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Things to do in Camden

    Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial USS New Jersey Museum and Memorial Camden, New Jersey
    The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial in Camden, New Jersey is a museum ship that preserves and shows the USS New Jersey (BB-62), the most decorated battleship in the navy and one of the biggest battleships ever constructed in the United States. The exciting battleship has become one of the region's most popular attractions, with outstanding tours given, special events like the New Year's Eve bid going on right now that is offering to allow one lucky bidder to fire the massive 5 inch gun at midnight, 2010, welcoming in the new year of 2011, and overnight encampments. The ship is filled with exhibits of the past and its former glory, as well as newer displays about the history of the ship and the men that were honored to serve on her. You can go to the bridge and sit in the very chair that Admiral Halsey sat in while commanding the fleet, and slide into one of the canvas bunk beds that held sailors for centuries, and climb into the 16 inch gun turret that describes the entire process from loading the huge shells into the massive gun and then catching the shell as she comes flying out into the hot case man's mitt. Every step of your tour is like being sent back into the past, reliving those historical moments that many of the survivors were glad to be shed of. Walk across the forecastle, and check out the huge chain links on the anchor chain, and just imagine having to bring that heavy metal chunk up from many decks below; or climb the many ladders that lead to the bridge and the high command of the ship, or just step up to the wheel, and see how it must have felt to be a sailor on duty at the helm, spinning that wheel from one side to the other, trying to keep the huge vessel from varying one degree off course; imagine trying to do it in a real storm or hurricane? It is one of those rare moments in a helmsman's career, when you have to fight that gigantic sea, spinning the helm back and forth, without varying off course, one degree. If you ever get the chance, take it, and you'll wonder how some of the sailors could have survived a night like the perfect storm or other such catastrophe. The BB62 was constructed at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, and then launched December 7, 1942, a year to the day that the infamous Pearl Harbor attack jerked the Americans into the WWII with such a dramatic and terrible attack that it is still honored today, and memorialized for the nation and its survivors from that horrible war. The vessel would become the second New Jersey, with the first being the BB16, which was a turn of the century ship in the 19th/20th century turnpoint. That vessel was a Virginia class pre-dreadnought that would serve from 1906 until 1922, when she was sunk as a bombing target. She was part of the Great White Fleet and was used as a training vessel during WWI.  The ship opened as a museum in October 2001, just a month after the infamous attacks on 9/11, and her history can be seen aboard her as you wander the decks of this outstanding living museum that honors the men that served on her during the many years that she would serve her country and its citizens.

    Adventure Aquarium
    Adventure Aquarium Camden, New JerseyThe Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey was the New Jersey State Aquarium, and is now a for profit educational and entertainment attraction that is located along the Delaware River and run by the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation, originally opened in 1992, and then after being altered into its present form, reopened in 2005, featuring about 8000 animals that live in various forms of freshwater, semi-aquatic and marine habitats. The total tank volume is more than 2 million gallons, and almost 200,000 square feet of space. The aquarium had been opened as the New Jersey State Aquarium at Camden, and run by the nonprofit New Jersey Academy for Aquatic Sciences that was devoted to educating the public about marine life and the conservation of its environments. The aquarium welcomed more than 1.6 million visitors in its first year, but there soon arose a controversy about the way it contained the animals, sometimes making it sound like a prison for fish, and ready to be demolished. There were numerous problems that had arisen since its construction, especially the concrete construction inside and out, with the tanks lined up like neat little boxes, poorly lit, no themes, not much graphics and the small feel of the main structure. But it would be the aquatic animals themselves that seemed to showcase the worst of the features, with just local native fishes being included in the exhibits, mostly brown and grey, without much other colors to make it seem more lifelike. By the end of their second year, their attendance had fallen to just 400,000, and the aquarium underwent a very intense rejuvenation, and didn't close, but continued to upgrade and transform the enclosures while keeping them closed until ready to be reopened. It did help somewhat, but not the effect that was desired, so in 1999, the state began looking for investors and found one in Steiner Associates, from Columbus, Ohio that had been the impetus for the Newport Aquarium in Kentucky. It would become the Adventure Aquarium and welcome two million visitors during its first two years of operation, with more attractions being enticed into relocating to the park area along the waterfront; that included the Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial, the Susquehanna Bank Center, the Victor Lofts, the River Line light rail system, the Wiggins Park Riverstage, the Camden's Children Garden, One Port Center and Campbell's Field, which had become home to the minor-league baseball team, the Camden Riversharks. In 2007, CURRENTS: the Ballroom at Adventure Aquarium would be added filling a 9000 square foot area in the North Building. Steiner Associates would sell out their interests in 2007 to the Herschend Family.

