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"I have spent an hour, this morning, in the congregation of the dead.
I took a walk into the Potters Field, a burying ground..I never in my whole life was affected with so much melancholy." When the British occupied Philadelphia in 1777, they used the Walnut Street Jail, which then faced the Square, to hold prisoners of war. This story is told on the next stop along this virtual tour, at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Those that spent their last days fighting off the chill haze of Yellow Fever, wound up in shrouds underneath the now pacific park.
Copyright © 1999- by the Independence Hall Association, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, founded in 1942. The periphery of Washington Square consists of 20th-century multi-story apartment buildings, 19th-century townhouses, an Athenaeum with a Victorian bent (another stop along our "virtual" tour), and several businesses, some dating to the 18th century when Washington was President in the then capital city of Philadelphia, and the Square had not yet been named in his honor.Washington Square was one of Philadelphia's five original squares as laid out in 1682 by William Penn's surveyor, Thomas Holme.A tree-planting program began the next year and the Square to this day wears the fruit of a city plan in which over 60 varieties of trees were sown.A "really admirable city arboretum of rare trees," was how America's first landscape architect, Andrew Jackson Downing, described the Square.