Penn in West Philadelphia

Penn campus

West Philadelphia is home to many greats, such as Wilt Chamberlain, Will Smith and the University of Pennsylvania. But while “The Big Dipper” and the Fresh Prince were West Philadelphia born and raised, Penn was founded in Center City before migrating westward in the late 19th century.

In this edition of By The Numbers, we go west with Penn.

279 Number of acres that make up Penn’s West Philadelphia campus.

9.962 Acres of land in West Philadelphia that University Trustees purchased from the city in January of 1870. Sold for $8,000 per acre at the time, the land now houses College Hall, Claudia Cohen Hall, Williams Hall, Houston Hall, Irvine Auditorium, the Fisher Fine Arts Library and Meyerson Hall.

$500 Amount, plus 50 free hospital beds for the poor, that Trustees paid the city in 1872 for the 6.892 acres that eventually became the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

$1 Amount that Trustees paid the city in 1888 for 0.903 acres on the northwest corner of 37th and Spruce streets. In 1892, the University transferred the site to the Wistar Institute.

24 Number of acres of green space that will be added to the University’s West Philadelphia campus with Penn Park, scheduled for completion in the summer of 2011.

113 Age of the James G. Kaskey Memorial Garden, also known as the BioPond, which opened as a research garden in 1897 after John M. MacFarlane, a Penn professor of botany, convinced the Biological Department to reclaim the waste ground surrounding the department.

Originally published on April 22, 2010