Sunday, June 19, 2016

Gettysburg, Philadelphia & Capitols (Pennsylvania, New Jersey & Delaware)

Monday, April 25th - Friday, May 6th

Monday we moved here to Gettysburg Battlefield Resort, a very nice campground and just a couple miles from everything Gettysburg related.

We drove to the Visitor Center where we watched the movie and the wonderful cyclorama, a 360 degree painting done after the Civil War with sound and light added to bring it to life, with all the different battles taking place all around you.  The artist visited with veterans after the war at the battlefield to get all the details right.  We came back on Tuesday to do the very good museum and had a late lunch at Pickett's Buffet where all the tour buses stop.

Wednesday we drove to Harrisburg to tour the 1906 Pennsylvania Capitol.  In the foreground is Soldiers Grove with memorials to Medal of Honor recipients from Pennsylvania.  Each band of concrete marks a conflict, spaced to symbolize the time between military actions.

A little closer view.

Closer still.

The sweeping Carrara marble staircase was inspired by the staircase at the Paris Opera.  The floor is Pennsylvania-made tiles, including 377 mosaic tiles with themed pictures set chronologically from Indian artifacts to telephones and automobiles.

It's a really beautiful building.

Looking up at the 272 foot, 52 million pound dome, modeled after St. Peter's in Rome.  It is ringed by medallions representing art, law, religion and science.  There are four larger murals representing coal, oil, steel and William Penn's ships coming to the New World.

Even the side wings are gorgeous.  Even up on the 4th and 5th floors where there are just offices, it is very beautiful, but not quite as ornate.

The Supreme Court was having a little restoration done.

This is the Hall of the House with 14 stained glass windows weighing 200 pounds each.  The marble is from the Pyrenees Mountains in France.

In the Hall of the Senate the green marble lining the walls, called Connemara, is from Ireland.  The drapes weigh 80 pounds per pair, the bronze light fixtures weigh two tons each and the 1906 desks are made of mahogany from Belize.

Notice all the stained glass windows and all the smaller round ones above framed in gold leaf.

Leaving the Capitol looking out at the Medal of Honor plaques in the ground and the State Street Bridge Bridge, or Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge, in the distance over Paxton Creek on the Susquehanna River.  It is a memorial for the U.S. Armed Services in WWI and all preceding wars.  The two 145-foot bridge pylons in the background are 16' wide with 21' tall eagles on top that weigh 270 tons each.  One signifies the Army and the other the Navy.  Each of the four faces on the two pylons has a year on it for the eight wars that preceded WWI.  The keystone of each arch of the bridge has a carving of a weapon that was developed and used during WWI.

View from the side steps of the Capitol.  Just around the corner from here is Tanner's Alley where a couple of homes on the Underground Railroad hid fugitive slaves.

Next we went to the State History Museum next door.  This is some of the 162-piece silver service from the U.S.S. Pennsylvania, made in 1904 with over 12,000 ounces of silver.

This colorful sleigh carried passengers and mail on wintry New England roads.

This drum was used at Lincoln's funeral procession and while he lay in state at Independence Hall.

Portrait of General John White Geary at Gettysburg painted in 1866 by J.M. Boundy during his campaign for Governor.  At 6'5" and 250 pounds he was regarded as a giant.  He was the first of four Pennsylvania governors to use his military record as a stepping stone to the governorship, like veterans in many other states.

Elaborate, exotic landscapes were popular in the early 19th century.  French wallpaper was manufactured depicting Roman ruins, natives on Pacific Islands and Niagara Falls.  Itinerate artists painted murals for room and board for the same effect.  These are 5 of 18 removed from a house in Parkesburg, Pa.  Imagine each wall in your house covered with murals like this.

An apprentice pharmacist made the first banana split at Tassel's Pharmacy in Latrobe, Pa. in 1904.  It was popular with students at a nearby college and cost 10 cents.

Robert James debuted his "slinky" at Gimbel's Department Store in Philadelphia, where he sold 400 in 90 minutes.  Isn't that the store that was across the street from Macy's in the movie Miracle on 34th Street?  In 1998 James Industries sold Slinky to ALEX Toys.  They are still made in Hollidaysburg, Pa. and it is the official state toy of Pennsylvania.