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    Stedman Art GalleryStedman Art Gallery Camden, New Jersey
    The Stedman Art Gallery in Camden, New Jersey is located on the campus of Rutgers University in their fine arts center, showcasing the outstanding works of contemporary American artists, after opening in 1975 to serve the student body and the community with excellent exhibitions hosted during the academic year and as a Museum Education Enrichment Program. Their growing collection concentrates on works of art on paper by contemporary American artists, along with hosting the works of other examples of art in other media and art that has been acquired through various means from other places and times. The gallery hosts a program of special events held throughout the year, like video programs, lectures, performances and art performances. Some of the current exhibitions include Staff Selects: Rutgers-Camden Collection of Art, with outstanding artists showcased like Salvador Dali, Robert Rauschenberg, Yvonne Jacquette, Glenn Ligon, Georges Rouault and Louis Sloan, plus many others. Another exhibit is Southern New Jersey Artists Redux that showcases the artists of the southern regions of the state, from 1984 through 1995, and includes the works of one artist each year to display and includes artists like Etta Winigrad, David Leppla, Pedro Fuller, Debra Sachs, Kumiko Murashima, Dolores Poacelli and Keith Ragone.

    Camden Children's Garden
    Camden Children's Garden Camden, New Jersey
    The Camden Children's Garden in Camden, New Jersey is run by the Camden City Garden Club and sits along the magnificent waterfront, right across from downtown Philadelphia, opened in 1999 and designed specifically for kids and their families. The 4.5 acre garden showcases a number of themed educational displays for children that encourage them to play and imagine, like the Red Oak Run, Dinosaur Garden, Tree House, Giant Picnic Garden, Cityscapes, Storybook Garden and more. Interior exhibits include a Puerto Rican tropical greenhouse display, Benjamin Franklin's Secret Garden and Workshop, the Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons Butterfly House and the Plaza de Aibonito. A majority of these exciting and beautiful gardens and displays had been part of the Philadelphia Flower Show originally and have now found a permanent home here. The garden contains three amusement types of rides that are the Spring Butterfly Ride, the carousel and the Arrow River Express Train Ride. It is closed during January and February, with garden festivals held during the months of April through November, as well as the yearly holiday special, the Festival of Lights.

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Local Restaurants in Camden

    Victor's Pub
    Entrees, served with house salad, soda, coffee or tea; crab cake with creamy mashed potatoes & fresh veggies; linguine & white clam sauce with fresh pasta & chopped clams in white wine lemon butter broth with fresh herbs; grilled pork chop with sweet potato fries & fresh veggies; lobster ravioli in white wine cheese sauce with roma tomatoes & sweet peppers; mussels fra diablo over fresh spaghetti topped with spicy housemade marinara & fresh herbs; grilled chicken Florentine is grilled chicken topped with sautéed spinach & melted greure cheese atop a green onion potato cake; flat iron steak with fresh veggies & mashed potatoes; grilled salmon atop dusted and fried eggplant ribbons with cucumber cream sauce.

