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One Of Many Things To Do In Philadelphia

The Franklin Court is one of the top historic sites in Philadelphia.

When all of us were in elementary school and learning about American History, we learned the name Benjamin Franklin. But for a child, trying to understand Benjamin Franklin’s life and legacy was like trying to grab a shadow. Each time one tries to get a fix on the reflection, it darts away and grows even larger.

Benjamin Franklin, in addition to his kite-flying career, was perhaps the most historically fascinating personality in Revolutionary Philadelphia. He moved from Boston to Philadelphia at the age of 17. He was a printer, diplomat, inventor, publisher, author, statesman, Postmaster, and more. He founded the Library Company, Pennsylvania Hospital, American Philosophical Society, and the University of Pennsylvania.

FRANKLIN COURT should be on your the list of the most historic sites to see in Philadelphia.

In the court itself once stood Ben Franklin’s house. What is known of the house is that it was 3 stories high, covered 33 feet square, and included 10 rooms. The house was razed in 1812. Because no historical records of the look of the exterior exist, the space once occupied by the house is marked by a wonderful, oversized “Ghost Structure” designed by world-famous architect Robert Venturi and built in 1976 for the bicentennial. You can look through portals to see into Franklin’s privy pits, wells, and foundation. An extremely rare Bristol punchbowl and other ceramic artifacts were found in the privy pit.

Here is what Trip Advisor says about Franklin’s Court.

Below the court is a museum filled with paintings, objects, and inventions associated with Benjamin Franklin. You will see a pretty reproduction of Franklin’s Armonica, also called a glass harmonica, which consists of a set of graduated glass bowls on a rotating shaft that produce tones when a finger is pressed to the moistened rims. Mozart wrote a piece just for Franklin’s new instrument. Other Ben Franklin inventions you can see here include a Franklin stove and the swim fin (Franklin was, after all, a champion swimmer in his day). The main room has a phone bank where you can listen to testimonies about Franklin based on the words of Washington, Mozart, and D.H. Lawrence, among others.

This historic site in Philadelphia will allow you see exhibits that include Pony Express pouches and originals of Franklin’s Pennyslvania Gazette. Did you know that this is the only active post office in the United States that does not fly a United States flag (because there wasn’t yet one in 1775)? The postmark “B. Free Franklin” is still used to cancel stamps.

Here you will see an architectural exhibit about Franklin’s interest in fire-resistant buildings. Walls are fully exposed to reveal wooden joists separated by masonry and plaster. In the cellar are collections of pottery and glassware, collected from his privy pits. This is truly an historic attraction in Philadelphia that shouldn’t be missed.

Demonstrations of 18th century printing and binding equipment are on display. Printing demonstrations are given by Park Services rangers. This is the restored office of The Aurora and general Advertiser, the newspaper published by Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache.Ben Franklin

Much of what Ben Franklin did was directed to improving his city and the lives of his fellow Philadelphians. Fittingly, Franklin’s legacy is mostly found in Philadelphia. From the societies and public institutions that he helped found, to the institutions and neighborhoods that bear his name, to the businesses that today use his likeness, to the Benjamin Franklin Bridge and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia is still very much Franklin’s city.

“No other town burying its great man, ever buried more of itself than Philadelphia with Franklin,” wrote Carl Van Doren in his biography of Franklin.

Franklin himself had composed the black-bordered Pennsylvania Gazette which announced his death. Dr. Jones, Franklin’s physician, informed the readers of Franklin’s final illness. He had been suffering from empyema, pus filling in his lung brought on by attacks of pleurisy many years earlier. His temperature was high. This made breathing laborious, and he almost suffocated. After several days of breathing woes, the pain went away for a day, upon which he left his bed and asked that it be made properly so that he might have a dignified death. His daughter, Sally, told him that she hoped he would live many years more. “I hope not,” he replied. An abscess in Franklin’s lung burst and he passed into a coma. He died on April 17, 1790, with his grandsons William Temple and Bennie at his side. Benjamin Franklin was 84 years old.

On April 21, the funeral procession gathered at the State House. Leading the cortege was the clergy of Philadelphia. Though Franklin was not a regular churchgoer by any means, he had aided the churches by raising funds to help their construction. His coffin was carried by the citizenry of Philadelphia. Dignitaries surrounded the Pall including Revolutionary Era Philadelphia mayor Samuel Powell, astronomer David Rittenhouse, and several members of Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council. Judges and current Philadelphia politicians were also in the mix.
They were followed by the printers of the city and their apprentices. Franklin always considered himself a leather apron man, a mechanic, a printer. “Keep they Trade, and thy Trade will keep Thee.”
Then came members of the American Philosophical Society, which was co-founded by Franklin in the 1740’s. Next came members of the College of Physicians. Franklin was a founding member of the Academy, which became the College of Philadelphia, which had created the College of Physicians, the first medical school in the country. The Society of Cincinnati found its way into the procession, though Franklin had derided their philosophy of making honor hereditary.

On the cortege wound, composed of citizens of all stripes, headed toward the Christ Church burial ground. It is estimated that 20,000 mourners gathered for the funeral. Bells of the city church’s were muffled and tolled. When Franklin had arrived in Philadelphia’s port on October 6, 1723, he was a broke runaway. Now the ships in the very same harbor Franklin had arrived in flew their flags at half-mast for the man who had enriched the world.

Ben Franklin is to be admired, to be praised for his dedication to Philadelphia and his fellow man.
More On The Ben Franklin House.

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One Of Many Things To Do In Philadelphia

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