Special Architecture Walking Tour

This event is no longer on sale.

Saturday November 7

10:00 AM  –  12:00 PM


**Special Tour** Robert Smith’s Legacy: A Walking Tour of Buildings by the Most Important American Architect You’ve Never Heard Of


What do Christ Church, Franklin Court, Carpenters Hall, and the Powell House all have in common? If you said that they are all in Old City/ Society Hill, you'd be right. If you said they are all National Historic Landmarks, you'd be right. But if you said that each of these was designed and or built by Robert Smith, you would not only be right, you'd be exceptional. This tour will highlight the remarkable built legacy of Robert Smith (1722-1777), Architect, Builder and Patriot.


Smith arrived here in 1749.  He never sat for a portrait, never wrote a book, and not one of his drawings has survived. Yet, despite these strikes against long-lasting fame, Smith’s legacy was rediscovered by Charles E. Peterson. His thoroughly-researched biography uncovered hundreds of documents recording Smith’s career in Philadelphia and beyond. Peterson makes the case that  Robert Smith rightfully deserves the title of America's first architect.


The tour begins at Christ Church where Smith designed and built the 1752 steeple, the tallest structure in Philadelphia for 120 years. It will conclude at Carpenters Hall, with an opportunity to purchase Peterson’s biography of Smith. 


Attendees at the end of the tour are encouraged to visit Carpenters' Hall and their new temporary exhibit that opens on Nov 6th, Places for the People: WPA Travel Posters. Admission is free!


Meet at the grassy area of Christ Church Park at 2nd St. and Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19106 (map).


In registering to attend this walking tour, you agree to the following:

  • During the tour, all participants including the tour guide, will wear a face mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times.
  • Preservation Alliance walking tours utilize an audio system that transmits from a headset worn by the guide to earpieces worn by tour attendees. The equipment is thoroughly sanitized before and after each use. Tour attendees can also plug in their personal headsets or earbuds that use a standard headphone jack.
  • All participants, including the tour guide, must maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others.

Space is limited. Advance registration required.