October 31, 2007


Yep, they grow 'un BIG up here!

Historic Philadelphia...

No trip along the East Coast would be complete without a visit to the founding place of our country. Yes, it was Philadelphia that was the home of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson in 1776. And it was in this very room at Independence Hall that the Declaration of Independence was written and signed.

A few days later Congress ratified it in their chamber, and it was history! It was interesting to learn that even Franklin considered this a bold experiment, and was uncertain about its future success. Franklin was just over eighty at the signing, and knew that others would have to bear the burden of making this "Democracy" a "reality.
Philadelphia remained the Capital of our country for the first couple of years, until it was moved to Washington.

The nice thing about historical Philly is that the old district was quite small, allowing us to visit these most important landmarks of our past within a day. We started at the Liberty Bell, of course! Interestingly, one is allowed to walk right up to it (but don't dare touch!). The crack was common in bells of that day. It was difficult to get a good blend and casting of the metals. Once a crack starts, it ruins the "ring" and the bell is retired. Fortunately, over the years, this national treasure was saved.

We were also able to find the set of "row houses" that Franklin built & owned, along with his grave in a nearby cemetary.

Hidden beneath the enormous skyscrapers are small jewels of the past that somehow were spared the wrecking ball.
We enjoyed lunch at the City Tavern, which has been operating in the same spot since 1773. Although the orginal structure burned, the National Parks Service rebuilt it to original plans & details. We were surprised by it's antebellum charm & feel.
We crowned the day by arriving at Macy's, which was the old Wanamaker Emporium before the turn of the century, in time for the evening concert on the world's largest pipe organ...the Wanamaker. It was originally constructed for the 1911 St Louis World's Fair, but found a home here instead, due to the manufacturer's bankruptcy. There's nothing electronic that can duplicate the sight & sound of these giants of the organ world! Although this is considered a "concert organ", it was a pleasant reminder of the days of the Paramount Theater show organ concerts in Baton Rouge.