The Union League, which occupies an entire city block in the center of Philadelphia’s commercial and cultural district, is a shining jewel of history in a city defined by such treasure. Founded in 1862 as a patriotic society to support the policies of President Abraham Lincoln, The Union League has hosted U.S. presidents, heads of state, industrialists, entertainers and visiting dignitaries from around the globe. It has also given loyal support to the American military in each conflict since the Civil War, and continues to be driven by its founding motto, “Love of Country Leads.” Early efforts and influence of the Union League of Philadelphia laid the philosophical foundation of other Union Leagues across the nation.
The classic French Renaissance-styled League House, with its brick and brownstone façade and dramatic twin circular staircases leading to the main entrance, is listed in the National Historic Register, and dates back to 1865, when the Broad Street building was completed. With approximately one-quarter million square feet of space, the building is spread out over eight floors and has entrances on all sides: north, south, east, and west. Inside, the traditional décor is accented in rich leather, patinated wood polished marble. Adorning the walls and hallways is the League’s distinguished art collection, artifacts imbued with the heritage and culture of its membership. The collection is a rich, historical chronicle of Philadelphia’s unique imprint upon the American landscape from the nineteenth century to today.