mature trees shades the northern part of the park. At the river's edge, the park provides an unimpeded view of the full span of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge that connects Philadelphia to the city of Camden, New Jerseymarker. Directly to the north is a power-generating station owned and operated by the Philadelphia Electric Company (PECO). Bordering the southern edge of the park there was a nightclub with part of its facilities built on a reclaimed pier that stretches out into the river, however this is gone and will soon become a condominium development. An iron and concrete fishing pier used to extend out into the river, but it was seriously damaged by an out-of-control barge, fenced off for a while and then eventually done away with.

Though now located in a post-industrial area surrounded by the remnants of heavy industry, the park has been an open space with public access to the river since its dedication on 28th of October, 1893.

History

In the year 1683, the land that is now the park was part of the Lenape village of Shackamaxon. Under a picturesque elm tree immortalized in a painting by Benjamin West, William Penn famously entered into a treaty of peace with a chief of the Lenape turtle clan named Tamanend (later referred to by the Dutch as Tammany or Saint Tammany).

Penn, unarmed in accord with Quaker custom and speaking the Algonquin language, proclaimed that, "We meet on the broad pathway of good faith and good-will; no advantage shall be taken on either side, but all shall be openness and love. We are the same as if one man’s body was to be divided into two parts; we are of one flesh and one blood." Tamanend replied, "We will live in love with William Penn and his children as long as the creeks and rivers run, and while the sun, moon, and stars endure."

This peace between the Lenape turtle clan and Penn's successors would endure almost a century, until 1782. It was remarked upon by Voltaire, who called it "... the only treaty never sworn to and never broken."

The famous elm tree under which the treaty was conducted fell during a storm in1810. Soon thereafter, a monument was erected on the site where the elm tree was located to commemorate the treaty. The small obelisk remained tucked away in the northwest corner of a lumber yard that sat on the site, until actions were taken in 1893 to acquire the land and build the park that we have today. The park officially opened on 28 October 1893.

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