Page Title: My Philadelphia
I've made quite a hobby out of going to Philadelphia so I
thought I'd start posting things I find around town.
Scenes from July 4th, 2010. Here's how it's supposed to
work in The United States of America.
Stand on federal property in the shadow of where they created The
Constitution. Protest against The President and the park ranger
leaves you alone
Gather on a street corner with a loud speaker and protest
the government. The Police and Old Glory guarantee your liberty.
I've spent time in countries where they would haul you in and slap you
around for this. Thank you first amendment!
tell you what WAS on folks minds on July 4th, 1776:
Fred Fintsone and Barney Rubble!
That's right folks, Flintstones!
Journals of the Continental Congress
THURSDAY, JULY 4, 1776
"Resolved, That the Board of War be empowered to employ
such a number of persons.... in their
respective states, where the best flint stones are to be
obtained, with samples of the same
Resolved, That Mr. [Henry] Wisner be empowered to send a man, at the public
expence, to Orange county, for a sample of flint stone.
Resolved, That an application be made to the committee of safety of Pensylvania
for a supply of flints for the troops at New York: and that the colony of
Maryland and Delaware be requested to embody their militia for the flying camp,
with all expedition, and to march them, without delay, to the city of
That the Secret Committee be instructed to order the flints belonging to the
continent, and now at Rhode Island, to be sent to the general at New York."
Imagine. With all congress had going on they still had
time to be concerned about the Flintstones. It just goes to show you that
there is plenty of mundane work that goes into running a revolution. By
the way, Mr. Henry Wisner referenced above, who would be on the trail of
the Flintstones, is from Orange County, NY. He is a home town boy from
Goshen, NY in our neck of the woods. That would be a great research paper
to look at the guys who were in congress on July 4th, took part in the
work that brought us independence, even supported independence and yet
missed out on being part of one of the most exclusive clubs in all of
human history: the 56 men who are immortalized as The Signers of the
Declaration of Independence. Mr. Wisner was apparently not in
Congress on August 2nd when the formal signing of The Declaration was
I've been visiting Independence National Historical Park, the most
historic square mile in America, since 2000 so
I will pass on suggestions for visitors.
IF YOU SEE THIS SIGN,
People show up at Independence Hall after traveling
thousands of miles to see it. They see this sign posted outside and they
turn away and leave disappointed.
They don't notice the smaller print that says no tickets
are needed to visit Congress Hall, Old City Hall, The American
Philosophical Society (open most of the year) The West Wing and
the grounds of Independence Hall. These all require NO tickets and are open for visitation.
Here is the distinction. The only way to get inside the
assembly room of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence
was adopted and signed, and where The Constitution was written and signed
is on a ranger guided tour. That tour is the highlight of your visit.
Prepare for it! You need tickets for that tour. The tickets are given out
free, first come, first served, at the visitors center starting at 8:30
When they run out of tickets they put out this sign.
TICKETS ARE NOT GIVEN OUT AT INDEPENDENCE HALL.
They give them out at the Visitors Center at 6th and Market St.
During busy times, they can run out by noon. They can
only take about 70 people per tour and there are only so many tours each
day. You can also book them in advance by phone or on line.
Call the reservation system 877-444-6777
RESERVED TICKETS ARE NOT PICKED UP AT INDEPENDENCE HALL!! Before
your tour you must still pick up your tickets at the Visitors Center.
Advisory about tickets: Only a certain percentage
of tickets are available on line or by phone. They always save some for to
be given out each day over the counter. Even if the reservation system
tells you there are no more tickets, there will be some given out at 8:30
each day when the visitors center ranger desk opens
However.............This sign does NOT mean you can't enter Independence
Square and the other buildings there. Ask if there is an express tour that evening.
Some times of year they take in groups of people without tickets beginning
at 5PM. Be sure
to ask a ranger and not the security guards who may or may not know.
is worse. Hundreds of people each day see it after traveling here for a
once in a lifetime visit. They turn around and leave without knowing they
can just go through security, no ticket needed, and visit Congress Hall
where George Washington and John Adams were inaugurated.........
ALSO, without tickets you can visit the West Wing, the
smaller building to the left. There is an important collection of original
documents in there including a Dunlap copy of The Declaration and
Washington's personal proof copy of The Constitution.
ALERT! The West
Wing will be closing at some point in 2017 due to rennovations
|.....even if the Independence
Hall tours are all
booked up, DON'T GO AWAY DISAPPOINTED. Congress Hall is the arguably the
fourth most important building in American History behind Independence
Hall, The White House and our current Capitol. It served as our capitol
from 1790-1800 before Congress moved to DC. After the short stay in NY
City, It is where Congress really got going under the new Federal
Constitution. Congress had a country to create. The Constitution was only
the rule book.
You will visit the Senate chamber
where Washington was sworn in for his second term. You will visit the
House where the first transfer of power took place when John Adams was
sworn in. It is where Congress began to actually create a government
around the frame of the Constitution. Eleven signers of The Declaration
served here in Congress as did four future presidents: Madision, Monroe,
Jackson and W.H. Harrision.
