A Day for Patriotism
Today we went to Independence National Historical Park, AKA Independence Hall. Of course, the street we should have taken was blocked off, so we had to try a different way. Fortunately, we did get to downtown Philadelphia, but with no help from the traffic signage. At one point the freeway split. One way got you to downtown Philly, the other way to someplace else. The sign telling you which way to go was in the middle of the split between the roadways. So, if you were in the wrong lane, you really had no chance to get over to the correct side of the freeway. Fortunately, we were on the correct side so we made it.
They do have ample parking, which is good. We first got our ticket for Independence Hall. The tickets are free, but they ticket people to time them. You can reserve on line, which we recommend, or you can show up and see what times are available.
The tour of Independence Hall was very impressive. The guide was very knowledgeable and really brought it to life. In the room where the Declaration of Independence was signed, he moved among the desks and told us what state's delegation was seated at the desk and what they were doing for the vote. The most dramatic story was about Caesar Rodney. He was from Delaware, but not at the Continental Congress on July 1, the day before the vote on the Declaration. He was one of three members from Delaware to the Congress. One was going to vote for independence and one against. Thus, Delaware would have no vote and there would not be enough states in favor of independence to pass the Declaration. An express messenger was sent to him. He rode most of the night over the 80 miles of swamp and mud to get to Philadelphia in time for the vote. He made it in time and Delaware voted for independence. Without him, the Declaration of Independence would not have passed.
Many people don't know that the Declaration was actually passed on July 2, not July 4. However,the delegates wanted to clarify and clean up some of the language, so it was not made public until July 4.
We then looked around Independence Square at many other historic buildings. A full day is about enough, although you could do part of a second day. We only did the one day.
The room where the Second Continental Congress met and passed the Delaration of Independance. The guide is up by the front desk. He was very good.
An original printed copy of the Declaration. Immedicatly on July 4 when they had settled on the language, they sent the original to a printer to print up copies. He printed a 20 copies immediately. However, the full declaration was not officially released until August when sufficient copies had been printed.
The National Capital was in New York at the time the Constitution was adopted. It stayed the capital for 17 months. That is when the law was passed to make Washington, DC the capital. However, at the time Washington was pretty much swamp and low land. So the capital was moved to Philadelphia for 10 years while Washington was being built. The House and Senate met in Congress Hall which is just to the west of Independence Hall. This is the room where the House of Representatives met for those 10 years.
This is where the Senate met. It is on the second floor.
The Liberty Bell with Independence Hall in the background.
This is the house where Thomas Jefferson rented rooms while he was writing the draft of the Declaration of Independence.
The little building as it looks now.
This is the room where Thomas Jefferson worked.
This is a type of tree that is pretty widespread in Philadelphia. It was blossoming in August. We wondered what it was, but nobody knew.
This is the blossom. Do you know what it is?
The interior of Christ Church. A very old church that many of the founding fathers and their families attended while in Philadelphia.
George Washington's pew.
Good by to Independence Hall.
That evening, Sally had tickets to the Barnes Museum. She will tell you more about it. I did not care to go. I have come to realize that I am not particularly attracted to flat art, e. g. paintings. So, it not an efficient use of money to pay for admission to a museum where I will likely see everything I want to see in half an hour. I walked around the near north side of Philalephia for a while, and then sat and read. It was quite relaxing.
The front of the Barnes Museum
The back of Barnes Museum, where the entrance actually is.
An interesting building near the Barnes Museum.
Al has said all that needs to be said about Independence Park. I am always amazed that all of those intelligent and courageous people found their way to our country at that moment in our history. I also wonder if we would have the same protections in our Bill of Rights if the Constitutional Convention had occurred today. I find it unlikely that the States would approve those amendments in the present political climate.
The museum limits the number of people who can enter each day because some of the galleries are very small (probably 20 feet square). So if you decide to go, order tickets on line several weeks ahead of time. The building is rather ugly, but according to the information on the museum, they have done a good job of replicating the 24 galleries Mr. Barnes had built for his paintings on his property. He was also very particular about the placement of the paintings on the walls, and his will also required that the arrangements never be changed. Fortunately, he had a good eye for arranging them, and are pleasing to the eye.
It is the most amazing private collection of art I have ever seen. He owned over 1,000 paintings. There are over 160 Renoirs, about 90 Cezanne's, about 70 Matisse's, about 10 VanGogh's, etc. I felt like I had been given a 5-pound box of chocolates with instructions that I had 3 hours to eat the whole box. It quickly became apparent that I needed to limit myself to the ones with the cream centers. It was entirely too much art to absorb in one visit.
Unfortunately, this museum does not permit photos, so I purchased post cards of a few of my favorites.
This painting reminded me of having lunch with two of my friends.
Monet painted this self-portrait of a small boat he had built for himself so that he could go out on the ponds on his property and paint his surroundings. I think it would be a wonderful place to sit and spend the afternoon.
This is one of his VanGogh paintings, done in the last year of his life. This looks to me like a happy village. Is that VanGogh walking along feeling separated from the people in the town?
This painting was on the wall of one of Dr. Barnes galleries, above some windows. It is a good example of measure twice, cut once. Matisse measured the wall, and then returned to his studio to design the painting. He made paper cut outs of the design and took them to the gallery to begin painting. After painting part of the walls, he discovered that he had incorrectly measured the spaces between the three arches- so he had to start over.
I would love to re-visit this place. Sally