Every school kid learns the broad strokes that led to the creation of the United States of America: taxation without representation, the Boston Tea Party, the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the United States Constitution.
These events and documents dramatically changed the world, yet many Americans have not revisited these momentous historical events and artifacts since their schooldays. Travelers, however, can learn about the founding of this great nation firsthand by visiting Philadelphia, which temporarily served as the nation’s capital from 1790 to 1800. Within the City of Brotherly Love sits Independence National Historic Park, a national shrine that spans 55 acres across 20 city blocks and contains countless ideas and ideals.
Some visitors to Independence National Historic Park may find the Liberty Bell to be their favorite artifact, since they will be able to study up close the famous jagged crack that was long ago viewed only in a textbook. Others may be partial to Congress Hall, where George Washington’s second inauguration and John Adams’ inauguration took place. Independence Hall will likely impress the majority of its visitors. The building is redolent of history and gravitas. Every one of the country’s Founding Fathers walked its halls. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were both signed here.
In addition to visiting these locations that still resonate throughout the world, visitors should be sure to visit the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, a magnificent statue that may not have been revealed to us first in classrooms. Standing 20 feet high and weighing 30 tons, this statue of a seated Franklin took sculptor James Earle Fraser nearly six years to create and was dedicated as a national monument in 1972. This magnificent sculpture sits inside the Franklin Institute, an architectural marvel, featuring a 1,600-ton domed ceiling and marble columns, ceilings and walls.
Even students who were once bored with history will likely find something to love at Independence National Historic Park, if only the well-tended gardens, the numerous trees and the serene green lawns. Fans of history will like most everything.
Independence National Historic Park