    Filomena Lakeview
    Entrees served with house salad, Filomena's spicy peppers & rustic Italian bread; eggplant rollantini is stuffed with ricotta, gorgonzola, sundried tomatoes & spinach; tilapia Livornese is baked in the wood oven with cherry tomatoes, potato, olives, capers & white wine over spinach; chicken or veal al Limone is sautéed with exotic mushrooms in lemon garlic pinot grigio sauce with pasta; grilled shrimp & scallops spedini is bamboo skewered jumbo shrimp & sea scallops marinated in extra virgin olive oil, lemon & herbs with creamy roasted veggie risotto & pesto drizzle; chicken or veal saltimbocca alla romana is sautéed & topped with prosciutto, spinach & fresh mozzarella in mushroom demi-glace served over pasta; shrimp & crab diablo is shrimp & jumbo lump crab sautéed in spicy garlic white wine sauce or spicy marinara sauce over linguini; frutti di mare is sautéed lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams & mussels served in red or white sauce over linguini; chicken & lobster alla mauro is sautéed chicken breast & lobster tail with capers, asparagus & sundried tomatoes in garlic sauvignon blanc sauce over pasta; steak Fiorentina is grilled 20oz. T-bone steak marinated with extra virgin olive oil, lemon & herbs, served with red bliss smashed potatoes & a veggie; chicken arrabiata is sliced grilled chicken sautéed with Italian long hots in marinara sauce with penne pasta; brick oven roasted half chicken is garlic & herb marinated free range chicken served with red bliss smashed potatoes & veggie of the day; filet Gorgonzola is 10oz. char-grilled filet mignon topped with gorgonzola cheese, garnished with caramelized onions, served with red bliss smashed potatoes & veggie; filet Sinatra is 10oz. char-grilled filet topped with shrimp & jumbo lump crabmeat, served with red bliss smashed potatoes & veggie of the day.

Linguine & White Clam Sauce Victor's Pub Camden, New Jersey



 Veal Limone Filomena Lakeview Camden, New Jersey


Chicken & Lobster Alla Mauro Filomena Lakeview Camden, New Jersey



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    Walt Whitman House Walt Whitman House Camden, New Jersey
    The Walt Whitman House in Camden, New Jersey was the last residence of the famed American poet, Walt Whitman during his declining years before he passed on, and was known as Mickle Street during his lifetime. Whitman would suffer a paralytic stroke in 1893, and during May of the same year, his mother, Louisa Whitman passed on, leaving him in a desperate state of despair and depression. Louisa lived in Camden, and Walt would arrive just three days before she passed, going back to Washington, DC. where he had been living, and then came back to Camden to live with his brother, George, paying him room and board. They lived on Stevens Street and it became Walt's home for the next eleven years, with Walt going away to spend Christmas of 1883 with friends and his brother going on to Burlington, New Jersey to construct a farmhouse, with room for his brother. But, instead of moving in with his brother, he purchased the house on Mickle Street in the spring of 1884, at age 65 and the first house he ever owned. He called it his shanty or coop, which only seemed to emphasis the drabbiness and shabbiness of the house. George didn't think much of the purchase or house and it would strain their relationship for the remainder of his life. There were others that seemed displeased over the acquisition, with one friend calling it the "worst house and the worst situated". While another stated that it was the last place that one would expect a well known poet to buy for his house. The lot where the house would stand had been bought by a clerk named Adam Hare for $350 in 1847, and he would be the one credited with the construction of the house. When Walt bought it the house was a two story row house with six rooms and without any furnace or heat. The last occupant before Walt was Alfred Lay, the grandfather of one of his friends, and when Lay couldn't make the monthly payment for March, Walt would loan him the $16 he needed to pay. Walt bought the house for $1750, which he earned from the sale of a recent edition of Leaves of Grass and obtained a loan through his publisher, George William Childs. The Lays, Alfred and his wife, living there and cooking to pay for part of their rent and $2 a week, they would live there until 1885. Walt would eventually ask Mary Davis, a sailor's widow that lived just a few blocks from him, to come and be his housekeeper in exchange for free room and board, and so she moved in in February, 1885, with a dog, cat, canary, two turtledoves and various other animals. While living there, he would finish and publish a few poems, but during his years in the house would only earn about $1300, with $20 coming in from the royalties from his Leaves of Grass and $350 from new works, with the remainder coming in from friends and admirers in the form of donations. His health had been in constant decline since he moved into the house, but he took a long time to make preparations for his death. He would commission a $4000 granite house shaped mausoleum that he went to visit during its construction, and in the final week of his life, when he was too weak even to lift a fork to his mouth, he wrote: "I suffer all the time: I have no relief, no escape: it is monotony-monotony-monotony-in pain." He had worked on Leaves of Grass all his life, trying to refine it to the best possible finish, and that would be published in 1892, and called the deathbed edition. He passed away on March 26, 1892, a number of days before his 73rd birthday. His heirs would keep the house and contents intact, and sell it to the city in 1921, and opening five years later. Its ownership would be given to the state in 1947, and listed in the state's Department of Environmental Protection's Historic Preservation Office in 1971, and the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

