Monday, July 25, 2011
Liberty Bell, er State House Bell!
Just a short post today, so I can continue to milk the pictures from Philadelphia for a while longer. I have been too busy, and the weather has been too hot, to take anything decent since then! Anyway - while in Philadelphia, I made sure to take time to see some of the historic sites, the ones you hear about in American History class in 5th grade. The best part about most of them, is that they are owned and operated by the National Park Service, so they are free (well, apart from paying taxes, but you don't have to pay an extra fee to see things at least). To see the Liberty Bell, all you have to do is stand in line, and that line is actually for the security screening - much like a screening at a major league baseball park. You just show that you aren't carrying anything explosive or corrosive, and off you go.
To get to the Liberty Bell, you could wind your way through a nice set of exhibits about the history of the bell, which points out that the bell itself was not originally called the Liberty Bell, but rather the State House Bell. The name Liberty Bell was, according to the Park Service info sheet (and the exhibits), given to it by a group of abolitionists in the 1830s. Interesting. I did not know that. To be honest, I only gave most of the exhibits a cursory glance (I'm not in 5th grade history any longer, and I knew there wouldn't be a quiz - so sue me, I learn to the test sometimes!), because mostly I just wanted to see the bell.
And there it is. It is actually larger than I thought it would be - the opposite reaction than I have to most historical objects and buildings. Yes, the thing weighs 2000 pounds, and it looks like it. The bell itself (why didn't I try for an up-the-skirt picture of it?!) is quite thick, and that beam that holds it is massive. I didn't take a picture of the cracked side, apparently. Oh well. This is how it looked during the Revolutionary War period. Apart from the tourists, that is.
Next up, Independence Hall and the Old City Hall.