My Colonial States Trip~Part 15

25 Feb

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

 

Then I checked out Carpenter’s Hall where in 1774 the 1st Continental Congress met in response to the “Intolerable Acts” the British Parliament had imposed on the colonies, as punishment for the Boston Tea Party. They ended up voting to support a trade embargo against England, one of the first unified acts of defiance against the King of England.

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Then there was the tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution which was a very moving monument that honors the thousands of soldiers, of George Washington’s Army, who died during the American Revolutionary War, fighting for our freedom.

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I left my glasses in the Ben Franklin Post Office (luckily they were there when I went back for them) where they hand stamped a letter I mailed. Most of us know of Ben Franklin from our history books as the guy who, in 1750, flew a kite in a thunderstorm proving that lightning was electricity. But, Franklin was a man of many talents; he was a prolific author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He was the first United States ambassador to France (1778-1785), and the 6th president of Pennsylvania (1785-1788).

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I had never heard of the Eastern State Penitentiary where, in mid-1800s, it set the standard for penal reform with its castle-like Gothic architecture and its founders’ Quaker-inspired belief that solitary confinement could reform criminals.  Eastern State’s radial floor plan (known as the hub and spoke plan) and system of solitary confinement was the model for hundreds of later prisons worldwide.

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The next day, while I was trying to take in as many of the interesting things in Philadelphia as I could, I decided to take a quick self-guided tour of the current U.S. Mint there in Philadelphia.   It turns out that the first U.S. Mint (better known as “Ye Olde Mint”) was authorized by the “Coinage Act” of 1792 and was built that same year.  The Mint Act (as it was called) also instituted a decimal system based on a dollar unit; specified weights, metallic composition and fineness; and required that each United States coin be impressed with the word “Liberty.”  It was fascinating to see how our U.S. coins are produced, most of the process now being automated.

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I checked out the City Tavern which was the site of many early business transactions, patriot gatherings, and musical performances and has been restored to look as it did in the 1700s. Today one can sample ale recipes by George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton. I didn’t stop and partake of any of those, as I was on a mission to see as many of the places as I could before the close of the day.

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Down the street was the Philadelphia Merchant’s Exchange, built between 1832 and 1834, and was originally a gathering place where merchants met to barter or sell their cargoes and merchandise. From Exchange the ships could be seen approaching from up or down the Delaware River.

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—–To Be Continued—–

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