In 1668 William Penn was imprisoned in the Tower of London under charges of blasphemy for his writings about the Quaker faith that defied the Church of England, questioning the traditional Protestant and Catholic beliefs.  In 1681 King Charles II granted Penn a charter of 45,000 acres along the Delaware River in compensation for a debt owed to his father (Admiral in the Royal Navy), for whom the colony is named Penn's Woods (sylvania is Latin for woods).  He left Europe dreaming of a harmonious colony and established a representative government with separation of church and state and eliminated nobility and ranks.  It stressed self-rule and the peaceful coexistence of differing cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds.  The Penn and Calvert (Lord Baltimore of Maryland) families commissioned Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to settle a long-running boundary dispute.  From 1763 to 1767 they surveyed and marked boundaries between Maryland, Pennsylvania and the three lower counties that became Delaware under Lord Delaware.  These stone markers along the Mason-Dixon line became symbolic of the division between slave-holding Southern states and free Northern states.  We stopped at Arby's for gyros on our way home.

Thursday we went back into Gettysburg and toured the David Wills Home and Museum.  This is the bedroom and bed Abraham Lincoln slept in and the room where he finished the Gettysburg Address the night before he gave it.

This is the very busy square looking out of his bedroom window.  It would have been busy back then, too, as there were ten roads and a railroad coming together here.  That is the reason the battle ended up being here.  Both armies were using the roads to move their men toward each other, the Army of the Potomac was coming from the west and Lee's Army of Virginia had circled around and was coming from the north.  Some of the companies accidentally came upon each other west of town and that was the beginning of three very long, bloody days of fighting.

David Wills House.  His office served as a combination FEMA, CDC and Red Cross after the Battle of Gettysburg.  James Gettys founded the town in 1786 and provided the land for the square.  By 1860 it was a substantial and modern town with paved roads, running water and even a gas works initiated by David Wills.  It was a center of agriculture and commerce with tanneries, a carriage industry, 8 churches, 6 taverns, 2 banks, 3 weekly newspapers, a college and a seminary.

Statue of David Wills and Abraham Lincoln looking up at the bedroom where he slept.  The Lincoln statue entitled Return Visit is said to be the most true-to-life statue of him, as casts of his face and hands were used and a shoe outline from his boot maker and replicas of a suit and coat once worn by him.  David Wills was an attorney, superintendent of Adams County schools, on numerous boards of directors and a county judge after the war, but is best remembered for his efforts in 1863 to establish Soldiers National Cemetery.  Each year the freshman college students recreate the historic procession through town from here to the cemetery to hear a reading of the Gettysburg address.

Gettysburg Hotel across the street.  The Confederates occupied the town for two days until their mass assault, Pickett's Charge, on the third day failed.  Over 20,000 wounded were left behind, outnumbering the surgeons by 20 to 1.  Almost every home and building was used as a hospital.  The 7,000 killed were hastily buried in marked shallow graves and the enemy in unmarked trenches before they retreated.  Heavy rains left arms and legs sticking out, making reburial a gruesome task.  4,000 horses were drug together and burned.

Just behind the hotel off the square is the Majestic Theater on the right and the train station where Lincoln arrived on the left, the evening before his speech.  The railroad depot was built in 1858 with telegraph line and served as a hospital during the battle.  The Majestic Theater opened in 1925 as a Vaudeville and silent movie theater.  It was the site of many important White House press conferences during the Eisenhower Administration, as their retirement home and farm is just a few miles outside town.  It opened with the Cecil B. DeMilles 10-reel epic Road to Yesterday.  Ike and Mamie attended many performances here.  The world premier of the movie Gettysburg was shown here.  Correspondents, visiting dignitaries and journalists stayed at the hotel and it housed the official White House Press Room and Communications Center.  A welcome home dinner was held at the hotel on Jan. 21, 1961 after Ike left the presidency.  The Eisenhowers were some of the last diners served Dec. 14, 1964 when it closed, becoming the Lincoln Square Building.  The college was founded in 1832 and the land was provided by abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens, author of the 14th Amendment guaranteeing full civil rights to all citizens.  In 1998 the college bought the hotel and theater and restored and renovated them.  The theater reopened on the 80th anniversary in 2005 with a world-class performing arts center, 816 seat theater and two cinemas.

A rather unique Episcopal Church in downtown Gettysburg.

 We discovered Sachs Covered Bridge while driving around the countryside before we went home for supper.  It is a lattice-truss bridge built in 1852 and extends 100' across Marsh Creek.  Both Union and Confederate troops used it.  It was closed to auto traffic after 1968 and is now just a scenic walking bridge.

