William Penn, the founder of Philadelphia, was a nonconformist from an early age. Born in England in 1644, he was kicked out of Oxford University for religious nonconformity. By the age of 23 he became a Quaker, and was eventually imprisoned in the Tower of London for a controversial book he wrote (Sandy Foundations Shaken). He continued to be a prolific writer on religious topics.
Through the efforts of his influential father, Penn was granted vast territorial rights to a parcel of land he would call Pennsylvania, meaning Penn's woods.
For the territory under his proprieitorship, Penn created a form of goverment considered very advanced and tolerant for its day. Penn's penal system was reformist, public education was available to all, and the city was designed for efficiency.
Penn's statue, (a miniature version of the statue of William Penn that crowns City Hall) is found in Welcome Park, which was created to honor Penn's landing in Philadelphia and mark the spot of his home. Laid out on the ground is the original city plan of Penn's Philadelphia. The park is located on Second Street, across from City Tavern.
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