Last week we left the great Liberty Bell ringing in your mind's ear. But in my haste I failed to give the source of the immortal proclamation, dies cast on the upper surface of the bell - in two circles "Proclaim Liberty Throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants Thereof." - Lev. 25:10. The echoes of that clear ring, first heard on July 4, 1776, are still heard in every corner of the world. At the tolling of the bell when the great statesman, John Marshall, died, the great bell cracked. It somehow seems symbolic of our government at the present time - badly cracked. But Friends,
it is not broken. Yes, we saw the East Room, known as the "Declaration Room," where the historic signing desk, the quill pen, the silver ink stand, the chairs, are held sacred. You would not believe how beautiful is this room - in fact, the whole interior of this grand old building. We visited next the quaint Betsy Ross house. From the dormer window set in its steep gable roof, flies a replica of that original flag, with its 13 stars, which Betsy designed. The house meets the sidewalk - has no steps outside, except those leading to the cellar. The old-fashioned sloping cellar door juts out, to trip the unwary pedestrian. In 1927, Mr. A. Atwater Kent, the god-father of radio (remember?) completely restored this house, replacing the furniture, the cooking utensils - everything as Mrs. Ross' descendants could recall and describe the original. Betsy had four daughters. Of course we missed much more than we saw; for instance, the great Franklin Institute, whose exterior is magnificent. There is housed the Fels Planetarium, one of four in this country.
We did see the beautiful Christ Church, where Benjamin Franklin and many other famous men worshipped. Benjamin's body lies in the little church yard. The Art Museum there is one of the finest in the world. The Fairmont Park is the largest municipal park in the world. Everything in that city is built to endure. There is a serenity and a stability about Philadelphia that we found in no other city. One of the fascinating relics of days gone by is the "busy body." The early homes were built - mainly of brick - three and four stories high - and flush with the sidewalk. The people who lived on third or fourth floors could not busy body run downstairs every time the knocker or gong sounded. So they had these metal periscopes installed just below their front windows. They could see who was at their front door; and for the snoopy type it was an excellent method of seeing what was going on in the passing parade - without being seen. Hence the term "busy body." Very few are left on these buildings.
In the afternoon we took the trolley - to visit the Philadelphia Carpet Co., for whom Virgil is "warehouse superintendent" in Cleveland. That is a most fascinating tour - watching the great looms at work - watching the shuttle go through as if jet propelled. The jacquard design is brought about by great heavy sheets of paper with small holes in design - looking much like the old player-piano rolls. That tour is a story in itself.
I am writing this at a bus depot - between buses headed for Cleveland. And now I must stop. Next week: Valley Forge.
Florence B. Taylor
Next - 12/13/51 - Valley Forge - Pearl Harbor Day!
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