Press release

First of Four Monumental Portal Gates Installed at City Hall

Based on Original 1869 Design, the Center Courtyard Gate Has Been Installed on  the West Portal that Opens onto Dilworth Park and Replaces Chain-Link Fencing

Linda K. Harris

Mark McDonald

First of Four Monumental Portal Gates Installed at City Hall  

PHILADELPHIA (September 9, 2015) – Mayor Michael A. Nutter and the Center City District are proud to unveil the first of four pairs of gates 146 years after City Hall’s architect, John McArthur, Jr. designed these ornate, decorative gates for the north, south, east and west entrances to the building’s central courtyard.  

Vitetta Architects, preservation architects for the restoration of City Hall, developed construction documents from McArthur’s original conceptual drawings, creating gates that are more than 25 feet tall and weighing approximately 3,200 pounds, even though they use lighter weight stainless steel frames and aluminum castings. These documents were put out for competitive bid and Robinson Iron Corporation was selected to fabricate the gates in partnership with the structural engineering firm Keast & Hood of Philadelphia.  

The Philadelphia Art Commission and the Philadelphia Historical Commission first approved the gate plans in 2001 and re-approved the plans again in April 2015 when funding became available from the Nutter Administration.

The Center City District is managing the project on behalf of the City of Philadelphia, which contributed $1.5 million to the project, while the CCD was able to raise the remaining funds through a generous grant from the William B. Dietrich Foundation.  

The new monumental gates provide essential, night-time security for City Hall in a manner and style more appropriate for a National Historical Landmark than the current generic chain-link fencing. The City will maintain the gates.

“The City of Philadelphia is proud to have accomplished the completion of City Hall’s original design with these monumental gates worthy of the magnificent architecture of our internationally acclaimed seat of government and the largest municipal building in North America,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.

The three remaining gates will be installed before Thanksgiving.

“The Center City District, as part of its 25-year effort to make Center City, clean, safe and attractive, is pleased to have worked in collaboration with the City of Philadelphia to complete this project and is grateful to the generous donors who helped make it possible,” said Paul R. Levy, President and CEO of the CCD. “We hope visitors, workers, residents and students will enjoy this most recent improvement to City Hall that joins the new Dilworth Park in restoring William Penn’s Center Square to its original purpose as an inspiring gathering place for all of Philadelphia.”  


The Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook and Twitter.