The Bolt of Lightning Memorial in Philadelphia is a structure built in memory of Benjamin Franklin’s kite-flying experiment that led scientists to understand electricity better. The Bolt of Lightning Memorial weighs 60 tons and is supported by a four-legged panted steel structure at the base. The base also supports the image of the key that Benjamin Franklin attached to the kite. The lighting bolt is displayed on top of the key, by a 45-foot truss with multifaceted stainless steel plates cladding it.
The 101-foot structure, designed by Isamu Noguchi, marks the axis of Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Independence Mall and is located at Vine and 5th Street. The steel cables that support the structure symbolize the essential and eternal contact between the earth and the air according to Noguchi. The dramatic lighting was created by Paul Marantz and Jules Fisher. Noguchi had first proposed building this structure in 1933, but people considered his design as being too radical at the time.
At the Bolt of Lightning Memorial, you will see plaques within the park offering statistical information about the Noguchi kite and the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. When viewing the kite up close, you should be cautious because you will have to cross four lanes of traffic in order to get to the structure. When looking straight up at the sculpture, it is easy to envision it flying high in the sky and attracting the lighting bolt that forever transformed the understanding of electricity.
Bolt of Lightning Memorial address and hours
Bolt of Lightning Memorial
200 North 6th Street
You can visit the memorial at any time.
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