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Established in 1904 as the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, The Bellevue has a comfortable life these days as a famous combination of office space, a popular shopping destination and accommodation facilities. The gorgeous structure is home to some of the best dining destinations in the city, including Boutros, Bliss, The Palm Restaurant, Tavern on Broad and many more in its impressive food court. A haven for shoppers, The Bellevue includes upscale boutiques and stores such as Tiffany & Co., Polo Ralph Lauren, Nicole Miller and Williams-Sonoma, to name a few, while the top five floors, offering a splendid view of the Quaker City, are allotted to the Park Hyatt. Whether you're looking for a top brand or want to dine at an elegant restaurant or even if you're looking for a luxury hotel - The Bellevue is the answer to all your questions.
Established in 1816, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Bank was the first savings bank to do business in the United States. By the 20th Century, the PSFS had attracted the largest amount of depositors anywhere in the country. With such great success, the bank had begun to outgrow itself, thus needing a new space to call home. In the 1920's, the PSFS made a monumental move and commissioned the most modern skyscraper of its time. Completed in 1932, the 30-story skyscraper was constructed using the finest materials and innovations including granite and marble throughout the interior of the building and a limestone covered tower on the exterior. Now revered as the first American skyscraper, the PSFS is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the city. Although the bank eventually went under in the early 1990's, the building has maintained its historic place (including the famous PSFS sign atop the building) and is now the Loews Philadelphia Hotel.
In the 19th century, the Academy was the American equivalent of the best European art schools. A host of genres and mediums from the most prominent names in American art are constantly on display, with new pieces rotating their way into the collection. Some of America's best artists either taught or were students here, including Thomas Eakins and Mary Cassatt. The building itself is a work of art designed by Frank Furness, an influential 19th-century American architect.
Philadelphia Center for Architecture gives you a chance to learn about the city's magnificent architecture through guided tours. Throughout the tour, their learned guides will acquaint you with the architectural styles that were used in the construction of PA Academy of the Arts, Reading Terminal, City Hall, the Wanamaker building, the Union League Building and Comcast Center, with comparisons drawn from architecture in Chicago and New York. The tour also talks about the city's transportation and planning, and lets you enjoy a bird's-eye view of the historic city from certain platforms.
The Library Company of Philadelphia, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731, was the first circulating library in America. Today, it is an independent research library with more than a half a million books, graphics and other rare printed items from the 18th and 19th centuries. The Library Company is the only major early American library to survive intact and as such, it provides an interesting example of the book culture of early America. The library has an extensive collection of English and American novels, plays, poems and narratives.