    Camden County Historical Society
    Camden County Historical Society Camden, New JerseyThe Camden County Historical Society sits on the eastern edge of Collingswood, with a three building complex that is one of the biggest public history facilities in the region, with the society dedicated to preserving, celebrating and educating the community about the county's specially diverse history and culture. The society would begin in 1899, as a private nonprofit group that was dedicated to the collection, preservation and presentation of history in the form of historical resources, documents and relics that pertain to Camden County and South Jersey. The complex contains a museum, library, offices, 18th century mansion and auditorium that contains over 20,000 square feet of space, as well as another 10,000 square feet for service and storage, with the auditorium housing seating for 100. The Pomona Hall 18th century mansion began as a simple small wood framed house in 1718, and over the years would evolve into a magnificent mansion by 1788, after it had become the residence of Marmaduke Cooper, one of the richest businessman in the region. The mansion has been referred to as one of the best examples of a Georgian style plantation houses in the state, and after its complete renovation, it is now as splendid as it was during that period when Cooper transformed it. It is a marvelous venue for visitors to come and peruse, gaining a good sense of what the daily life of people was back then, with every room creatively kept so that the rooms seem to have a lived-in feeling. The outstanding furnishings and furniture are from that period and showcase perfectly what the rich would have in their homes during that time and the many amenities and possessions that they craved as part of their position. The spacious open hearth kitchen is fantastic with the walk-in open hearth fireplace, with a fully functional kitchen that offers visitors a glimpse into the traditional foods that were prepared here as well as cooked over the open fire pit. As with most houses of that period, and well into the 19th century, outside gardens were kept to supplement, if not fully supply the house with all the vegetables and other herbs and staples that were needed to supply a well rounded meal.

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    James Fenimore Cooper HouseJames Fenimore Cooper House Burlington City, New Jersey
    The James Fenimore Cooper House in Burlington City, New Jersey was constructed about 1780, and in 1789, it would become famous as the birthplace of one of America's best writers of the American wilderness. It would be acquired by the Burlington County Historical Society in 1923, that also owns the houses next to it that belonged to James Lawrence and the Bard-How House. The house has been painstakingly refurbished and renovated with four rooms of museum quality that showcase many of Cooper's relics, furnishings, implements and objects of the estate of Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother that settled not too far away from this city after the Battle of Waterloo.  The house has stuccoed walls that have been applied to look like stones, like many of the city's houses had during that period, along with finely detailed woodworks and the lovely proportioned windows. The house is now the headquarters for the Burlington County Historical Society, housing awesome collections of pictures, early documents and artifacts, that were placed in the former birthplace of Cooper, when his parents rented the house. He would live here for just a year and then move to New York with his family. Cooper may well be remembered for his outstanding novel, The Last of the Mohicans, which was made into a movie and then remade many decades later, putting him out into the forefront of American authors that wrote about the early days of our nation. The city of Burlington was one of the first settlements in the territory that would become New Jersey, in 1685, as the newcomers would have to make peace and friendship with the local native Americans; which is shown in his writings.

