Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Old Philadelphia - Walking on the path of Independence

On 04/05 we made a visit to the older part of Philadelphia where many historical places are located... Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross House, 2nd Bank of America, Elfreth's Alley and many more.... Temperatures of app. 25 °C / 77 F and a blue and sunny sky were perfect conditions to have a great day.

We started our tour at the Carpenter's Hall, after we parked the car in the parking garage (offering an early bird special which was very unusual for us Europeans) where we stopped at the marked place.... I'm not sure why numerous plates are necessary to indicate the stop line, but... who knows....

From there we passed the 2nd Bank of America which was built in 1816 and went bankrupt in 1841.

After walking along some more historical buildings we arrived at the Independence Hall after crossing the obligatory security and bag check.... Interesting area to walk around, if you have in mind that the Declaration of Independence has been signed here in 1776, copies of it can be seen inside.

The room where the congress held their meetings can also be visited, the floor up there is showing the crests of the 13 states which signed the declaration.

We went over to the new building where the Liberty Bell now is located and so we got the world famous view at the Hall which can be seen in many pictures... now also here....

The new Liberty Bell Pavillon is now the home of the Liberty Bell. Here some historical background information: A bell for the Pennsylvania State House was cast in London, England, however, it cracked soon after it arrived in Philadelphia. Local craftsmen John Pass and John Stow cast a new bell in 1753, using metal from the English bell. Their names appear on the front of the bell, along with the city and the date. The bell weighs 13'000 pounds representing 1'000 pounds for each of the 13 original states. By 1846 a thin crack began to affect the sound of the bell. The bell was repaired in 1846 and rang for a George Washington birthday celebration, but the bell cracked again and has not been rung since. No one knows why the bell cracked either time.

The Liberty Bell

Our walk took us along several other places of which I wanna mention some more:
  • Christ Church, 2nd and Market Streets: Benjamin Franklin is buried with his wife at the cemetery of the church. About 4'000 people have been buried there, but only app. 1'400 names are known, because no names have been recorded until a certain date and many tomb stones are unreadable.

  • Betsy Ross House: the first official flag has been sewn here and for about 50 years all flags were made there.

  • Elfreth's Alley: the oldest street in Philadelphia which can be still visited today, dated back to the year 1702.

For lunch we had the famous Philly Cheese Steak and due to the fact that we wanted to get a good impression which is best, we tested both: Geno's and Pat's. But... which is better? Hard to say: we liked more Geno's Whiz, but Pat's put more meat inside... for this day, Geno's was the winner... but Rob told us that it goes back and forth between them.

Funny side fact: Silvester Stallone enjoyed his Cheese Steak at Pat's in "Rocky", a red spot marks the position where he stood.

After all that walking and the filling lunch we made a visit to 9th Street Italian Market and went then to the Muetter Museum which shows some really interesting exhibits, in most cases deformities as a result of health problems etc. Sometimes really scary, but very interesting for sure.

We enjoyed this day, Rob did a perfect job as a tour guide....