Frontpiece, "The City & Port of Philadelphia, on the River Delaware from Kensington," Birch's Views of Philadelphia, 1799.
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An image of the Port along the banks of the Delaware.

Credit: Courtesy of The Free Library of Philadelphia

When William Birch decided in the 1790s to create a color-plate book to document the life of the principal city of the new nation, he created this engraving of Philadelphia from the Treaty Elm in Kensington, then a municipality north of the city, for the opening scene. The etching immortalizes the great elm tree at the legendary site where William Penn was believed to have signed the first treaty with the Lenape in 1682. In 1810, the original Penn Treaty elm was felled by storm.

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