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Nice example of the Varle's striking plan of Philadelphia, published in 1802.

The scale is given at 75 Perches to 1 inch.

The city is shown from the Delaware River to the Schuylkil River with the environs on the north and south. 24 lettered references and 28 numbered references to important places and buildings are below the title and 24 wards are keyed in Roman numbers above the title. Many of the country houses and farms around the city are named, including Penn, Dr. Wistar, and other notable early residents.

Varle's plan is perhaps most notable for its idealized view of the future expansion of the city into West Philadelphia, with West Philadelphia streets following the city's grid pattern as well as its practice of city squares dedicated to public use. Varle's map called for three public spaces along High (now Market) Street - a Market Square, Washington Square, and an unnamed oval - and also located the country houses of the Penn, Bingham, Powel, and Hamilton families. West Philadelphia's development eventually followed the city's grid pattern, but it did not include Varle's proposed city squares.

Three inset views show City Hall, the State House, Court House, Library, and Bank of the United States. The tile is surrounded by a decorative cartouche.

Ristow mentions an undated edition that was possibly issued in the year Varle made the surveys, 1796, but more likely in 1802. Wheat and Brun list a c.1794 State I.

This edition differs from the earlier edition significantly, with a parital list of differences as follows:

  • State 2 adds a list of wards above the cartouche.
  • State 2 includes an area on the west side of the Schuylkill River with a street grid, named Westville, centered on West High Street, Washington Square and Market Square.
  • State 2 names the Navy Yard at the south end of town on the Delaware River.
  • State 2 locates the public landing at the end of Federal Road.
  • State 2 adds Green Street in Southwark.
  • State 2 adds the Waterworks and additonal details on Market Street and at the Public Square.
  • State 2 adds the street names to the numbered streets west of Broad Street.
  • State 2 adds the Water Works south of Middle Ferry on the Schuykill.
  • The names of a number of land owners have been added and changed. For example Robert Morris' home on the Schuykill is now Mr. Pratt and several landowners names are aded to the east of Upper Ferry.

Both editions of Varle's Plan of Philadelphia are quite rare, however this revised 1802 edition seems to be the rarest. We note no examples offered for sale or in dealer catalogs in either AMPR or Americana Exchange, whereas 2 examples of the 1796 edition have appeared at auction in recent years.

OCLC locates only the copy at the American Antiquarian Society and an example at the University of Amsterdam. We note also the David Rumsey copy. The Library of Congress also holds a copy.

Condition Description
Minor repairs at fold intersections