Monday, February 21, 2011

Presidents Day

Yes, it's George and Martha, but not from a historical set, as I explained here. But if it's American history you're looking for, you can't go wrong in Philadelphia. Here's Garth Lax with more information about the host city for this year's paper doll convention: 

                            LET  FREEDOM  RING !
                                    Email # 4
Continuing with our tour of the "Old City" of Philadelphia - when we left
you 2 weeks ago, we were at the Second Bank of the United States,
enjoying its excellent portrait gallery.
As you leave the Second Bank of the United States, cross 4th Street,
and continue east on Chestnut Street. In the middle of the block is a
small alleyway to your right. The building that faces you at the end
is a treasure - - Carpenters' Hall.
Historic Philadelphia. Carpenters' Hall, a splendid cruciform building
with an octagonal cupola, hosted the First Continental Congress in
1774 and was the original home to Franklin's Library Company, The
American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks
of the United States.
Today, Carpenters' Hall is open to the public and welcomes over
150,000 world-wide visitors to this wonderful Georgian building.
Admission is Free.
Leaving Carpenters Hall, walk back down the alley. (If you have time,
you may wish to stop at the New Hall Military Museum on your left,
or, on your right, Pemberton House which houses the National Parks
Museum Shop). Cross Chestnut Street, turn right, and in the middle of
the block between 4th and 3rd Streets there's another alley leading
north. Follow it, and you'll come to Franklin Court.
No visit to old Philadelphia would be complete without mention of its
most famous citizen, Benjamin Franklin.
This is the spot where Benjamin Franklin lived, and although his house
was demolished in 1812, it is outlined by a skeletal structure of tubular
steel above ground. Underground you'll find a museum with displays,
interactive exhibits, and a 22-minute film on Franklin.
Just beyond Franklin Court, on Market Street, are restorations of
five buildings, three of which were erected by Franklin, that contain
an 18th century Post Office, an architectural/archeology exhibit,
an operating post office, and a postal museum. It's appropriate, since
Franklin was responsible for the US Post Officel Department, and was
the country's first Postmaster-General.
Leaving the Market Street buildings, turn right, cross 3rd Street, and
continue east one block to 2nd Street. Turn left (north) on 2nd Street
and walk about half a block to an architectural gem - - Christ Church.
This Anglican (Episcopal) Church, at 2nd Street just above Walnut St.,
is one of the nation's quintessential Colonial churches. It is a beautiful
brick structure with a 200 foot white steeple. Its construction began in
1727, and those who worshiped there regularly included George
Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Betsy Ross, Robert Morris, and
Dr. Benjamin Rush. The church preserves the pews used by
Washington, John Adams, and their wives.
The interior of the church is every bit as lovely as its exterior. It contains
a baptismal font from the 1300s - - a gift from London's All Hallows
Church in which William Penn was baptized, a pulpit from 1769, and
a chandelier still in use since its installation in 1740.
The interior is open Monday-Saturday 9 - 5, Sunday 1 - 5.
Your visit to the interior is free; the Church suggests a $3.00 donation.
Leaving the Church, turn left and walk 1/2 block to Arch Street.Cross
Arch Street, and walk 1/2 block north to Elfreth's Alley on your right.
This 15 foot wide street, bordered by 33 houses is among the oldest
continuously inhabited residential streets in North America, and is a
National Historic Landmark. The oldest houses in the Alley are
nearly 300 years old.
Among the Alley's residents were tradesmen and their families, including
shipwrights, silversmiths, dressmakers, and pewter smiths. The Alley is
a rare surviving example of 18th century working-class housing.
The Georgian and Federal style houses, two to three and a half stories
high, and the cobblestone street, were typical of Philadelphia in the
early 1700s.
There is a Gift shop in #124, which also offers Guided Tours, and a
Museum in #126. All other houses private and must be viewed from the
outside. The Museum is open Tuesday - Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM;
Sunday 12 PM - 5 PM. Museum admission is $5.00 US.
Naturally, with a street only 15 feet wide, you stroll down Elfreth's
Alley, rather than drive. 
Leaving Elfreth's Alley the way you entered, turn left, and walk 1/2
block south to Arch Street. Now, turn right, and walk just over a block
