January 29, 2008
We all know Philadelphia as the seat of the founding fathers, rife with gorgeous architecture, statues and memorials to our fair city’s role in American history.
But did you know Philadelphia is home to the world’s only full-size statue of that great literary craftsman, Mr. Charles Dickens?
According to the Philadelphia branch of the Dickens Fellowship, Frank Elwell, an American sculptor, completed the piece in 1894 for the Chicago World’s Fair. The piece was sent to England at the completion of the fair as a “gift from the American people.” Unfortunately, there was a clause in Dickens’ will that expressly forbade the creation of any sculpture in his likeness. When he learned of the sculpture, Dickens’ son insisted it be returned to our shores, without ever being unpacked. It sat untouched in a warehouse for years before it was finally installed at the corner of 43rd and Chester.
The Friends of Clark Park recently co-hosted a Charles Dickens Birthday party in conjunction with The Dickens Fellowship and Crossroads Music. The good folks at Clark Park have a variety of wonderful events throughout the year. For more info, visit Friends of Clark Park’s website.
Friends of Clark Park
Dickens Fellowship, Philadelphia Chapter