    Captain James Lawrence House
    Captain James Lawrence House Burlington City, New Jersey
    The James Lawrence House in Burlington City, New Jersey is a gray stucco with white shutters, and the birthplace of Captain James Lawrence in 1781. James would join the US Navy at the age of sixteen, becoming a midshipman on the USS Ganges, and then later given command of the frigate, Chesapeake. He was captain on board the USS Hornet, the first ship to be named that, and made a name for himself during the War of 1812 on board the sloop-of-war. He did such a great job as captain, he would be transferred and given command of the Chesapeake, and went to station at Boston Roads. He would be challenged by the British frigate, Shannon on June 1, 1813, and immediately put out to sea to be able to maneuver better against the oncoming ship. As the battle continued, at one point, both ships were able to get off a full broadside, which damaged the Chesapeake more than the Shannon, and the British began boarding her, while James was badly wounded. He yelled to the men, "Don't give up the ship", but it would be a moot gesture and the Americans surrendered. James died four days later and the British buried him with honors. His birthplace and early life was spent in the house that is part of a duplex, with one side being the birthplace of James Fenimore Cooper and the other side the birthplace of Lawrence. The house now belongs to the Burlington County Historical Society complex that also includes the Bard-How House and shows visitors the living conditions and furnishings for the period. James Lawrence became famous for his outstanding courage and tenacity, especially his words that failed to inspire the men, shouting to them, "Tell the men to fire faster and not to give up the ship; fight her till she sinks!" His last words of encouragement to his crew, "Don't give up the Ship" would become the battle cry for sailors forever, and become the motto for the US Navy, with six American ships named in his honor.

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    Bard-How HouseBard-How House Burlington City, New Jersey
    The Bard-How House in Burlington City, New Jersey was built in 1743, by Sarah and Bennett Pattison Bard, who lived there until 1756, when they sold it to Samuel How, Sr. Sam was a butcher and tavern owner by trade, as well as serving as a representative at the Provincial Congress of New Jersey and a justice of the Inferior Court of Common Pleas. Samuel passed on in 1782, and his sons inherited the house, living there until they passed. During the 20th century, the house was purchased by the historical society to preserve it and showcase the numerous antiques and artworks that were already there. There is one unique item in the house, a tall case clock that was created by Isaac Pearson in the 1740s, which is a beautiful example of the timepieces that were built back then, and how this magnificent clock has survived the centuries and still works perfectly.

    Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia
    Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, PennsylvaniaThe Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is right across the river from Camden, New Jersey and is the oldest natural science research facility and museum in the nation, beginning in 1812, by a large group of leading naturalists from this new nation. The group would instigate the cultivation of the sciences and encourage those that lived here to become more involved in the continued research of the natural sciences in relation to the new country that they had formed. After almost two centuries of existence, the academy has become the sponsor for numerous expeditions, worked on environmental and systematics research and gathered a huge natural history collection that has over 17 million specimens. The academy has continued its long traditions of educational programs for the community and the school age children, along with many public exhibitions. In the first few decades of existence, the nation was inhabiting mostly the eastern seaboard and it would naturally become evident that Philadelphia was the cultural capital and one of the new country's biggest commercial centers. The Library Company and the American Philosophical Society would eventually become important centers of enlightened thought and scientific discoveries, sitting in the center of the city. Even with these two outstanding facilities gathering as much information and samples as they could about the new nation's environment, the task at hand was becoming too large for either institution to handle, so the great thinkers and scientists of the period decided that a large organization would be the best tool to continue discovering the many facets of life and the natural resources that were still waiting for discovery. So, in the winter of 1812, a distinguished group of naturalists started the academy, in hopes of encouraging more naturalists to become involved in the continued discoveries and growth of the American sciences. The group would often look to their counterparts in Europe, for guidance, expertise and inspiration, there was such a vast difference between the two continents and their natural sciences and resources. After just a ten year period, the academy would become the unquestionable leader of the natural sciences in this country, with members constantly being asked to help with the national surveys with the western lands and other types of researches and expeditions. Some of the earliest members of the academy would become leaders in their own area of expertise and these included; John Godman, Titian Peale, William Bartram, Thomas Say, Richard Harlan, Alexander Wilson, Charles Alexandre Lesueur, Charles Pickering and William McClure. Other members that lived far from the academy but did contribute to it and these included; Thomas Jefferson from Virginia, John Edwards Holbrook of South Carolina, Thomas Nuttall and Richard Owen of the United Kingdom, Alexander von Humboldt of Prussia and George Cuvier of France. In the latter part of the 19th century, other well known and famous naturalists and scientists would become members, and these included; John James Audubon, John Lawrence LeConte, John Cassin, Charles S. Boyer, James Rehn, Ezra Townsend Cresson, Edward Drinker Cope, Richard Harlan, Isaac Lea, Joseph Leidy, George Ord, Ferndinand V. Hayden and Samuel Morton. The corresponding members include Charles Darwin, Thomas Henry Huxley and Asa Gray, with numerous members from the 20th century like, Ruth Patrick, James Bond, James Bohlke, Henry Weed Fowler, Henry Pilsbry and Witmer Stone.  Collections have always been the centerpiece of museums and the magnificent and expansive collections at the academy have grown to become one of the finest in the world, as well as being decidedly important and relavent to the world of science. The collections have grown significantly, with more than 17 million biological specimens and a plethora of reference materials that are included in the collections. There are hundreds of thousands of journals, volumes, photographs, books and archival materials in this excellent library. And the spectacular collections aren't there just to collect dust and fill rooms, but they are part and parcel of the vast cataloging of nature that has been undertaken and blossomed during the past two centuries. These collections have become invaluable aides in the library of biodiversity and biological taxonomy, offering scientists one of the most unimaginable reference materials in the world, and allowing scientists from around the world to investigate, categorize relationships, discover species identities, any kind of evolutionary history and their conservation status. It would be a labororious task to list just a part of the collections and the findings that have been discovered over the centuries, so the best thing for anyone interested in the marvelous collections is to travel to Philadelphia and search the outstanding collections and specimens yourself.

