Tuesday, October 16, 2012

History Lesson: Philadelphia

We're familiar with Philadelphia as the "City of Brotherly Love", but our history textbook told us that the city has also been called "The Birthplace of the Nation" because it played such a pivotal role in America's independence.  The city was originally founded by William Penn in 1682, and later served as the American capital from 1790 to 1800, and was the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

The Old City neighborhood is where the first Quakers settled, and nearby Society Hill has more homes dating from the 1700s and early 1800s than any other neighborhood in America.  Parts of these two neighborhoods have been set aside as Independence National Historic Park, which is home to Independence Hall, Carpenter's Hall, Christ Church, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, the Free Quaker Meeting House, the American Philosophical Society Library, and Old City Hall.  

The building we know as Independence Hall was constructed between 1732 and 1753 and was intended to serve as the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania.  In 1776 it was the building in which members of the Second Continental Congress debated, deliberated, and then signed the Declaration of Independence.  I have visited Independence National Historic Park three times, but was only inside Independence Hall the first time.  I think that would have been in 1995, and I don't have pictures handy.  These are pictures from our visit in October 2012.
Independence Hall seen from the Liberty Bell museum

The library of the American Philosophical Society is near Independence Hall.  This society, founded by Benjamin Franklin, purposed to promote scientific knowledge and technology.  More than a dozen US Presidents, more than two hundred Nobel prize winners, scientists Madam Curie and Albert Einstein, and naturalist John James Audubon are among the Society's distinguished members.

Carpenters Hall was built in 1770 as a home for the Carpenters Guild.  The First Continental Congress met in this building in 1774, and it was used as a hospital and as an arsenal during the Revolutionary War.

(from our visit in 2007)
The First Bank of the United States is the oldest bank building in the United States.

(from our visit in 2007)
In 2007 we visited Franklin Court on the site of his home.  This site was closed to the public on our visit last week, and apparently it is being renovated somehow.

The Old City Hall was completed in 1791 and in addition to the city government, it housed the United States Supreme Court from 1791 to 1800.

This is Declaration House, where Thomas Jefferson wrote the text of the Declaration of Independence.
(from our visit in 2007)\
The Betsy Ross House is nearby as well.  It was built around 1740 and housed the upholstery business of John and Betsy Ross.  We visited here in 2007 but didn't have time to stop by on our most recent trip.

The highlight for our visits was, of course, the Liberty Bell.  The bell was originally cast to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Charter of Privileges written by William Penn to ensure freedom in the Pennsylvania colony.  When the bell arrived from England it was defective.  The Philadelphia business Pass & Stowe melted and recast it twice before it was hung in the tower of the State House in 1753.  Tradition holds that the bell was rung on July 8, 1776 after the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence.  When the British captured Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War, the Liberty Bell (and other bells) were hidden so that the British couldn't melt them down to make ammunition.  The Liberty Bell was later returned to the State House and was rung every Fourth of July and on other national occasions until 1835 when it cracked.

Harrison and Spencer in 2007

Kym in 2007

The big difference I can see between my 2007 and 2012 pictures of the Liberty Bell is the number of people!  I think they changed the way they do security checks - they used to do it right at the Bell and allow only a limited number of people to see it at one time, and now they check right at the entrance and it's a free-for-all.  I like the old way better for pictures!
Kennady in 2012

Proclaim LIBERTY throughout the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof.

Favorite Curriculum Choices

This post was added to the Throwback Thursday Blog-Style link-up hosted by Tots and Me... Growing Up Together! on October 20, 2016.

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Mary said...

We went to Philadelphia this past June on our road trip. It was so awesome to "see" history. The Liberty Bell was smaller than we expected, but it was still awesome!

Kirsten @ homeschool discoveries said...

I went to Philadelphia once as a kid, and looking at your pictures definitely makes me want to visit again! We just started studying the Revolutionary War, so Philadelphia has been on my mind! I don't think we will get to go anytime soon, but it is definitely on a wish list for future vacations.

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