What do a broken bell, a place where freedom was born, and the home of the lady who made the first American flag have in common? Yes, of course, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania! As part of our state history course when we lived in the state of Pennsylvania we took a trip to the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, served as the capital of the United States while Washington, DC was being built, and nicknamed the city of Brotherly Love.
Driving in any city is challenging and so we parked and walked to all our destinations. We saw the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. It was thrilling to see the Liberty Bell up close. We also visited the U.S. Mint. As a souvenir I got the largest replica of a penny I have ever seen. It is the size of a coaster.
One of the highlights of the day was visiting Elfreth’s Alley and Betsy Ross’s house. Betsy Ross always fascinated me by her roll in making the first flag of the United States something that served to unite 13 states that didn’t have a whole lot in common at that point. My sister and her friend and I even wrote an amateur play describing what we thought might have happened when Betsy was asked to create the flag. We were all principal actors, although my brother refused to repeat his single line, “And I’m Benjamin Franklin!” It amazed me how tiny Elfreth’s Alley was–I don’t think I’ve ever seen a street that narrow before.
We also visited Christ’s Church. It still continues its function as an Episcopal parish today. Many of the signer’s of the Declaration of Independence worshipped there. There were many seats marked and I was able to sit in the seats where George Washington and Betsy Ross worshipped.
We were entertained when we ran into Benjamin Franklin. He was a prominent citizen of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was involved in many ways of improving the city including the first lending library, the one of the first volunteer fire fighting companies, and later in life was elected the first Postmaster General. The gentleman representing Benjamin Franklin that day quoted lots of the proverbs that Franklin wrote in his Poor Man’s Almanac. He also handed out postcards that we could put our addresses on and then hand to him and he would mail them to us as a nod to Franklin’s involvement in establishing the Post Office as we know it today.
Philadelphia was a wonderfully educational and enjoyable trip. We visited in September and since the city can get quite hot I would recommend visiting in the fall or spring. Comfortable shoes are a must so you can park and walk around! Although Philadelphia’s nickname is the City of Brotherly Love, the drivers of its motor vehicles are the opposite of loving when behind the wheel!