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Welcome Park - William Penn

Posted on Tuesday, February 12, 2019

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Welcome Park Aerial View

Welcome Park

Celebrate the life of William Penn at this free open-air attraction. Walk along the large Marble Map of Penn’s original plan for the City of Philadelphia.  You can also see a model of the Slate Roof House which stood on the site of Welcome Park and was where William Penn and Hannah Callowhill Penn lived.  Step back in time and learn about the timeline of Penn's life and his many brave achievements. 

In 1982, Welcome Park was built by the Friends of Independence National Historical Park to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Pennsylvania by William Penn, and the park is named for William Penn's ship, the Welcome. There is a statue of William Penn in the middle of Welcome Park that is a miniature of the one atop City Hall, and it was designed by Alexander Milne Calder.

Below are some quotes from William Penn that are inscribed at Welcome Park:

"By Liberty of Conscience, we understand not only a mere Liberty of the Mind, but the exercise of ourselves in a visible way of worship."

"This day my country was confirmed to me by the name of Pennsylvania. My God will I believe, bless and make it the seed of a nation."

"Any government is free to the people under it where the laws rule, and the people are a party to those laws."

William Penn

William Penn learned many lessons in life. Living in 17th Century England taught Penn that open space offered breathing places for great cities and also slowed the spread of fire. He applied what he had learned to the creation of Philadelphia. He insisted on a site that was “navigable, high, dry, and healthy.” He wanted “uniform” streets with “houses built in a line.” He envisioned “gardens, orchards, or fields” around the houses. Penn wanted “a green country town which will never be burnt, and always be wholesome.” Penn’s City Plan, drawn up by surveyor Thomas Holme, included five public squares, the center one for “houses of publick affairs” and the others as green oases carefully placed throughout the developing city.

Welcome Park - William Penn Statue

Hannah Callowhill Penn

Born in 1671, Hannah married William Penn in 1696. They lived at Pennsbury Manor, and in the Slate Roof House from 1699-1701 here at the site of Welcome Park. During William Penn’s final illness from 1712-1718 and until Hannah’s death in 1726, Hannah was Pennsylvania’s acting Proprietor. She was the only woman to control a British proprietary colony for so long.

The Slate Roof House - Site of the Homes of William Penn and Hannah Callowhill Penn

William Penn's Life and Times

Surrounding Welcome Park are plaques commemorating William Penn's life and and timeline of accomplishments, including various quotes from Penn's writings and teachings.

Expelled from Oxford

“Of my persecution at Oxford, how the Lord sustained me in midst of the hellish darkness and debauchery; of my being banished the College. The bitter usage I underwent when I returned to my Father, whipping, beating, and turning out of doors in 1662.”

Welcome Park - William Penn Timeline

Becomes a Quaker

“Of the Lord’s dealing with me in France; and in the time of the great plague in London: the deep sense He gave me the vanity of this world; of the irreligiousness of the religions of it.  It was at this time, that the Lord visited me with a certain sound and testimony of His eternal word through one of those the world called a Quaker.”


“If you would know God and worship and serve Gold, you must come to the means.  He has given for that purpose. Some seek it in books, some in learned men; but what they look for is in themselves, though not of themselves; but they overlook it.”

Defender of the Friends

“Let the winds of imagination blow, the storms of persecution beat, and the sea of raging malice foam… we shall still confide ad rejoice in that everlasting Holy God Almighty! My prison shall be my grave before I will budge a jot, for I owe my conscience to no mortal man (From the Tower of London, 1668)

Welcome Park


“For my country, I eyed the Lord in obtaining it, and desire that I may not be unworthy of His love; but do that which may answer. His kind Providence, and serve. His truth and people; THAT AN EXAMPLE MAY BE SET UP TO THE NATIONS. THERE MAY BE ROOM THERE, THOUGH NOT HERE, FOR SUCH A HOLY EXPERIMENT.”


“Philadelphia is at last laid out to the great content of those here. The situation is a neck of land, and lied between wo navigable rivers, Delaware and Schuylkill, whereby it has two front upon the water, each a mile, and two from river to river.”

Friend of the Indians

“When the purchase was agreed, great promises passed between us of kindness and good neighborhood, and that the Indians and English must live in love, as long as the sun gave light.”


“The air is sweet and clear, the heavens serene, like the south part of France, rarely overcast. The people are a collection of diverse nations in Europe, as, French, Dutch, Germans, Swedes, Danes, Finns, Scotch, Irish ad English; and of the last equal to all the rest. But as they are of one kind, and in one place and under one allegiance, so they live like the people of one country.” (A Further Account of the Province, 1685)


“Let men be good, and the government can’t be bad; if it be ill, they will cure it; but if men be bad, let the government be never so good, they will endeavor to warp and spoil it to their turn.” (Frame of Government, 1682)


“Quaker Penn attends the King very close and preached at the Bath in the Tennis Court, but the report of his being made one of the King’s Privy Council is false, though the King consults him in all matters of moment.” The Duke of Portland, 1686

Fall from Favor

“I have been above these three years hunted, up and down, and counsel never be allowed to live quietly in city or country, even when there was hardly a pretense against me, so that I have not only been unprotected, but persecuted by the government.”

Man of Letters

“The sovereign princes would, for the love and peace and order, agree to meet in a general parliament, and there establish rules of justice to observe one to another; and thus to meet yearly, and to be styled the sovereign or imperial diet, parliament, or states of Europe.” (An Essay Toward the Present and Future Peace of Europe, 1693)

Quarrelling Colony

“Cannot more friendly and private courses be taken to set matters to rights in an infant province whose steps are numbered and watched; for the love if God, me and the poor country, be not so governmentish; so noisy and open, in your disaffections.”

Charter of Privileges

“I do hereby grant and declare that no person or persons if his of their in this province, or territories shall be, in any case, molested or prejudiced in his of their person or estate because of his or their conscientious persuasion or practice, nor be compelled to frequent or maintain any religious worship place or ministry contrary to his or their mind.” (Charter of Privileges, 1701)

Proprietor of Pennsylvania – New Liberties for a Troubled Colony

“Man of Sorrows” Memorial

“O Pennsylvania, what has thou not cost me! Above £30,000 more than I ever got from it; two hazardous and most fatiguing voyages, my straits and slavery here, and my son’s soul almost!” (Letter from William Penn to James Logan, 1704)

“And as his love was great ad endeavors constant for the happiness of friends, countrymen and fellow subjects, so was his tenderness, justice and love towards the Indians, from first to last, always conspicuous and remarkable.” (Testimony of Quakers in Pennsylvania Concerning their Deceased Friend and Governor, William Penn, 1719)

Seed of a Nation

In 1751, Pennsylvanians marked the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges by purchasing a new bell (now known as the Liberty Bell) for the Pennsylvania State House (now known as Independence Hall). The inscribed this bell with a Biblical line that commemorated Penn’s greatest legacy to the people of his “Holy Experiment,” a legacy that they would soon be called upon to defend for their descendants – “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land Unto All the Inhabitants Thereof.”

Additional Information

Welcome Park
Second and Samson Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106


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