We drove into Hershey, Pa. the sweetest place on earth, to do the famous chocolate tour on Friday, April 29th.  On New Year's Eve a giant Hershey Kiss ascends the front of the building at midnight.  Milton Hershey said, " The more beautiful you make something which people can use, the more enjoyment they will get out of it."  Milton Hershey attended the 1893 Columbian Expo in Chicago, along with 27 million other visitors, marking the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyage.  The Venus de Milo crafted from 1,500 pounds of chocolate drew his attention.   Also introduced at the Expo were hamburgers, cracker jacks and the Pledge of Allegiance, without the words under God, which were added in 1954.

Welcome to Chocolate World, the favorite field trip for school kids around here.  Milton Hershey's mother, Fanny, was a Lancaster County native, devout Mennonite, and everything her husband was not, frugal, sensible and solid.  Her motto was work hard and spend little.  She taught him to waste nothing and watch his pennies.  She also arranged his candy business apprenticeship.  His dad was a dreamer.  There were two notable births at Derry Church farm, Milton in 1857 and the Hershey's recipe 45 years later.  The homestead was built by Milton's great-grandfather and sold in 1867.  Milton bought it back in 1896 and his father lived his last years there.  He built the Lancaster Caramel Company and sold it for $1 million to fund his chocolate factory.  125 years later the caramels are back on the market and they are delicious.  In 1893 he said, "Caramels are a fad, chocolate is the future."  Cocoa bean imports had increased by 270% in the last ten years, but no American firms were producing confectionery chocolate for the mass market.

He launched the chocolate company as a subsidiary of the caramel company in 1894.  In 1900 he sold the caramel company, returned to Derry Church in 1903 and began building a new factory, a new town and a new life.  In just two years the factory covered 6 acres and by 1915 it covered 35 acres and was the biggest chocolate factory in the world.  By 1979 it covered 46 acres.  At first it was labor intensive, but with the new century he adopted the cost-efficient assembly line approach pioneered by Henry Ford.  He replaced the powdered milk usually used then with his own recipe for double-condensed milk and transformed the confectionery industry.  In the 1890s he made more than 100 different chocolates in countless shapes and packages, a confusing confectionery cornucopia.  In 1911 there were 114 Kisses to a pound.  Wrapping them was piece work.  You got paid 10 cents for every 5 pounds you wrapped.  Your number was stamped on the bottom of each box you packed.  Twice a day you turned in your work and received tokens, which you redeemed on payday for a paycheck.  Now that's what I call incentive work my 3M buddies, and you have to sign each box, so it better meet quality requirements!  The song A Kiss is Still a Kiss was made popular by the WWII film Casablanca.  But was it?  Wartime rationing halted Kiss production from 1942 to 1949.  Aluminum foil wrappers were unavailable.  They focused on churning out over 1.6 billion chocolate ration bars for the U.S. troops.

Many industrialists provided housing for their workers, but Milton had a grander vision, providing cultural resources, parks and education.  A place not for just workers, but families, and he encouraged them to buy their own homes.  He built churches, schools, sports arenas, theaters, etc.  Derry Church was near his childhood home and offered four key resources: water, railroads, milk and workers.  Affordable housing and good wages drew skilled workers.  The success of Bourneville in England, built by Cadbury, may have shaped his vision for a model industrial community.  During WWI sugar became scarce and he bought a Cuban sugar mill in 1916 to ensure a reliable source.  He built a thriving community there, also, with a school for orphaned boys and a professional baseball team.  The first students at the school for orphans were children whose parents died in a Hershey Cuban Railway accident in 1923.  He built Hershey Hotel in 1920.  He sold his Cuban holdings in 1946, including a peanut oil plant, 60,000 acres, sugar mills, electric plants and 251 miles of train track plus trains.

Harry Reese was inspired by Hershey and began in his basement.  Hershey encouraged his competition and sold him chocolate coatings and they became friends.  In 1956 Reese's sons merged the business on Reese Avenue with Hershey and their peanut butter cups, by then the best-selling candy in its marketplace, began to be nationally distributed.  Hershey bought Reese's in 1963 and today it is one of America's top two sellers, a billion dollar brand.  Hershey gave lots of money for education, including building several schools and providing two years tuition free at the local college for all residents of Derry Township and everyone who worked for Hershey and their families.  In 1919 he endowed Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys, on 10,000 acres at his birthplace, with his $60 million share of the company.  It is 26 times larger than the Harvard campus and about 800 acres larger than the city of Hershey.  His money built the Hershey Medical Center in 1963, a teaching hospital where the world's first fully implantable heart (with no outside lines) was created by a team led by Dr. Gerson Rosenberg.  He controlled many enterprises in Hershey, but also encouraged other local businesses.  Milton and his wife, Kitty, traveled the world a lot.  In the museum they have a canceled check to the White Star Line paid on deposit for passage on the Titanic.  Urgent business matters required him to book an earlier voyage home.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

They had little cars that you ride through Hershey Land to see how all the different chocolate candies are made and packaged.

