Thusday, Dn. Andrew and I took a day trip to downtown Philadelphia. They call it the “most historic square mile in the United States.”
Philly has the most splendid downtown I’ve seen in the U.S.: much prettier than New York or even Boston. It had wide streets, beautiful architecture, and lots of green. When William Penn planned the city, he set aside five city blocks for parks. So while there is no big space like Central Park or Boston Common, there are medium-sized parks scattered throughout. They are big enough to hide the sound of traffic and the sight of tall buildings. The most famous is Washington Park:
Here was a church, just a block or two off Washington Square, whose name I’ve forgotten:
We ate lunch at the City Tavern:
Here are some sights from around town:
This building was the most impressive accident I’ve ever seen:
We circled all of Washington Park looking for the Philadelphia Athenaeum:
They let us in to see a dull exhibit on architecture drawings. Then I asked the receptionist about the place. The library is free for research if you schedule an appointment. They have 1400 members. Here is their brochure:
Someone from my job in Boston once considered joining the Boston Athenaeum. She brought a brochure and showed it to everyone. It looked like a beautiful, peaceful place. In my imagination, reading there is like at private day at the Isabella Stewart Gardener House. But even as I support the idea of such a society, it all seems pretentious. The Athenaeum must be just about the most aristocratic society money can buy. When this lady showed me the brochure, I remarked that it sounded like a country club for book lovers. I didn’t mean it to be derogatory, but she wasn’t well pleased. How I love causing mischief! I don’t know if she ever joined.
Of course we visited the Liberty Bell:
Here is Library Hall, with a statue of Ben Franklin:
This is the back of Independence Hall:
This is the front:
We went in for a tour.
Here is where the Senate met, in an adjacent building:
This is the first floor of Independence Hall:
This is the second floor, where the Constitution was signed:
We also visited the Mint, but it was closed:
And we found Franklin’s grave. We arrived just before an attendant came to sweep up all the change. Here is my avant-garde vertigo shot—or maybe I just wanted to catch all those pennies before the broom got them:
Then we walked over to Christ Church. The caretaker was just closing up. Andrew said, “I suppose you’re closed now.” He replied, “Yes, but go on in, Father.” So we went in and looked around for a few minutes. Seven signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried there. Around back was a dogwood tree with tulips:
If you like, you can see all my Philadelphia photos.