Thursday, November 10, 2016

Part 6 Philadelphia


Part 6 Philadelphia
I spent a couple days in Philadelphia on this trip. I loved the wonderful historic character of the city. Our first capital put me in a proud patriotic mood. Felt very proud to be an American, and proud of my Pennsylvania heritage.

I'm not sure which ancestors actually had visited Philadelphia? All of my German ancestors, and my Forgey ancestors, Andrew Forgey and Margaret Reynolds, likely arrived in America at the port of Philadelphia. It's thought that Johann Roush may have lived in Philadelphia before migrating to the Shenandoah Valley. I did find a Johann Adam Rausch on Philadelphia substitute censuses up to 1764. Not sure he is my ancestor? It was thought he had migrated to Virginia by 1764? When Johann Adam Roush arrived in America he took the oath of allegiance in a Philadelphia Court House.

Carpenter's Hall built in 1774
Many of the buildings in the historical core are reconstructions, like Colonial Williamsburg. Independence Hall is largely a reconstruction. There are some walls, in Independence Hall, which are original. The first Continental Congress was held at Carpenter's hall which is one of the few remaining original buildings in the historical core of the city. This building was completed in 1774.

Within these Walls Henry, Hancock, & Adams inspired the Delegates of the Colonies With Verve and Sinew for the Toils of War
Inscription over south doorway of Assembly Room
Ancestors' marriage Christ Church
Christ Church is another of the original structures in Philadelphia. The church was built from 1727 to 1744. George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Benjamin Franklin attended church here. According to the Pennsylvania Archives records my ancestors Benjamin Browning and Mary Abbot married March 23, 1751 in Christ Church. So exciting to see that church. It's one of the most beautiful churches I've been too.

Christ Church

Ben Franklin's grave with pennies tossed on it for good luck.
Actually a penny saved is a penny earned so he would be against this.

The historic Betsy Ross house was wonderful to tour. It was so interesting seeing what the 17th Century townhouses looked like inside. Very cramped small staircase. Probably not comfortable for tall people. Betsy likely didn't live here, but probably lived in an adjacent house.



Elfreth's Alley, according to Wikipedia, is our nations oldest street dating back to 1702, with homes built from 1728 to 1836. This street would have been in existence when my ancestors arrived at the port of Philadelphia.


Below is picture of the foundations of the Slave quarters of the Presidents Home in Philadelphia. George Washington lived in the Presidential home from 1790 to 1797, and John Adams from 1797 to 1800; these foundations have also be excavated (see youtube film). The house had an interesting history even before the Presidents made it their home. It was built in 1767. It housed General Howe during the British occupation in 1777 and 1778.  After the British were driven out of the city Benedict Arnold lived in the house.


Quaker Meeting House was built between 1804 and 1811

When I went to Europe last April I changed planes in Philadelphia. I saw all the Liberty Bell souvenirs for sale, and I wanted so badly to go and see it. It was so nice to finally see it. We have a replica here in Southern California at Knott's Berry Farm, along with a replica of Independence Hall. I remember visiting Knott's Berry Farm on a field trip with my school and enjoying learning about the founding of our country. An audio reenactment of the debate which led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence is presented there. I was very inspired by that presentation which made finally visiting Philadelphia even more special.


We stayed at a hotel near the reconstruction of Philadelphia's famous City Tavern. It was called the "most genteel tavern in America" by John Adams. It was frequented by the Founding Fathers. It was originally built in 1773. Two hundred men gathered there in 1774 in response to the port blockade of Boston harbor by the British. This restaurant/tavern has a great atmosphere with period costume dressed servers.

City Tavern

Moving on to some more modern additions to the city. The steps Rocky ran up are a favorite with tourists. These 72 steps lead to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Across the street is the Washington Monument. This is a beautiful collection of bronze statues with Washington on horse back as the central figure. It was dedicated in 1897. The view of City Hall is particularly striking from here.
Rocky steps



The National Constitution Center, across from Independence Hall, provides some interesting museum displays with artifacts which belonged to the Presidents. Great views of Independence Hall also. The center also has a dramatic performance about the Constitution and its continuing relevance to our lives.

National Constitution Center

I'm looking forward to visiting Philadelphia again. I didn't feel like a couple days was enough. So much interesting history and personal ancestral history.

Dulles Airport

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