Doesn't everyone dream of having their picture taken in a chocolate bath tub?

There is a 4-D movie mystery with an evil villain and his minions, who the chocolate detectives, Hershey, Reeses and Kiss, have to track down.  There is a chocolate tasting of several different kinds of chocolate where they show a movie about harvesting cocoa beans and processing them and explain the differences.  Then you get to taste each one and see if you can detect the nuances of the different flavors, similar to a wine tasting.  There was a museum, a trolley ride and a create your own candy bar option, all for a price.  The museum was good.

Now that's a candy bar!

I think we'll get one for Tierney, one for Tally, one for .... No wait, they're $20 each!  Maybe we'll just get a bag of chocolate kisses and call it good.

 The Monorail connects to all their factory buildings and their amusement park, I think.

Check out the street lights.  They are alternately wrapped and unwrapped chocolate kisses.  We are at the corner of Hershey Avenue and Cocoa Boulevard, or something like that.

They also have a big amusement park with lots of roller coasters and such and the Kissing Tower with Kiss-shaped windows with views of the city.  John always said that one of his bucket list goals was to ride all of the roller coasters in the country, but he seems to be losing interest in that idea.  Thank goodness!

A pretty church across the street from the museum.

Hershey Hotel up on the hill overlooking the town.

Lobby of the hotel.  Just across the street are some very nice gardens that you can pay $10 or so to walk through.  We had lunch at a restaurant in what was the original Hershey Press Building.

Saturday we drove over to Mister Ed's Elephant Museum and Candy Emporium on the old Lincoln Highway, Hwy. 30, Chambersburg Road, near Orrtanna, at the junction where the old and new Lincoln Highways overlap, about 20 miles west of Gettysburg.

This place is a hoot!  Miss Ellie Phunt (10' x 10' fiberglass) greets you at the parking lot.  Her pink toes and eyelashes wiggle and she talks.  "When you have an elephant by the hind legs and he is trying to run away, it is best to let him go."  Abe Lincoln

Mister Ed doesn't know how many elephants he has, but says it's over 10,000.  His museum has four pages in Saul Rubin's book Offbeat Museums and it's mentioned in three other books.  Did you know there is a Cockroach Museum?

Princess style telephone on the left and a 1940s hair dryer.  Mr. Ed is 80 years old this year.  He is a big fan of P.T. Barnum who said, "When entertaining the public, it's best to have an elephant."  The Training Master from Barnum and Bailey's Circus once visited while the circus was in Hershey and brought him a big bamboo elephant.  It was damaged by fire when an arsonist burned down his first museum.  He lost about 2,000 elephants in the fire, but vowed to rebuild, and people from all over sent him elephants of every kind.

Mister Ed is a character and acts in plays, has been on TV shows and is in the film Route 30.  He has shared the Kennedy Center stage with Mandy Patankin and held court at Broadway openings.  He has a penchant for publicity stunts.

First opened in 1983, this place is roadside kitsch at its best, frivolous and quirky.  It all started with an elephant his sister-in-law gave him as a wedding gift.  His wife bought him another one on their honeymoon and he just continued to collect them.

This guy has elephants growing out of his head (that could be a figurative reference to Mister Ed, himself).  The numbers on the clock are elephants and there is cutlery with elephant designs on the handles once owned by Lana Turner.  There are cookie jars, mugs, pipe holders, Christmas ornaments, walking sticks, potty chairs, lamps, coffee tables, rockers, chairs, foot stools, a WWI German General, elephants made of sea shells, plastic, glass, wood, bronze, ivory, porcelain, elephants working for peanuts, and Ganesh the elephant god, just to name a few.

The mosaic elephants above the candy counter are made from pieces of the elephants that were destroyed in the fire.  They have all kinds of wonderful homemade candies here, plus barrels of all those old time penny candies you can't find anywhere anymore, even a few I'd never heard of.  They have everything bacon here, including bacon gumballs, bacon mints, bacon beans, bacon lollipops, bacon covered potato chips, bacon lip balm, chocolate covered bacon and bacon toothpicks to get it all unstuck from your teeth.  They have a little room full of almost nothing but Pez candy.  Harry Potter, Star Trek, Hello Kitty, Super Heroes, Beatles, Mickey Mouse, political ones and so on.

