Edmund Bacon

Urban Planner
Born May 2, 1910

Edmund Norwood Bacon was a noted American urban planner, architect, educator and author. During his tenure as the Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission from 1949 to 1970, his visions shaped today's Philadelphia, the city in which he was born, to the extent that he is sometimes described as "The Father of Modern Philadelphia."… Read More

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1910 Birth Born on May 2, 1910.


1928 18 Years Old Bacon was born in West Philadelphia, the son of Helen Atkinson (née Comly) and Ellis Williams Bacon. He grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and graduated from Swarthmore High School in 1928. … Read More


1936 26 Years Old During his time in Flint, Bacon witnessed the 1936-37 Flint Sit-Down Strike, and felt empathetic to the workers. … Read More
1939 29 Years Old The funding was turned down, and Bacon was effectively run out of Flint in 1939. … Read More


1947 37 Years Old In 1947, he joined the staff of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission under then-Executive Director Robert Mitchell (not the Canadian politician), and served as co-designer to the 1947 Better Philadelphia Exhibition in collaboration with Oscar Stonorov and Louis Kahn. Bacon was also an early member of the City Policy Committee, a grassroots movement of young Philadelphians, established by future civic leader Walter M. Phillips, that was instrumental in Philadelphia's political reform movement. Members of the Committee went on to become leaders in Philadelphia government after 1952, when the reform Democrat (and later U.S. Senator) Joseph Sill Clark was elected Mayor, Richardson Dilworth became District Attorney, and a new Home Rule Charter was instituted.
1949 39 Years Old In 1949, Bacon succeeded Mitchell as Executive Director of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. … Read More


1963 53 Years Old …  Other concepts conceived during Bacon's tenure, such as Schuylkill River Park, included in the 1963 Center City Plan, came into being many years later.
1964 54 Years Old His face graced the cover of TIME magazine in 1964, and in 1965, Life magazine devoted its cover story to his work. … Read More
1967 57 Years Old In 1967, he wrote Design of Cities, still considered an important architectural text.


1970 - 1983 2 More Events
1984 74 Years Old He vociferously but unsuccessfully opposed the development of skyscrapers in Center City Philadelphia taller than Philadelphia City Hall, which until 1984 set the informal height limit for downtown at the hat of the statue of William Penn. … Read More
1985 75 Years Old Bacon was present at the groundbreaking, which took place in May 1985.
2002 92 Years Old …  In 2002, at age 92, he skateboarded in LOVE Park, the plaza he founded and designed at Cornell in 1932, as a protest against the City's ban on the sport.
2003 93 Years Old In 2003 he appeared in the documentary My Architect about Louis Kahn, a Philadelphia architect. … Read More
2004 94 Years Old From 2004 until his death at the age of 95, Bacon helped found and served as an Honorary Director of a foundation that bears his name, The Ed Bacon Foundation, whose programs are now managed by the Edmund N. Bacon Memorial Committee at the Philadelphia Center for Architecture.
2005 96 Years Old Died on October 14, 2005.
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