T. Henry Smith, American, active 1843 - c. 1903
This painting shows a view of the Schuylkill River. The nineteenth-century buildings (still standing today) at the river's edge on the opposite shore housed the mechanical equipment that pumped water from the Schuylkill River to reservoir pools for the city's water supply on the hill above. When the city announced that it would discontinue this practice, the reservoir pools became obsolete, rendering the site available for development. City planners believed a grand building on top of the hill would make a fitting visual conclusion to a proposed boulevard linking center city Philadelphia with Fairmount Park. The hill of Fairmount became the site of the present day Philadelphia Museum of Art.