The Scottish Memorial recognizes the contributions of Scottish immigrants to American society. It depicts a Scottish family having just arrived in Philadelphia after crossing the Atlantic.
The memorial is situated in a small park above the I-95 expressway, right next to the Irish Memorial. It is here, near a waterfront site known as Penn’s Landing, that many immigrants first set foot in the New World.
As early as in the thirteenth century, many Scots emigrated to northern Europe in search for a better life. Most ended up in Germany or Scandinavia. Later, in particular during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when many in Scotland suffered from famine and political unrest, emigration accelerated.
As a result of the Union of England and Scotland in 1707 the Scots had become part of the British Empire, which made it easier to emigrate to the British colonies across the Atlantic. Many of those in search for a new life departed for Philadelphia, at the time one of the largest cities in North America. Today there are millions of people on the continent claiming full Scottish descent.
On arrival, many of these immigrants received help from members of the St. Andrew’s Society, an organization of Scottish immigrants that was founded in 1747 with a goal of assisting newly arrived or less fortunate immigrants. The Society, which exists to this day, decided to erect a memorial to pay tribute to Scottish immigrants. They asked Terry Jones, an accomplished sculptor and member of the Society, to design an appropriate monument.
The monument, which was dedicated on October 8, 2011, depicts a Scottish family of four who have just come ashore. They are led by a man, who, still in the traditional garb of his homeland, resolutely guides his family towards their new life. A deerhound walks by his side and his wife and children follow right behind him. The son is already dressed in the attire of his new country.
The bronze statue group rest on a large, eighteen ton granite base. On the sides of the base are two plaques with bas-reliefs that recall events related to the St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia. One of them depicts a scene from July 4, 1776, when five members of the Society signed the declaration of Independence at Independence Hall. The other relief plaque shows the Scottish family walking past the Tun Tavern.
Nearby the monument, a stone with a commemorative plaque marks the site where the tavern once stood. The tavern was quite famous in its day. This was not only the site of the founding of the St. Andrew’s Society but it is also considered the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, which held its first recruitment drive here in 1775, during the American Revolution.