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History in Philadelphia

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  • Centennial Bank

    Frank Furness (1876)

    Centennial Bank

    Centennial Bank, restored by Drexel University, includes such typical Furness devices as squat columns, pointed windows, and decorative brick patterns.

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  • Chester County Historical Society

    Focusing a spotlight on local history and handicrafts

    This gem of a small museum displays its permanent collections as regally and thoughtfully as any major museum. Exhibits afford a glimpse into the life of the early residents, the local iron industry and the artistry of the Welsh settlers who decorated furniture with a unique line and berry inlay design. The History Lab, a large room full of hands-on activities for tots through teens, is especially inviting, with its Chippendale-style chair to construct and a Civil War officer’s coat to don.

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  • Christ Church

    Where Colonial America made its break with the Church of England

    The Christ Church Sanctuary

    Where Colonial America made its break with the Church of England.

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  • Christ Church Burial Ground

    Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders

    Christ Church Burial Ground Visit the graves of Benjamin Franklin and other early American leaders View More
  • City Hall

    The largest municipal building in the country and the finest example of the Second Empire style

    Philadelphia City Hall

    City Hall is the largest municipal building in the United States, containing over 14.5 acres of floor space. It is an architectural treasure inside and out.

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  • Cliveden

    The suburban scene of a bloody revolutionary battle

    Exterior of Cliveden.

    Now a six-acre oasis in the middle of a bustling Philadelphia neighborhood, Cliveden was an estate in the suburb of Germantown built just before the Revolutionary War by the Chew family. One of the most lavish mansions of its era, Cliveden is stocked with furniture and artifacts designed to evoke Colonial times.

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  • Congress Hall

    Home of the U.S. Congress from 1790-1800

    Like the democratic ideals it once served, Congress Hall is simple, but powerful. The nation’s fledgling legislature occupied the former County Court House, a two-story brick Georgian structure that characterized Congress’ roles.

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  • Declaration (Graff) House

    Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence here

    Declaration (Graff) House

    The all-important words that created a new nation were written by Thomas Jefferson at the home of Jacob Graff. Jr. Visitors can view first-floor exhibits and a short film regarding Jefferson’s endeavors at the home where he rented two second-floor rooms from Graff, a well-known bricklayer.

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  • Dolley Todd (Madison) House

    Home of the woman who would become First Lady

    Home of the woman who would become First Lady View More
  • Eastern State Penitentiary

    Radical 19th century prison designed to create social change

    The looming exterior of Eastern State Penitentiary

    Eastern State Penitentiary set the standard for penal reform, with its soaring, castle-like Gothic architecture and its founders’ Quaker-inspired belief that solitary confinement could reform criminals.

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  • Eastern State Penitentiary Tour

    See Al Capone’s prison cell

    Philadelphia’s massive prison features several dramatic vistas in the prison’s cathedral-like cellblocks.

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  • Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion and The Grange Estate

    Victorian mansions of the upper-middle and upper class

    Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion

    The simplicity of Philadelphia’s Quaker background was no match for the excess of the Victorian era.

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  • Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site

    The house where Poe wrote and published some of his greatest tales

    Edgar Allan Poe House

    Poe (1809-1849), one of America’s most original writers, lived in this red brick home with his wife, Virginia, and his mother-in-law, Maria Clemm, for about a year.

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  • Elfreth’s Alley

    The nation’s oldest continuously inhabited street

    Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia

    Butchers. Bakers. Candlestick-makers. Named for blacksmith and property-owner Jeremiah Elfreth, Elfreth’s Alley was home to the 18th century artisans and trades-people who were the backbone of colonial Philadelphia.

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  • Erdman Hall Dormitory (Higher Education)

    Louis I. Kahn (1914)

    A recent restoration by Bryn Mawr College has returned the distinctive slate and concrete structure to its original condition.

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  • Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center

    The nation’s first municipal water treatment center

    Fairmount Water Works

    The Fairmount Water Works, one of Philadelphia’s architectural icons, now is an exciting combination of environmental education, architectural history and cultural heritage.

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  • Fireman’s Hall

    The history of firefighting in an old firehouse

    Stained glass window at Fireman's Hall

    Nestled in the narrow streets of Philadelphia’s historic district, Fireman’s Hall is dedicated to the art and science of firefighting through the last three centuries.

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  • Fort Mifflin

    The fort that withstood the greatest bombardment of the American Revolution

    Fort Mifflin

    The fort that withstood the greatest bombardment of the American Revolution

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  • Franklin’s Print Shop

    Benjamin Franklin’s 18th century printing shop

    Benjamin Franklin’s 18th century printing shop.

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  • Germantown White House (Deshler-Morris House)

    George Washington’s White House in Germantown

    Deshler-Morris House

    George Washington’s White House in Germantown

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  • Graeme Park

    Colonial Home of provincial governor Sir William Keith

    Graeme Park

    Built in 1722, the manor originally belonged to Sir William Keith, William Penn’s provincial governor in his new colony.

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  • Grumblethorpe

    John Wister’s 1740’s Germantown summer home and orchard

    Grumblethorpe

    John Wister practically invented the American dream.

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  • Harriton House

    Home of Charles Thomson, secretary of the Continental Congresses

    Perched amidst 16 acres of parklands, Harriton House quietly holds a place in America’s history.

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  • High Hollow

    George Howe (1886-1955)

    High Hollow is typical of the many beautiful country homes Howe designed in the early part of his career.

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  • Historic Fallsington

    A 300 year-old Quaker village

    A cabin at Historic Fallsington

    A 300 year-old Quaker village

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  • Historic Houses of Chadds Ford

    Pre-Revolutionary War homes on the National Register of Historic Places

    Pre-Revolutionary War homes on the National Register of Historic Places

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  • Hope Lodge Mather Mill

    Georgian mansion in colonial and colonial revival decoration

    Georgian mansion in colonial and colonial revival decoration

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  • Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site

    An early American “Iron Plantation” — a forerunner of today’s iron and steel industries

    Hopewell Furnace

    Forging weapons and ammunition for the American Revolution

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  • Independence After Hours

    A sneak peek at Philadelphia’s history after hours

    Prepare yourself for a V.I.P. night…Colonial style! Enjoy a delicious, three-course meal at historic City Tavern, before heading out on an evening of adventure.

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  • Independence Hall

    Birthplace of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution

    Independence Hall

    They risked everything — “their lives, their fortune and their sacred honor.” During the blistering summer of 1776, 56 courageous men gathered at the Pennsylvania State House and defied the King of England. Eleven years later, representatives from 12 states gathered to shape the U.S. Constitution, finally creating one unified nation.

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