The architect who drafted the Parkway plan in 1897 envisioned a grand boulevard like the Champs-Elysses in Paris and those of the 1893 Chicago's World Fair in Chicago. Here, a constellation of art schools and museums would become the city's cultural center.
The vision grew as community leaders lent their support. Institutions agreed to relocate along the Parkway and private collectors pledged to move their collections into new museums here.
Despite the enthusiasm, progress was slow. Funding dried up during World War I, forcing plans to be scaled back. The Great Depression caused more delays.
But building by building, the Parkway took shape. The Free Library opened in 1927, quickly followed by the Philadelphia Museum Art and the Rodin Museum, and then later, by the Franklin Institute.
Set amid fountains, statues and monuments, the buildings stand today as a tribute to the day's vision and perseverence.
Architect Paul Cret
Born in France and educated at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, Paul Cres came to Philadelphia in 1903.
As one of the creators of the 1907 plan, he shared the vision of making the Parkway a cultural center lined with museums. He went on to design the Rodin Museum and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.