Take Me To The River: Wm. Penn’s Wood St. Steps


Aside from the Caleb Pusey House, the demolished Slate House, the recreated Pennsbury Manor, there are few artifacts of the built environment that have associations to William Penn. One of the most pedestrian relics bearing the imprint of the Proprietor is the Wood Street Steps, located between Front and Water Streets, on the border between Old City and the Northern Liberties.

Penn knew how his utopian religious experiment was inextricably linked to the commercial health of the City and in the late 17th century decreed that a set of steps be built on every east-west street fronting the wharfs on the Delaware. While the Wood Street Steps are not original [the Historical Commission believes they may date from the 1730s to 1780s] these are the last remaining steps of their kind in Philadelphia.

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