Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Friday Liz, Johnny, Kent and I rented a car and drove to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.      This was one of the places that Liz wanted to visit on the trip and it was nice that Kent and I could see it with them.  We left early in the morning and found Market Street however it was in Camden, New Jersey wrong state.  Not as bad as it sounds we just had to take the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, a suspension bridge across the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia, PA to Camden, NJ.

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The first place we stopped was at Independence Hall and to see the Liberty Bell along with every other tourist in Philadelphia.   Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted.  The building was completed in 1753 as the colonial legislature.  In 1752 Thomas Stretch was selected to build the first clock for Independence Hall that resembled a tall grandfather clock.  The original clock was removed in 1830 and a replica was restored in 1973.  The statue in front of the Independence Hall is of George Washington.

Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the sixth most populous city in the United States.  In 1682 William Penn an English Quaker founded the city to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony.  Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787.  Philadelphia served as the temporary capital of the United States, 1790-1800 while the Federal city (Washington DC) was under construction in the District of Columbia.  Several other key events include the First and Second Continental Congress the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, and the Philadelphia Convention.  It has several nationally prominent sky scrapers.  Philadelphia is known for its arts, culture, and rich history and is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps.   Philadelphia has many first including the first library(1731), first hospital (1751) first capital (1777) and first stock exchange(1790).  It is the only world Heritage City in the united States.

Liberty bell is an iconic symbol of Americans Independence formerly placed in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State house (now renamed Independence hall).  The bell today is located in the Liberty Bell Center.  The bell was commissioned in 1752 by the Pennsylvania Provincial Assembly and was cast with the lettering “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof”.  The bell first cracked when rung after it’s arrival in Philadelphia and was twice recast by local workmen John Pass and John Stow whose last names appear on the bell.  In its early years the bell was used to summon lawmakers to legislative sessions and to alert citizens about public meetings and proclamations.

Philadelphia City Hall was built-in 1901 located at 1 Penn Square is the seat of the government for the city of Philadelphia.  City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States with over 700 rooms.  The building houses three branches of government Mayors office, City Council, and Court of Common Pease.  City hall is an amazing building to see but hard to photograph, so my pictures are not very good.

Cathedral Basilicas of Saints Peter and Paul largest Catholic Church and head church of the Roman catholic archdiocese of Philadelphia.  It was built-in 1846-1864 designed by Napoleon LeBrun with the dome added after 1850.  The cathedral was built with only very high clerestory windows to inhibit vandalism.  The builders would throw stones into the air to determine the height of where the windows would be placed.  The church is usually open for viewing except for today my bad luck.  The exterior was amazing the pictures don’t due the Cathedral justice.

Philadelphia museum of Art is an art museum originally chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia.  The Museum and School of Industrial art opened in 1877.  Its permanent collection began with objects from the Exhibition and gifts from the public exhibition ideas of good design and craftsmanship.  A new building was completed in 1928 with dolomite quarried in Minnesota.

The western pediment features polychrome sculptured by Jennewein.

The 72 stone steps before the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art have become know as the “Rocky Steps” as a result of their appearance in the film Rocky.  A bronze Rocky statue was briefly situated at the top of the steps for the filming of Rocky III.  This statue is now located at the bottom right of the steps and a popular photo opportunity for visitors.

Betsy Ross House is a landmark in Philadelphia purported to be the site where the seamstress and flag maker Betsy Ross lived when she sewed the first American Flag (1752-1836).   The claim that Ross once lived here and that she designed and sewed the first american flag sometimes called the Betsy Ross flag are considered false by most historians.  The front part of the building was built-in 1740 in the Pennsylvania colonial style with the stair hall and the rear section added 10-20 years later.  Had she lived here, Ross would have resided in the house from 1776, with her first husband until his death John Ross in 1779.

Pictures of art, parks, fountains we saw during our walking tour of Philadelphia  today.  There is Hard Rock Cafe and a picture of how quaint the streets look in this historic section with many small dinners.

Eastern State Penitentiary refined the revoultionary system of separate incarceration first pioneered at the Walnut Street Jail which emphasized principles of reform rather than punishment.  Designed by John Haviland opened on October 25,1829 and closed 1971.  Easten State is considered to be the first true penitentiary.  The original seven cell blocks spread like the spokes of a wheel, and had running water and central heat before the white house.  Its vaulted sky lit cells held many of American’s most notorious criminals including bank robber Slick Willie Sutton and Scarface Al Capon.   The prison stands today in ruin a haunting world of crumbling cell blocks and a surprising eerie beauty.

We had lunch at Sonny’s known for their famous Phila Steak sandwich.  The line was very long with very little seating.  I have found out the ones that look like they are dives have the best food.

We had a great day actually seeing where history took place.  It took us 1.5 hrs. to drive to Philadelphia and it took over 3.5 hrs to get back.  Welcome to holiday traffic.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Vicky Schaefer says:

    I love your photos and information. Feels like I’m taking a geography and history clsss. What an adventure for the two of you. Vicky

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