In Philadelphia

We spent a long weekend in Philadelphia, staying in the downtown just a few  blocks from Independence National Historical Park, which includes Independence Hall and other historical sites.  So we walked around– the car stayed in a garage.  A bit expensive (even the car’s “room” in a garage cost $22 per day);  but most enjoyable and educational.  And a low-cost “Pflash” bus (free to old geezers) was handy for visiting the art museum.

Philadelphia was the nation’s capital throughout the 1790’s; in 1801 it was moved to Washington DC, after they’d cleared (some of) the wilderness.  The move was in keeping with a north-south compromise, without which the Constitution might not have been adopted.  So our capital was transferred from the largest and most sophisticated city of the new US  to a rather backward new village– one which “combined northern charm with southern efficiency”, as it’s detractors used to put it.  Well it had to be that way; and “Washington City”, as they called it, has come a long way.  But one might wonder:  how would our history have been different if the capital could have remained in Philadelphia?  The US would have certainly been a more civilized country; but on the other hand, the South — with Jefferson’s professed disdain for urban life– might have seceded even earlier.

Here’s a picture of Elfreth’s Alley, which they say is the oldest continuously-inhabited street in the United States:


The alley dates back to 1702– it’s been somewhat cleaned up since then.  Tradespeople lived there at first; in the mid-19th century the Irish came to predominate.

More on Philadelphia (and the Irish there) will follow.


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