Thursday, August 27, 2015

Touring A Big City

 We usually avoid large cities because we don't like constant noise, traffic, or crowds, but we had a chance to see Philadelphia with locals for tour guides, so we had to go.  We arrived at the home of our hosts, Rich and Jeannie Carpenter and their teen-aged daughters Amelia and Euna (all of whom we met at Stacy (our daughter) and Ruth Ann's (Rich's sister) wedding.  We were greeted by Stacy and Ruth Ann and settled into our room for the next two nights.  One of our reasons to tour the area was that Duane could view a lot of the artwork of Master Blacksmith Samuel Yellin.  With this in mind, the girls drove us to Bryn Mawr College.  We walked around the beautiful campus viewing the gates and sconce holders.

We found an open door and went inside to find a wonderful woman working in an office.  She offered to show us around inside Goodhart Hall.
Notice the knots tied in the iron ending in the tassel at the bottom. This is one of Duane's favorite pieces.

From there we drove to Valley Forge to the George Washington Memorial Chapel for a look around.  The chapel was closed but we viewed the exterior gate and wandered around the memorial atria. We didn't have time to drive the National Historic Site, so  we went back to the house to spend the evening with the family.
This picture was taken through the glass door. This is the slide bar handle to the gate.

Next day Ruth Ann, Stacy, Amelia, her boyfriend Justin, Euna and we took the metro train to the old part of Philadelphia.  Our first stop was Liberty Square.  This is a National Parks site but is free and open to the public.  The Visitors' Center provided really nice displays, two theaters with informative films, a couple of costumed re-enactors showing some of the hand arts of the day, and all of the National Parks Pass stamps for the other sites around the city.  Across the street form the Center is a display showing the site of the first federal capital building.  The federal government was headquartered here for two years before it was moved to Washington, D.C. 

In an adjoining building is the Philadelphia History Museum.  At the end of the building was the original Liberty Bell, crack and all.  

Across the street is Independence Hall.  The tours for this building were free but we had to sign up for a time.  We had a lot of other stuff to see so we moved on. 

When in Philly you need to eat cheesesteak.  We settled on a spot nearby and chowed down.  Left to right is Duane, Ruth Ann, Stacy, Justin, Amelia, & Euna.

Well fortified, we visited Betsy Ross's house.  This is the house she shared with her third husband (having been widowed twice).  In this house she kept her upholstery shop and secretly sewed the flag of the new republic.  

This woman was a real treat.  As Betsy Ross she stayed in character and showed us how she made the five point stars for the flag (Washington wanted 6 points originally) and talked about some of the materials and fabric she used in her business.   

 As we walked we enjoyed the numerous sculptures around the city.  This cat fountain is in the courtyard of the Ross house and the gift shop.

This Indian, a friend to the Quakers is standing on a turtle, symbol of Mother Earth.  On his shoulder is the eagle of freedom holding a wampum belt.  The whole thing symbolizes the unification of peoples and the natural world that existed at the time.

Needing further nourishment we visited Franklin Fountain, This tiny building (you see the whole thing here) is an old-fashioned soda fountain, serving the usual dishes of ice cream and sundaes plus 
soda waters and ices.  

Fully fortified we visited the home of Benjamin Franklin.  The house is gone but a frame structure shows where the building stood (in front of me, behind Duane who is taking the photo).  In the left corner is where the privies stood.  The buildings shown are five of the tenements Franklin built.  The one in the middle is actually three separated by inner walls.  Franklin' hobby was building.  He put a lot of thought into how to make his structures safer for his renters and pleasing to the eye.  Each tenement was three stories with a basement kitchen and storage.  One extended family rented each building.

Our walk took us through China Town and four of these dragons atop a wall.

All signs along this section are in Chinese except for street signs.

Contrast of old and new

This sculpture is a destination point for weary tourists and city dwellers.  The fountain was awash with children and the shady park was welcoming to many people, including us.  Here the teens left us to catch the train for their school and field hockey practice.  Stacy and Ruth Ann are playing tourist by posing under the sign.

My most favorite sculpture

After the teens left the four of us walked around a section of the city which featured more of Samuel Yellin's work.  Ruth Ann had contacted Yellin's granddaughter about a tour of his forge.  She replied that she didn't give tours any more but sent a list of places where we might view his work.  This is the Packard Building.  Behind this gate is an upscale restaurant.  The wait staff kindly let Duane wander around taking photos.

Details of the light fixtures and gate.

This is a dragon door knocker, not a handle.

This is the entrance door to St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

Door on Rosenbach Museum and Library.

Hot and tired we found our way to the train and enjoyed a quiet ride home.  I say that because the trains are electric and because the riders are encouraged to make no electronic noises. All conversations are to be carried on in a whisper, too.  A short walk from the train we found a nice little pizza place for supper, the walked the last couple/three blocks to the house.  We visited the family for a bit before heading to bed for our last night there.  Next morning we were once again fed a good breakfast before we packed up and headed out.  We are truly grateful to the Carpenter family for their hospitality.  They always make us feel welcome.

Our last trip in this area is coming up.  Unless of course we get bored in the next couple of days!

Louise and Duane 

1 comment:

Paul and Marsha Weaver OCT. 17, 2009 said...

What a great tour. We have never been to Philadelphia. I have always wanted to visit the city and now even more. The iron work is just amazing.