Take a moment to think about the history of America. Think about the wars, the Declaration of Independence, and the houses people built to settle and make their home. What city comes to mind first? While most people think of Washington, D.C., when discussing history, Philadelphia is a city that holds some of the most powerful artifacts and pieces of history. So much happened in and around this special place. From wars fought on its land to buildings of significance, Philadelphia played a huge role in the colonization and freedom of America.
1. Eastern State Penitentiary
When I think of a prison, thoughts of pretty architecture are the furthest from my mind. Benjamin Franklin, eager to help instead of punish prisoners, had this stunning penitentiary built. With castle features, stone walls, and isolated cells, this building is a mixture of beautiful and creepy.
2. Independence Hall
When I think about the start of America, my mind automatically thinks of the Declaration of Independence. So you might say that this building is where America all began, when that life-changing piece of paper was signed.
3. Franklin Court
Fall back in history with a stroll down Franklin Court. In the early 1800s, Benjamin Franklin’s house was torn down, but in its place is an outline of his home built with a steel frame. There is an adorable original post office where you can send some mail to loved ones back home.
4. The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell is a piece of history that signifies America’s freedom. At the Liberty Bell Center, you can get historical information and see this storied artifact for free.
5. Valley Forge National Historical Park
While pondering our freedom, I am always reminded of the lives lost at war to obtain this luxury. Here on the open fields, you can be reminded of the deadly battle fought at Valley Forge.
6. The Betsy Ross House
This house is really old — I am talking a 250-year-old house. With furniture created for the time period and a Betsy Ross re-enactor, this place gives you a real taste of what life was like back then, along with a remembrance of the first sewn American flag.
7. Elfreth’s Alley
This street is a fun sight to see. It’s the first residential street in America, and you can believe that American history really did begin here. There are original homes and a museum along the road to see and even explore. Some homes even have people living in them. How amazing would it be to live in one of the first homes ever built in the United States? Amazing!
8. Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site
Whether you have a soft spot for literature or not, this house, lived in by one of the first American writers, is worth a visit. With red brick and an authentic city feel, this house will charm your heart.
9. Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion and the Grange Estate
With design on my mind, there is nothing more fun than looking at historical mansions. The Victorian era is one of my favorites for architecture, and these homes captures every tiny detail with eloquent touches. Homes like these add to the overall authentic history of Philadelphia.