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    Arch Street Friends Meeting HouseArch Street Friends Meeting House Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    The Arch Street Friends Meeting House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is the oldest meetinghouse of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) still in use in the nation today, and the biggest in the world. Pennsylvania founder and Quaker, William Penn, gave the land to the society in 1693 as a burial ground for its members, with the meetinghouse being constructed in 1804 above the graveyard, until 1811, when it would be increased in size, adding a west wing to accommodate the Women's Monthly Meeting. The original east wing is now the repository for displays about the life of William Penn, with the west wing being used for meetings of the religious congregation. Some of the more famous members included Edward Hicks, the famous painter and cousin of Elias Hicks and the abolitionist Lucretia Mott. Some of the famous people that were buried there include; Charles Brockden Brown, the first American novelist, Samuel Carpenter and many of his family members, and his brother, Abraham Carpenter, not a Quaker, but married to one; with Sam being the deputy governor under William Penn and the first treasurer of the state, Robert Waln, a US Congressman, Lydia Darrah, a Revolutionary War spy, Samuel Nicholas, the founder and first commandant of the US Marine Corps, and James Logan, secretary to Penn. The site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, and the architect was Owen Biddle.  When you visit the austere meeting house for the first time, you will be surprised by the simplicity of the entire room, since there isn't a pulpit, no stained glass windows, but there is a light shining in from the windows that are there, no religious icons, anywhere, no shrines of any kind, but just a large square room with rows upon rows of wooden pews, all facing the center of the room. There is a balcony above the room with supports of Doric columns on three sides of the room, and as is the entire place, the floors are made of wood, and unvarnished or painted by anything. The colors are simple earth tones, brown and white, with a silence that is almost reverend and a simplicity that puts every visitor at ease within moments of coming inside. Quakers, that are also called the Society of Friends, don't have any written creed, no fixed beliefs and no definitive program of prayer, without music or sermons. There isn't a leader, or someone in charge, but all enter the room silently and wait the same way. It is the prerogative of any Quaker that "feels" the "light" or "spirit" to share the message or merely a prayer with the congregation. The Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of Friends that live in the city, or the southern half of New Jersey, Delaware and portions of Maryland come here to hold their meetings, as well as monthly business meetings; that has been continued since the early 19th century. The meeting house contains the entry hall and three sections that include the west wing, where the monthly Women's Meeting is held, is also used for the regular meetings; along with two staircases that go upstairs to the balcony. Besides the marvelous displays about William Penn, there is a dollhouse that represents the well known Quaker journal-keeper, Elizabeth Drinker and her husband, Henry. Her diary was written from 1759 to 1807 and is filled with so much information that the reader actually begins to feel as if they were transported back in time and sit at a dinner table with the Drinkers, as Elizabeth discusses the many happenings that occur. Whenever there are to be special events or show, there are held in the east wing. In front of the meeting house, there sits a horse watering trough that takes one back to the era of horse and buggy, which had been built by the Philadelphia Fountain Society, Instituted A.D. 1869 and "Presented by a Lady". The trough had been sitting in front of Independence Hall, but when it was being refurbished, the trough that sat in front of the meeting house was in much better shape so they swapped them. 

    Betsy Ross House
    Betsy Ross House Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is believed to be the house where Betsy made the first American flag, according to many members of her surviving family that included, daughters, grandchildren and niece. The quaint little house is just a few blocks from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell, with the front or facade being constructed in 1740, after the Georgian style of architecture, with the stair hall and the back part being added in 1750 or 1760. Betsy lived here with her husband, John Ross, from 1773 until 1785. During the decades after, the house began to fall into disrepair and neglect, until 1937, when Philly radio magnate, A. Atwater Kent would offer $25,000 to have the historical old house restored and commissioned local historical architect, Richardson Brognard Okie to do the work, making sure that all original elements would be saved, and using materials from the period that had been found in other houses that were being taken down. They would reconstruct the back portion using period bricks, and the entire front and dormer had to be replaced. The front entry door would be moved to the other corner and a new window put in. Kent bought the two adjacent properties so that a civic garden could be created, and by 1941, the entire complex would be given to the city, with an annex added in 1965 and in 1974 the courtyard rejuvenated and a fountain installed. As the nation prepared for its bicentennial, the remains of Betsy and her third husband, John Claypool were moved to the grounds and buried in the courtyard. The house has become the city's site for observance of Flag Day. TAPS would visit the house during the first episode of its fifth season, for the show Ghost Hunters.  Betsy's story is one of the millions that became part of the framework of this great nation, and just many of her peers, her life would have its ups and downs, but never out until the end, which would catch up with her at the grand old age of 84. She was hardly ever alone, although her three husbands would pass before her, she had children and grandchildren a plenty to keep her busy besides her business and her faith. She is one of the great heroines of this country and without women like her, we might not have made it to the beginning of a third century. Although the world has grown closer in many ways, there is still a division between the faiths, which is leading the entire world into a terrible apocalypse, not one of God's creation, but one of our own, as we strive to live better, longer and more prosperously. But with women like Betsy and men that has helped build this country into what it is, we shall surely overcome all obstacles, like we have done for the past two centuries.

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May 12, 2011