Ranger guided tours are given here about every 20
minutes and YOU DO NOT NEED TICKETS!!
SO, just walk past the sign and go through the
security check. You do not need a ticket to go through security. You can
then enjoy the grounds, Congress Hall and , for most of the year, even the museum
of the American Philosophical Society.
FINAL OPPORTUNITY: Some times of the year, during the
busier season, they have an open house type express tour from 5-6PM. You
never need a ticket for that tour. If the sign is out saying that there
are no tickets, find a ranger or ask the visitors center if there is an
express tour that evening.
visitor tip. You're in luck if you can catch a park ranger guided walking tour or
presentation. The first thing you
should do when you get there is go to the visitors center. Ask the rangers
for a copy of "The Gazette." Check the
schedule to find out if there are any ranger events that day. Look what I
found out by being on a walking tour. Thanks Ranger Tom.
||That's the Penns Landing
subway station at 2nd and Market street. But that's not all. Allow your
mind to time travel back to 1731. Christ Church you see in the background
was there. So was Benjamin Franklin's first printing shop. It occupied the
corner where you see the subway station. You are
looking across Market St at his print shop.
here on the corner and imagine him coming out of his shop and maybe
delivering a print job to Christ Church you see there up the street. I'll give you one better. If you
were standing on this corner one morning in 1723 you would see 17 year old
run away Ben Franklin walking from right to left through this picture.
He tells us in his autobiography that he arrived by boat and walked down
Market St to 4th St. He had but a few coins in his pocket, was bedraggled,
wet, and hungry. More later on the famous "puffy rolls".
||Here you are standing at his
print shop looking down Market St in the direction he went.
you can see the plaque marking the print shop. Click on the thumbnail to
enlarge it. People of Franklin's youth would have still remembered a time
when books and printing presses were licensed by the government.
For over 200 years printing had been regulated "to protect
the state against nonconforming religious and political opinions.."1 A 1586
law named only three towns in England where printing could take place. Two
bishops were to decide the number of presses allowed. All books were
licensed. Even more restrictive licensing acts were passed. Casting type
required permission from the Stationer's Company, a guild created by royal
charter to prevent Protestant writings. It was given a printing
monopoly, wide search powers to police the law and burn prohibited books.
There were restrictions on imported books. Gradual opposition caused the
last licensing act to expire in 1695.
Ben Franklin's contributions are legend. His inventions,
experiments, business skill, self made wealth, writings, public service,
leadership and diplomacy made him world famous in his own time. His
contributions to the development and preservation of liberty are at the
core of our American experience.
After all these professions and accomplishments, at the
end of a long life he described himself in his will simply as "Benjamin
Franklin, of Philadelphia, printer,"
1 Sources of Our Liberties; Edited by Richard Perry,
American Bar Foundation 1952. page 242
In grade school you probably learned the story of how the Liberty
Bell cracked. There was a little kid standing outside the Pennsylvania State
House, now called Independence Hall, waiting for news that the Declaration of
Independence had been adopted. When it was, he called up to his grandfather in the steeple tower and yelled, "Ring grandfather, ring for liberty." Grandpa
did and the Liberty Bell cracked!
The trouble is, like so much what we get taught about history, it
is not true! In fact, visit the Liberty Bell and Independence hall. You will
learn that there is strong reason to believe that no one would have dared
ring the State House bell (our Liberty Bell) on July 4th or on any other day.
The bell tower was in very bad condition. It was slated to be demolished and
replaced. Due to its dangerous condition, swinging a 2,000 pound bell would
probably have been a bad idea. Also, independence had been declared on JULY 2nd! That's
right. The Continental Congress declared its independence from Great Britain on
July 2nd, not July 4th. It is unlikely that any city wide bell ringing
celebration took place on either of those days. July 8th did see a large
celebration when The Declaration was publicly read to a large crowd in the yard
of Independence Hall.
Never the less, look what I found in the
Old Pine Street Presbyterian Church Cemetery
Here you go, written in stone. Someone believed enough that bells rang
out on July 4th to create a monument to it. Is this an example of myth getting repeated enough that it
becomes history? Is the bell Mr. Hurry is said to have rung the bell in the Old
Pine Street Church, or the Liberty Bell in Independence Hall? I don't know, but
if I can ever look into the matter I will post the answer here.
Birthplace of the United States Marine Corps
Sahara Grill My favorite place. Cozy, Middle Eastern, low price, great
food, good portions, friendly service. Bring your own wine or beer or they
have cheap soda. 1334 Walnut St,(Between 13th and Broad) Philadelphia,
19104; 215-985-4155; Just 8 blocks from Independence Hall.
Walnut St. has loads of restaurants. Start at Washington
Square park and head west you will find loads of places. There is a Five
Guys Burger place down there too.
City Tavern: An
authentic historical tavern (reconstruction) but going in there does feel
like time travel. Historical menu, wait staff in period dress, and great
micro brews using Washington's and Jefferson's brew recipes. This is fine
dining but moderately priced for what it is. For the experience it is a
good value. 138
South 2nd Street at Walnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106. About a ten minute
walk from Independence Hall.