Want to whisper sweet nothings into your lover’s ear discretely? Looking to discuss your plans to take over the world without anyone noticing? We’ve found the perfect hidden spot for you!
If you’ve been around West Fairmount Park you’ve probably noticed the giant arch commemorating Pennsylvania’s Civil War heroes across from Memorial Hall. This impressive Philly monument, known as the Smith Memorial Arch, is actually also home to one of the most discrete and inconspicuous spots in the whole of Philadelphia.
Built in the late 1890s, Smith Memorial Arch was commissioned to honor Pennsylvania’s Civil War military and naval heroes. The man behind it? Richard Smith, the namesake of the memorial. Smith, who had made his fortune in printers type, wasn’t a civil war hero. However, he did invest $500,000 to create the dazzling monument featuring a colossal statue of himself along with five other full statues and nine busts of “Great Pennsylvania Men.”
The impressive monument took fifteen years and twelve different artists to make, but perhaps its most interesting element is the stone bench located at the base of the arch. Known as the whispering bench, the curved stone structure has special properties that allow one person to whisper to another from each end of the bench no devices needed.
To try this out, all you need do is sit at one end of the bench and have the other person sit at the other end. Then, turn around towards the stone and start talking, the person at the other end will be able to hear you clearly without you having to shout at them — Just, you know, make sure that person is the one you want to whisper sweet nothings to, we wouldn’t want an awkward encounter now would we?
This phenomenon is known in physics as the “parabola effect” and allows sounds to travel without obstacles through the smooth curved surface. In fact, Philly’s whispering was modeled after another great engineering wonder of colossal proportions: The Whispering Wal at Barrosa Dam Reservoir in Australia. This 132-foot-long dam in Australia was also built in the late 1800s and allows people to talk to each other from each end of the dam without any megaphones or similar devices.
So, if you ever feel like discussing your plans of overtaking the world with your fellow partner in crime without anyone noticing or would like to whisper sweet nothings into your lover’s ear discretely, or just want to put this physics wonder to the test, you should totally check out Philly’s one and only whispering bench!
[Featured image: Shutterstock]