Out & About with the Pumpkin: The Lion Got Hungry

Lion statue in Rittenhouse park.
Lion statue in Rittenhouse park.

One of our favorite Philadelphia colonials is David Rittenhouse. You see, Benjamin Franklin wasn’t the only smarty pants in Philly at that time. Rittenhouse was pretty clever in his own right, having accomplished quite a few awesome things including:

  • Worked on the boundary survey of Pennsylvania and Maryland
  • Granted an honorary master’s degree from Penn
  • Observed the transit of Venus
  • Was a professor of astronomy at Penn
  • Completed the survey of the Mason-Dixon line
  • Was president of the American Philosophical Society
  • Was the first director of the United States Mint
  • Was the founder of the Democratic-Republican Societies in Philadelphia

So, when you make that many contributions to a city, they name a park after you.

Located in the western part of Center City, Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful public green space. The park has a distinct French feel to it, probably due to the influence of Paul Philippe Cret, a French architect that worked on several projects around Philly during the early 20th Century including fixing up this space.

The Pumpkin and I really love walking through this park and do so quite often.

Unlike the Giant Inflatable Rat, this lion statue isn’t as likely to disappear and the Pumpkin took a rather dramatic approach to this photo. The statue, “Lion Crushing a Serpent” is by the French Romantic sculptor Antoine-Louis Barye and is supposed to represent the French Revolution of 1830; the power of good (the lion) conquering evil (the serpent).

There are multiple fountains and statuary throughout the square and large shady trees. And nearby is one of my favorite restaurants, Parc.

Another really neat place in Philly is Historic Rittenhouse Town, Rittenhouse’s family’s home and paper mill. This homestead from the early 18th Century is still largely intact and open for tours, which is better than Franklin’s home which is unfortunately a mere shell of its former glory.


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