The Lenape were the first human inhabitants of the Philadelphia region.
During the first decades of the seventeenth century, the harsh winds of change swept across the Lenape’s land bringing European explorers in search of commercial opportunities. In the nineteenth century, West Philadelphia transformed from a countryside of family farms and "gentlemen’s" estates to a set of residential communities. The building of bridges across the Schuylkill River further promoted development, including that of hospitals and other benevolent institutions. Later, with the Consolidation Act of 1854, William Penn’s 1200-acre city became a 122 square mile metropolis.