Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Independence Hall

Why is it that the historical buildings I want to visit are always under construction? Last year, when we were in Belgium, one cathedral in Brugge and the Palace of Justice in Brussels were both scaffolded. Anyway, that is what I could see of the outside of Independence Hall. I had to imagine the actual tower. At least the inside wasn't under renovation.

To visit the Hall and associated buildings, you have to get a ticket, which is free, that lets you in at a specific time for a tour. Our guide warned us all at the beginning that he was taking melatonin in preparation for a vacation, and that he might fall asleep mid presentation. He didn't, but I did think that was an odd way to start. He also had a bee in his bonnet about John Adams not having a statue in Philadelphia, even though he was instrumental in the Revolution and the creation of the Constitution. Being a (very) distant relative of John Adams, I too think he deserves a statue. But he wasn't particularly flashy or vocal, and somehow, I think he might not like a statue. Oh well.

I couldn't help but think this room would have been mighty uncomfortable in the depths of winter and the sweltering heat of summer, just like it is shown to be in the wonderful (ha ha) musical 1776. There were big fireplaces at the front, as you can see, but a big open space in the back (where we were standing) and plenty of gusts would have been blowing around in the winter. And there was no air conditioning or electric ceiling fans to stir the air in the summer. Phew.

While it was interesting to see the place where the Declaration of Independence was signed, I was a little disappointed that we couldn't visit any other part of the building. The upper floors were off limits, so it was only the two main rooms and the entryway. I guess since nothing of great national import was done upstairs, they prefer to keep potential tourist damage to a minimum. Bummer.

Right next door to Independence Hall, and open without a ticket (and also empty), was a building that was used for various purposes, including the state supreme court. I actually kind of liked it better.

Those are some big jugs. I wonder what was in them. Doubt it was just water.

Anyway, those were the only historical buildings I actually went into. I could have paid to go into Betsy Ross's house, or any other number of buildings related to George Washington or Benjamin Franklin, but I only had so much time, money, and interest. Besides, I had to go watch the Gay Pride Parade.

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