Rittenhouse Square is one of the five original open-space parks planned by William Penn and his surveyor Thomas Holme during the late 17th century in central Philadelphia
. The park cuts off 19th Street at Walnut Street and also at a half block above Manning Street. Its boundaries are 18th Street to the East, Walnut St. to the north, Rittenhouse Square West (a north-south boundary street), and Rittenhouse Square South (an east-west boundary street), making the park approximately two short blocks on each side. Originally called Southwest Square, Rittenhouse Square was renamed in 1825 after David Rittenhouse, a descendant of the first paper-maker in Philadelphia, the German immigrant William Rittenhouse.
Today, the tree-filled park is surrounded by high rise residences, luxury apartments, an office tower, a few popular restaurants, a Barnes & Noble bookstore, a Barneys Co-Op, and two hotels, including a five-star. Its green grasses and dozens of benches are popular lunch-time destinations for residents and workers in Philadelphia's Center City neighborhood, while its lion and goat statues are popular gathering spots for small children and their parents. The park is a popular dog walking destination for area residents, as was shown in the fictional film In Her Shoes.
The beauty of the Park is due largely to the efforts of Friends of Rittenhouse Square, a public-private partnership with the Fairmount Park
Commission. Landscaping, lighting, restoration of fountains and fencing—even the installation and stocking of doggie-bag dispensers—are all projects of the Friends of Rittenhouse Square.
Arts And Culture:
The Rittenhouse neighborhood is also home to many cultural institutions, including the Curtis Institute of Music, , the Ethical Society, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the Rosenbach Museum & Library, and the Civil War and Underground Railroad Museum. The Square is home to many works of public art. Among them is a bas-relief bust of J. William White done by R. Tait McKenzie.