Philadelphia is one of the United States’ oldest cities. Philadelphia was the birthplace of the country that we now know as the United States of America. If there is anything that you may know about the U.S., you will know that Washington, D.C. is the nation’s capital. However, when the United States first started as a country, Philadelphia served as the nation’s capital.
The most important event that established the United States of America as a country took place in Philadelphia. That event is the Declaration of Independence which freed the country from British rule and established itself as an independent country with 13 states on July 4th, 1776. You can explore the history with the Philadelphia walking tour called “Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia”.
The Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia is hosted by Philadelphia Urban Adventures. This walking tour will stop at various historical sites that played a role in Philadelphia’s history as the birthplace of the United States of America. Let’s go over all of the places that you will stop at during this walking tour of Philadelphia.
Betsy Ross House
(Photo courtesy of Beyond My Ken via Wikipedia)
Your first stop will be at the Betsy Ross House. This is a charming house on Arch Street about a few blocks away from Independent Hall and the Liberty Bell. This is where the very first flag of the United States of America was created. The flag was created by Betsy Ross who once lived in this house.
This walking tour doesn’t include admission into the house itself. But, you can soak in the external details of the house as you pass along on the walking tour, including the U.S. flag that is neatly perched onto the house’s wall.
Next, you will be walking around the narrow back alleys of Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, including Elfreth’s Alley. Elfreth’s Alley is the United States’ oldest residential street, having been dated to as far back as 1702 when the U.S. was still under British rule.
The houses located on Elfreth’s Alley are built in the colonial architecture style. These houses are built with brickwork and fronts the street that is made of cobblestones. The surrounding area is now home to trendy cafes, shops, and art galleries.
Your next stop on the walking tour will be the Christ Church. This is a historical Christian church where the nation’s founding fathers, like George Washington and Ben Franklin, once worshipped. The church also gave birth to the Episcopal Church in the country. At the time of the country’s founding, the church’s tower and steeple was the tallest structure in the country at 196 feet tall.
Depending on if the Christ Church is open and available for public tours at the time of your walking tour, you will be able to enter the church building as a part of this walking tour. Once the Christ Church stop-by is done, you will be heading to a nearby coffee shop for a short break.
This will be your opportunity to ask the guide any questions related to Philadelphia’s history. You can order snacks and/or drinks at the coffee shop if you like. Any snacks and/or drinks that you order there will be on your own expense.
Once your break has ended, you will then be heading to Franklin Court. Franklin Court is a historical site that used to host the residence of Ben Franklin. Ben was one of the founding fathers of the United States. In addition to being a founding father, Ben was also a renowned inventor during the time of the country’s founding.
The residence itself is no longer there. However, the historical site hosts the archaeological and architectural remains of the residence that was once there. The location of Ben’s residence is traced with steel “ghost structures”. The site also house a museum that is dedicated to the life of Ben and his inventions.
You will be heading into the Franklin Court site as a part of the walking tour. There are two beautiful entrances to the site. One entrance is on a path made of cobblestones. The other entrance is through the original brick passageway.
During the first decade of the United States’ existence as an independent country, Philadelphia served as the capital of the country. As a consequence of this, a residence had to be built specifically to house the President of the U.S.. This beautiful residence is known as the President’s House. The President’s House is the predecessor to the White House which is the current residence of the President of the U.S..
The President’s House was home to the first two presidents of the country. George Washington was the first resident. He lived there from November 1790 to March 1797. John Adam was the second president to live at the residence. He lived there from March 1797 to May 1800. Entrance into the President’s House is included as a part of this walking tour.
Dream Garden Glass Mosaic
The next stop on this walking tour of Philadelphia is the Dream Garden Glass Mosaic. The Dream Garden Glass Mosaic is a hidden gem that is tucked away into the lobby of an office building known as the Curtis Center. It is home to a beautiful glass mosaic mural known as the Dream Garden.
Unfortunately, the Dream Garden isn’t open during the weekends or holidays. So, if you want to enter the Dream Garden and soak in such a beautiful glass mosaic mural, I recommend that you book this walking tour on a non-holiday weekday.
Washington Square Park
You will head next to beautiful Washington Square Park. This is one of the oldest parks designed in the country. The park was built by William Penn in 1683. While you are here, you will be hearing stories about William Penn. He was the founder of Philadelphia. He found and planned Philadelphia in 1682, just under a century before the city became the birthplace of the U.S..
Tomb of the Unknown Solider of the American Revolution
The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is a graveyard located within Washington Square Park. The graveyard is the burial ground for all of the Americans who fought in the American Revolution war against British rule. There is a possibility that you will be heading into the graveyard as a part of the walking tour.
Independence National Historical Park
Your next stop on this walking tour is Independence National Historical Park. This is Philadelphia’s most notable park as this is where two of the most important events in the founding of the United States took place. Even though admission into the buildings themselves aren’t part of this walking tour, you will still get to soak in the beauty of these places from the outside.
The park contains a few places that are related to the founding of the country and to Philadelphia’s historical status as the nation’s capital.
(Photo courtesy of Captain Albert E. Theberge via Wikipedia)
This is the most important building, not just in Philadelphia, but also in the United States. This is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed. The Declaration of Independence freed the country from British rule on July 4th, 1776. The U.S. Constitution was ratified on June 21st 1788 in order to serve as the supreme law that governs the United States.
(Photo courtesy of tim eschaton via Wikipedia)
Congress Hall is where the U.S. Congress conducted its legislative business when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital. During that time, the U.S. Congress admitted three new states to the nation for a total of 16 states at that time. George Washington and John Adams were both inaugurated as presidents at Congress Hall. The Bill of Rights under the U.S. Constitution was ratified here as well.
Old City Hall
Old City Hall served as the United States Supreme Court during Philadelphia’s status as the nation’s capital. There were three chief justices on the bench during the time. These chief justices were John Jay, John Rutledge, and Oliver Ellsworth.
Old City Arts District
This is the last stop of this walking tour. You will be stopping at a local bar where you can enjoy a drink. The drinks will be paid for by the walking tour guide.
This concludes the Founding Fathers Tour of Philadelphia walking tour. This walking tour will last for about 2 hours overall. The price for this walking tour will be $39 per adult and about $34 per child aged 6 and up. Children under the age of 6 get to join for free.