to the Betsy Ross House.
According to the oral history, in 1777, three men-George Washington,
Robert Morris, and George Ross, visited Betsy Ross in her upholstery
shop. Washington pulled a folded piece of paper from his inside coat
pocket. On it was a sketch of a flag with thirteen red and white stripes
and thirteen six-pointed stars.
Washington asked if Betsy could make a flag from the design. Betsy
responded: "I do not know, but I will try."
As the story goes, Betsy suggested changing the stars to five points
rather than six. She showed them how with just one snip of her scissors.
They all agreed to change the design to have stars with five points.
Betsy Ross then proceeded to construct the first US Flag.
Her home, at 239 Arch Street, was built over 250 years ago - - the front
portion about 1740, and the stair hall and rear section in the 1750s.
The structure is a variation of a "bandbox" style house, with one room
on each floor and a winding staircase stretching from the cellar to the
upper levels. The building's front façade, with a large window on the first
floor to display merchandise, and its proximity to the Delaware River,
made it an ideal location for a business. In fact, the house served as
both a business and a residence for many different shopkeepers and
artisans for more than 150 years. The first floor front room was used
as the workshop and showroom. The business owner and his or her
family lived in the rest of the house.
Today, the Betsy Ross House is furnished in the period in which Betsy
lived here. You can view seven period rooms, including a kitchen, parlor,
bedrooms,  and the only interpretation of an 18th century upholstery
shop in the country. The rooms are furnished with period antiques,
18th-century reproductions and objects that belonged to Betsy Ross
and her family. Highlights of the collection include Betsy Ross' walnut
chest-on-chest, her Chippendale and Sheraton side chairs, her
eyeglasses, her quilted petticoat and her Bible.
The house is open 10 AM - 5 PM every day. Admission is $3.00.
Hot dogs, drinks and snacks are offered in the courtyard.
After you tour the house, make sure to meet Betsy Ross and plan
to spend some time relaxing in the shady courtyard where you'll enjoy
free family-friendly programming, hear storytelling and see colonial
crafters at work. It's a good opportunity to take a little rest.
Exiting the Betsy Ross House, turn right, and stroll west on Arch St.
for three blocks and cross Arch Street to the Christ Church Burial
In this two-acre space are 1400 markers, including the graves of
Benjamin Franklin, Francis Hopkinson, Joseph Hewes, George Ross,
and Dr. Benjamin Rush - - all signers of the Declaration of
Independence; Dr. Thomas Bond, the founder of the first hospital; and
Commodore William Bainbridge the Commander of "Old Ironsides",
the USS Constitution.
The Burial Ground is at the corner of Arch Street and 5th Street.
Cross 5th Street, turn left, stroll 1/2 block south, and you'll be
right back at the Visitors Center where you started.
I’m sure that you’ve noticed that Emails #3 and #4 have taken you on
a circular self-guided tour of the sights and venues in the Independence
Mall area. You can skip venues if you wish, and at any time, can stroll
two or three blocks across the circle, and be back at the Visitors Center.
So - - there you have the remainder of the "old city" sights.
Well, not quite - - there are a couple more spots of interest that
I'll cover in one of the later emails.
However, as you can see, a day in the "old city" can bring you
face to face with the nexus of US History in its earliest days,
and permit you to walk the paths and visit the buildings and rooms
where so much history took place.
- - Garth
                               August 17 - 21, 2011
                  Embassy Suites - Philadelphia Airport
                               9000 Bartram Avenue
                            Philadelphia,  PA  19153
                          CONVENTION REGISTRATION
CITY_______________________STATE_______ ZIP/PC__________
Registration:  $295.00 USD 
Absentee Registration:  $155.00 USD
  (Absentee Registrations are limited in number.)
Guest Registration (Meals, Reception Party) $150.00
  GUEST NAME:__________________________________________
Make Checks payable to:  2011 Paper Doll Convention
____ Check/money order enclosed
____ Credit Card #____________________________Exp.Date______
        (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, AmEx accepted)
        (charge will appear on statement as "Paperdoll Review")
Mail to:
David Wolfe
P.O. Box 2279
New Preston,  CT  06777

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