My husband and I were recently watching Ancient Aliens and the episode was about mound builders and ancient mounds in the United States. It reminded me of something I read a while back.
The Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia has an alleged hidden history that few people hear about. In traditional history books, William Penn is credited for most things Fairmount. He is even arbitrarily credited with naming the area. Still, not everyone believes the story of William Penn naming the area Fairmount upon 'noticing a beautiful hill' to be the full namesake or origin story. Some say the area has a deeper, more occulted past.
In fact, it is possible that much of the area's pre-colonial history has either never been recorded or has simply been omitted and obscured from record.
Today, most people know the Fairmount Park section of Philadelphia for its famous art museum and the art museum's famous steps as seen in the movie Rocky. The steps of the art museum (in the modern day Fairmont Park section of Philadelphia) are the very steps that Rocky climbs up in his internationally famous training montage.
If you have ever watched the movie scene you will notice Rocky is sprinting up a strangely elongated and slightly awkwardly shaped flight of stairs. As far as public stairs go, they are unusually high and particularly steep looking if viewed from afar. The stairs starting up to the museum are followed by a landing.. then more stairs. If you've ever climbed the flight of steps yourself, you know it is a bit of a haul up to the museum entrance.
The shape and slope of the staircase are features that 'fuel' the theory of a hidden history. If you think about the layout of the steps, you might compare it to the steps at famous ancient pyramid sites like that at Teotihuacan, Mexico.
Furthermore, it is said by some that Fairmount, or the "fair mount" for which Fairmont in Philadelphia gets its name was originally called ‘the fire mount' which was an ancient sacred mound site. Proponents of this theory claim that the area only became named "Fairmount" after more recent European settlers corrupted the name of what the Lenni Lenape and early settlers originally called the "fire mount." The fire mount would have been a place either built to be or held sacred for energy or ceremonial activity. Of course, the fire mount would have likely been a place where 'elemental fire' was used for ceremony. Disclaimer: This is Not accepted fact, this is speculated.
One thing is for sure however, before Fairmount was Fairmount (all one word), there was a "Fair Mount" (a large standalone hill) after which it was named. On old maps the ‘fair or fire mount’ is illustrated plainly (see below). Note that while we see the hill illustrated on the 1600's Holme map, we have no indication of whether it was natural, manmade, natural and improved upon or otherwise.
An ancient sacred mound site existing below the Philadelphia Museum of Art may seem ludicrous to some Philadelphians and tourists. However, thousands, if not tens of thousands of similar sacred mound sites are factually known to have existed throughout the North American continent.
Some of these sites were rounded mounds, some were similar to the step pyramids many know from shows like Ancient Aliens and some were even unique forms like serpents and other shapes. Some still exist though many are visibly lost.
Why don't we see many of these mounds or sacred sites today? It has been common practice around the world to build elaborate churches or public sites on top of what was once natively sacred structure or ground. In traditional academia it is accepted that many sacred mound sites became obliterated by colonial and modern construction. In fact, Thomas Jefferson apparently built his house "Monticello" on a once sacred mound site. Some mound sites are also known to have been made unrecognizable by erosion.
As for what is hiding under the art museum and its steps in Fairmont, Philadelphia the truth may be hidden in the sands of time. That said, some aspects of the hill and its history make a pretty good case for a sacred mound site buried below.
Maybe you have walked up the museum steps and just get a feeling that something is a little different about the site or get a feeling and know it to be true. On the other hand, maybe you think it is all way too much of a stretch.
Could Philadelphia's Fairmount (or Fire Mount) have originally been a sacred mound site? Is the hill on which the famous Philadelphia art museum stands actually a sacred Native American site? Could the steps that Rocky climbed up be traditional steps within the mound similar in exact layout and structure to other sites like Teotihuacan in Mexico?
We know that the Swedish settlers that inhabited the area very well may have used a hill like the one the museum currently sits on as a sacred observatory. Could they have been following in the footsteps of the Lenni Lenape or people unknown who came before them in holding the site as ceremonial or sacred?
A convincing bit of evidence says "it is not out of the question."
Below are some fascinating screenshots which are mostly excerpts from an article on obscure Philadelphia history. I'll add references to where you can read more articles and decide for yourself.
Lorna Doone Blackmore