The Benjamin Franklin Parkway, opened in 1918, was one of the largest projects of urban redesign ever undertaken.
It was a product of the Reform Era in American politics, marked by improvements in public education and public health, and a crackdown on the excesses of big corporations.
These high ideals motivated many of the architects, patrons, civic leaders, and other citizens who pushed for the Parkway. But the job also required the support of those powerful politicians who had earned Philadelphia the title "corrupt and contented."
In fact, the mayors who got the most done worked inside the political "machine", making deals and handing out favors to friends.