Arch Street Friends Meeting House

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Arch Street Friends Meeting House

Arch Street Friends Meeting House, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is a Friends Meeting House of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). It is the oldest meetinghouse of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) still in use in the United States and the largest in the world.

Pennsylvania founder and Quaker William Penn donated the land to the Society in 1693 as a burial ground for members. The meetinghouse was built between 1803 and 1805 atop the graveyard and then enlarged in 1811, when the west wing was added to accommodate the Women's Monthly Meeting. The original east wing now houses exhibits on the life of Penn, and the west wing is used for meetings of the congregation.

Notable members of the congregation have included abolitionist Lucretia Mott.Edward Hicks, the noted painter and cousin of Elias Hicks, attended the yearly meeting.

The meeting house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1971 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 2011.

Notable interments

The meetinghouse grounds were first used as a burial ground in 1701. Notable interments include:

  • Charles Brockden Brown (1771–1810), the first American novelist (Wieland)
  • Samuel Carpenter (1649–1714) and most of his family and his brother Abraham Carpenter (a non-member who married a Quaker) were buried in the Friends Burial Ground. Samuel was a Deputy Governor under William Penn and the "First Treasurer" of Pennsylvania.
  • Lydia Darrah (1728–1789), Revolutionary War spy
  • James Logan (1674–1751), secretary to William Penn
  • Samuel Nicholas (1744–1790), founder and first commandant of the United States Marine Corps On November 10 of each year, his grave is marked with a wreath at dawn by a group of Marines.
  • Robert Waln (1765–1836), U.S. Congressman
  • Dr. Thomas Wynne (1627–1691) personal physician of William Penn and one of the original settlers of Philadelphia in the Province of Pennsylvania. Born in Wales, where his family dated back fifteen generations, he accompanied Penn on his original journey to America on the ship Welcome.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference and added a digital reference
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