Philadelphia: First Time in the City of Firsts


Originally published in June 2012. It’s Throwback Thursday!

On the road again! Only this time I took a train. I liked it a lot! I didn’t think it was much different than the ones in Europe–except it was running a little late! But surprisingly we made it to Philly sooner than anticipated. And when I arrived, guess how I was welcomed… by a Taxi strike! Hundreds of cabs were driving down Market Street (the main drag), honking and sounding bull horns the whole way. This did not make me want to give them my business. it was a nice walk to my hotel!

Upon arriving at the hotel in downtown, I got some maps and brochures and set out to find an adventure! First stop: Declaration House, also called the Graff House. Actually the first stop was the sidewalk just outside the house. Yep, tripped on some uneven bricks and busted it. Left ankle: twisted. Right knee, busted. OW! Luckily for me, I am not too proud to depend on the kindness of strangers. When a woman walking past offered me a disinfectant wipe, I took it with a hearty thank you!

Upon recovery, it was onward-ho to the Declaration House! I wasn’t impressed with the exhibits, and the video that was supposed to introduce you to the whole thing was messed up, but luckily the Park Ranger on duty stopped me before I left and we had a good long discussion about the importance of the house and the events that happened there the summer of 1776! This is the house where Thomas Jefferson rented two rooms while penning the Declaration of Independence between March and September that year. There was actually supposed to be a committee of 5 (Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Livingston, and Sherman), but Jefferson ended up doing it largely on his own! Franklin didn’t want the bother, Adams knew he was too argumentative and they’d all hate it if he did it, and I guess the other two were ok with Jeff having run of their fate! He basically made 35 bullet-point grievances against the King, making it sound important and pompous so the King’s advisors would take it seriously.

Jefferson’s Living Quarters
Jefferson’s Living Quarters

Anyway, Jefferson was only 32 at the time, and the second youngest delegate at the Continental Congress–kind of a lot of responsibility! He labored over it till presenting it to Congress on June 28. Congress voted on it July 2, made some changes (wow, the scrutiny and criticism Jefferson must have gone through!) and finally approved it on July 4. Whew! 200 copies were printed up that very day and distributed. It was first read publicly on July 8, 1776, right behind Philadelphia’s State House, which is now called Independence Hall!

Sure do wish they hadn’t built those tall buildings behind it. 

There is something interesting about Jefferson’s time in Philly… he was a shopper! He bought so much stuff while he was here, he had to buy additional luggage to take it all back to Monticello to his lovely wife! At that time, Philadelphia was one of the most prosperous, most populated English-speaking cities in the world (second to London), so it only makes sense that this would be the place where Continental Congress would want to meet and all these important things would happen.

Copy of the Declaration of Independence

After the Graff House, I wandered around the current City Hall, walked to a couple of parks and found out some very nice things about historic figures around here. I went back to the hotel after a while to check on something for my boss (the whole reason I get to come to Philly!) and checked into my room. That afternoon I went wandering a little more, just to get the lay of the land and gather information to make my plan of attack for the next couple of days. The work I was doing there was for an event starting at 4:00, so I truly had the whole day to explore every day I was there!

By the time I went back to the hotel to change for work, it was almost time to get going to the job site! I’m here with a marketing company, just like at the Hershey, PA, event earlier this month. This time, we’re doing a cool demo (park assist–the cars can parallel park themselves!) and playing a game to give away tickets to future shows at the venue: The Mann Center for the Performing Arts. So I guess you could say this weekend I’ve been “working for the Mann!” I figured I’d just take the public transportation system to get to the Mann Center, but luckily enough for me, I saw one of my coworkers as I was crossing the street to pick up a sandwich for supper! He has a car here with him, so he gave me a ride.

So that was day 1 in Philly! Stay tuned for more in an upcoming Throwback Thursday!

Published by quickwhittravel

Welcome to the blog! We do things a little differently around here: no ads, no negativity, and no checked luggage, y'all. My name is Whitney, and Quick Whit Travel Blog is your one-stop shop for all the best travel tips, packing advice, and destination information. Click around or message me on social media @quickwhittravel for more!

3 thoughts on “Philadelphia: First Time in the City of Firsts

  1. Philly’s City Hall is what a municipal should look like! I was in awe of that building. Massive.

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