Middleton St., Harrison Ave., Union Ave.
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Harmony Triangle’s name is a combination of the three street names surrounding it: Harrison Avenue, Middleton Street, and Union Avenue. Harrison Avenue is named for Benjamin Harrison (1726-91), and Middleton Street is named for Arthur Middleton (1742-87); both were political leaders during the American Revolution and signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Benjamin Harrison was born on a plantation in Virginia into a family already established in Virginia politics. His political career, which would last until the end of his life, began in 1764 as a member of the House of Burgesses, the legislative body in colonial Virginia. Harrison’s British dissent began with his support of the Virginia Resolves, who opposed the British Stamp Act in 1765. In 1774, his pro-colonist politics brought him an appointment as a delegate to the Continental Congress, where in 1776, Harrison was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.
In 1777, he resigned his seat in Congress to become a member of the Virginia legislature, and later presided as governor of Virginia from 1782-1785. In 1788, he was elected a member of the Virginia convention on the newly drafted Constitution of the United States, to which he proposed changes before ratification. Harrison, stricken with gout, died on April 24, 1791. Harrison’s third son, William Henry Harrison, would become the ninth president of the United States, and his great-grandson, Benjamin Harrison, would become the twenty-third president.
Arthur Middleton was born in South Carolina into an active political family. Middleton’s father, Henry Middleton, a powerful political leader, held many official colonial positions before resigning in protest against British trade policies in 1770. He later served as the president of the Continental Congress. The younger Middleton, Arthur, was educated in England at Hackney, Westminster, and Cambridge colleges. Following his return to South Carolina in 1763, Middleton joined the Continental Congress, taking his father’s vacated seat, and as a new member in 1776, signed the Declaration of Independence. In 1780, Middleton fought at Charleston and was captured by the British. After nearly a year of captivity, Middleton returned to Philadelphia to serve once more in the nation’s Congress.
This triangle came under the jurisdiction of Parks in the 1960s as a new City Charter designated all mid-street triangles as Parks property. A $324,000 reconstruction of Harmony Triangle in 1998, funded by City Council Member Victor L. Robles, helped to maintain this island. Harmony also means a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts, and describes well this triangle, its yardarm flagpole, its grass, and its trees.