Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Geography

By | July 22, 2022

According to Citypopulationreview, Philadelphia is the third largest city in the United States by number of inhabitants, the main city of the state of Pennsylvania, capital of the county of the same name, arose at the confluence of the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, at 39 °, 57 ‘N. and 75 °, 9 ′ W.: 162 km away. from the Atlantic Ocean and is located 49 km. downstream from Trenton (New Jersey), where commercial navigation on the Delaware River begins. The city is surrounded, at a short distance, by numerous very important centers, including Camden (New Jersey), which is located on the left bank of the river, facing the metropolis (118,700 residents); Chester (Pennsylvania), on the western shore, south of Philadelphia (59,164 residents), 20 km. away, etc.

The geographical conditions of the territory are excellent, where the metropolis was born and developed, benefiting from the presence of two important waterways, the Delaware, which flows down from the northern regions, and the Schuylkill, which comes from the north-west, from Blue Mountain, through a rich coal region; the vast foothill area, which extends from the Delaware River to the mountainous area (Kittatinny Range), is fertile, once rich in woods, dotted with numerous centers.

As for the temperature, the climate of Philadelphia brings us back to an almost continental type of transition, with rather cold winters (average 1 °, 1; January has an average of 0 °), hot summers (average 23 °, 3; July has average temperatures of 24 °, 4); and therefore a remarkable excursion (over 23 °). The imbalances between absolute maximums and minimums are very strong, as it rises from −21 °, 1 in February to 39 °, 4 in July. Snow is abundant, mainly in the months from December to March, with the maximum in February (192.5 mm. On average). Rainfall is abundant, distributed throughout each month of the year, with a slight prevalence for the summer months. The two wettest months are July and August; the least rainy in April. Very frequent fogs, very dense, especially in late autumn.

During the coldest winters, ice is an obstacle to navigation, both in the Delaware Bay and on the river; ice usually appears in December between Chester and Philadelphia and is kept in motion by tidal currents. After March 1, the ice almost completely disappears. northwest winds prevail over Philadelphia in all seasons except summer, when southwest winds blow.

In the year 1743 Philadelphia counted 14,563 individuals; according to the 1930 census it had 1,950,960 inhabitants: it is therefore the third city of the confederation after New York and Chicago. The demographic increase of the city does not present those extraordinary changes, typical of other North American agglomerations, with the exception of the decade 1850-1860 in which the percentage increase was 366%, due, however, mostly to the annexation of the various districts, decreed by law of 1854.

The population of the center has risen from 28,522 individuals in 1790 (in which year it occupied the second place, coming after New York) to 41,220 in 1800, to 53,722 in 1810; to 63,802 in 1820; to 80,462 in 1830; to 93,665 in 1840; to 121,376 in 1850, to 565,529 in 1860; to 674,022 in 1870; to 847,170 in 1880; to 1,046,964 in 1890; in 1900 the population was 1,293,697 inhabitants; in 1910, of 1,549,008; in 1920 of 1,823,779; in 1930, as we have seen, of 1,950,960 individuals. The surface occupied by the city currently measures 336 sq km.

According to the 1930 census, the ethnic composition of the city was as follows: Whites 88.6%; 11.4% color element. Foreign-born whites made up 18.9% of the population. The white element born abroad in 1920 was 397,927 individuals; the most represented nationalities were the following: Russians 95,744; 64,590 Irish; Italians 63,723; Germans, 39,766; Poles 31,112; British 30,844, etc.

The metropolitan district of Philadelphia includes, of course, a much larger population. In the territory of 16 km. more than 2.3 million individuals lived in 1927; with a double radius there were 2.7 million; with a radius of 64 km. 3.5 million; with one of 128, 5.4 million. Part of Delaware County was annexed in 1927.

On April 18, 1682, William Penn ordered Thomas Holme to draw up the master plan for the future city. The center of this was established halfway between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers, precisely at the point where the two rivers are closest to each other: two avenues were built cutting each other at right angles, and at their intersection arose a small park: four free spaces were left at the four corners of this central section, which later gave rise to the current Rittenhouse Square, in southwest  of City Hall, Washington Square to the SE., Franklin Square to the northeast  and Logan Square at NO. All the rest of the city was intersected by a dense network of narrow streets cutting off at right angles. The present central portion of Philadelphia is therefore only the material implementation of its founder’s grandiose plan: in the center, the City Hall, which leads to the two main arteries, Market Street, with an east-west direction, which, starting from the Delaware River, proceeds westwards crossing the river. Schuylkill; and Broad Street, running north-south, divided by City Hall into two sections, one north and the other south.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Geography