The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
‘Jefsin Stasun’ is located downtown in ‘The City’ six blocks away from the Independence Hall Mall. I didn’t exactly walk into a storm when I left Jefferson Station but I did walk into the noise. Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and the fifth most populous city in the United States behind only NYC, LA, Chicago and Houston. The 1,560,297 folks living here is a few more than Forest County’s 7,659. And yes, Philadelphia is the only consolidated county-city in the United States. Being so large means tons of traffic and loads of people walking the streets. Tons of traffic and loads of people means noise. So, I was in the noise but it was a pleasant noise. Several times I asked directions from folks who were street cleaners or security persons and all were courteous and friendly. I was having a very pleasant experience walking to Independence Hall.
Most of you are aware that William Penn founded the city to serve as the capital of the Pennsylvania Colony in 1682. ‘The City’ is the site of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the Constitution in 1787. Our Nation’s capital was located in Philadelphia a couple of times before there were enough buildings to move the capital to the District of Columbia.
Swedes, Dutch, Finns and Lenape’s all laid claim to the area that includes today’s Philadelphia. ‘Ownership’ was finally settled by the British in 1681 with the charter given to William Penn.
Penn named the city Philadelphia, which is Greek for brotherly love (from philos, “love” or “friendship”, and adelphos, “brother”). As a Quaker, Penn had experienced religious persecution and wanted his colony to be a place where anyone could worship freely. This tolerance, far more than afforded by most other colonies, led to better relations with the local Native tribes and fostered Philadelphia’s rapid growth into America’s most important city. However, Philly sports fans lost that tolerance for opposing sports fans over the years. The Philly fans’ attitude explains why the ‘P’ on my hat is a Philly ‘P’ instead of a Pittsburgh ‘P’. Did you know that the Philadelphia fans gave the name ‘Pirates’ to the team formerly known as the ‘Alleghenys’ after Pittsburgh ‘stole’ an infielder from the Philadelphia Athletics (The Athletics now play in Oakland, Ca. by way of Kansas City, Mo.)? You can look it up! Just Google Lou Bierbauer. The photo of the Alleghenys is from an earlier era but I love the facial hair on the players in this photo.
One block before my destination was the James A. Bryant U.S. Courthouse. A guard was standing under building’s sign and I asked to take his picture. He had to refuse but shared some thoughts on the building he was guarding and the great city Philadelphia was. I took a photo of me where the guard had been. The guard shared that this courthouse was named after a guy who was never a lawyer. So, of course, I looked it up and guess what, James A Bryant was a mortician who held various political offices in Pennsylvania in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. Hey, you never know when this might come up in a trivia contest.
Sermon alert: Sometimes we forget we’re founded as a nation intending to provide liberty and freedom for all people. Being free doesn’t mean I grab my own rights, being free means I protect my neighbor’s rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness. No race of people, ethnic group, gender, minority or religion should have to suffer pain in our country. No race of people, ethnic group, gender, minority or religion should cause any others to suffer pain in our country. All of us are called as American citizens to respect and defend our neighbor’s rights. We can be a Nation steeped in compassion and consideration for others. I believe this is what the Liberty Bell symbolizes. End of sermon.
After a time to reflect and ponder I needed a kraut dog and looking to my right saw two food wagons on the corners next to Independence Hall. Well I made the right choice by choosing Little Italy. This wagon was ‘manned’ by Darla and she is one fantastic energetic lady. She was helping out her daughter who owns the establishment so I think I was lucky to catch Darla serving up the hot dogs. She is a grandmother who lives in New Jersey and drives into ‘The City’ to help at Little Italy. We hit it off instantly and I hung out at Little Italy for a long time sharing this moment on the journey with Darla. I told here she serves up a great hot dog and she replied, “I also can pose well.” We had a fantastic conversation and I hope I am fortunate to hang out with Darla again. As I was walking away she exclaimed. “You made my day.” Well, Darla you made my day too.
I walked back to Jefferson Station with a spring in my step to catch the train for my return to Media. My day in Southeastern Pennsylvania had been a special experience and I was wondering why it took me so long to gather up the ‘courage’ to explore Delaware County and ‘The City’. My car was even still parked where I left it when I returned to Media. It was a great day.
See you next time.