When Second Bank President Nicholas Biddle held a design competition for a new building, he required all architects to use the Greek style; William Strickland, one of the foremost architects of the 19th century, won. Built in 1824, the bank, with its Doric columns, was based on the design of the Parthenon and helped establish the popularity of Greek Revival architecture in the United States. The interior hall, though, was Roman, with a dramatic barrel-vault ceiling. Housed here are portraits of prominent Colonial Americans by noted artists such as Charles Willson Peale, William Rush, and Gilbert Stuart. Don't miss Peale's portraits of Jefferson and Lewis and Clark: The former is the only one that shows the third president with red hair, and the latter is the only known portrait of the famous explorers. The permanent exhibition, "The People of Independence," has a life-size wooden statue of George Washington by William Rush; a mural of Philadelphia in the 1830s by John A. Woodside Jr.; and the only known likeness of William Floyd, a lesser-known signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Oct 20, 2008
Another historic building in this part of the city. Contains a very good portrait gallery. Hours are limited. Worth visiting.