Outdoors is a fairyland park including a little forest with all kinds of things.  Elephant fountain and benches, parrot made out of an old tire, stairway going nowhere, old toilets used as planters, shoes and other weird things nailed to trees, etc.

Sunday we got rested up and Monday we moved to Timberline Campground near Clarksboro, New Jersey.

Going over the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on our way to Philadelphia on Tuesday, April 26th.

Our first view of the city as we came off the bridge.

Independence Hall.  The tower to the far left is Old City Hall and served as Philadelphia's second City Hall from 1791 until 1854.  The first U.S. Supreme Court met here on the first floor while the first U.S. Capitol was here.  Library Hall, the oldest subscription library in the country, was started by Ben Franklin and sat right behind the Supreme Court building.  Now there is a new replica of it there.  To the far right just outside the picture is a matching tower that was Congress Hall while Philadelphia was the U.S. Capitol from 1790 to 1800.  State House Yard in the foreground is now Independence Square and was the scene of much turmoil on the eve of the American Revolution.  An act by the Pennsylvania State Assembly in 1735 said it shall be a public open green and walks forever.  Citizens gathered here for mass meetings to protest British policies.  As the protests turned to war, soldiers drilled and drums echoed, disturbing the deliberations of the Continental Congress inside the State House.  The Declaration of Independence was first read in public here on July 8, 1776.  By the time the Constitutional Convention convened in 1787 it was a tranquil scene and the courtyard had become a peaceful garden.

Statue of George Washington in front of Independence Hall, which was built from 1732 to 1756 as the State House for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an international symbol of government by the people.  The Declaration of Independence was adopted by the Continental Congress here on July 4, 1776 and the U.S. Constitution in 1787, now the oldest constitution written in the world.  It is now the centerpiece of the National Historic Park and a World Heritage Site since 1980.  President Lincoln stopped at Independence Hall on his way to his inauguration and said, "I have often inquired of myself, what great principle or idea it was that kept this confederacy so long together.  It was not the mere matter of the separation of the Colonies from the Motherland, but the sentiment in the Declaration of Independence which gave liberty, not alone to the people of this country, but, I hope, to the world, for all future and time."  

The back side has a quiet little fenced-in park from which you enter all the buildings for tours once you get your free tickets at the Visitor Center just across Independence Square to the north.

Prisoner's docket in court room.  How innocent does the defendant look when he is standing in a cage during his trial?

The Governor's Council Chamber was an elegant setting for the Penn family's representatives, where dignitaries mingled with politicians. William Penn promoted religious freedom and separation of church and state and we became the first nation ever to have that separation with the signing of our constitution.

The silver Syng ink stand was made by Philip Syng for the Pennsylvania Assembly and sat on the Speaker's table during the formal signing of Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the U. S. Constitution, all of which are on display here in the Assembly Room of the Pennsylvania State House, or west wing of Independence Hall.  Our countries legendary leaders dipped their quill pens in this ink stand and affixed their signatures to our countries most important founding documents.

Congress Hall.  While meeting here, Congress admitted 3 new states, ratified the Bill of Rights and oversaw two presidential inaugurations.  John got to be George Washington handing over the presidency, while our guide had them reenact John Adam's inauguration.

The Committee Chamber was used by the Assembly for meetings.

These book shelves in the Joint Committee Room are where the first Library of Congress started.  In the west committee room there is a huge portrait of Marie Antoinette and in the east committee room there is one of Louis XVI.  Very sad for them, that their country went bankrupt after financing us during the Revolutionary War, and their people revolted and had them both beheaded!

Park Ranger explaining the Liberty Bell to some school kids.  There is a small museum here just outside Independence Hall about the bell and liberty.  The famous gap was a result of an attempt to fix a thin crack in 1846.  The repair work failed as the bell rang for George Washington's birthday anniversary, when the original crack reappeared and lengthened.  It zigzagged up toward the top silencing it forever.  It had summoned members of the Pennsylvania Assembly, like Ben Franklin, to meetings.  A quote from Ben, "The bell rings and I must go among the grave ones and talk politiks."  It joined a chorus of bells throughout the city to announce noteworthy events, like the coronation of King George III.  Abolitionists in the 1830s gave the bell a new name, Liberty Bell, recognizing the contradiction between the ideals of the Revolution and the reality of over 4 million enslaved people.  President Washington's house stood on the lot adjoining the Liberty Bell Center until 1834.  The bell's inscription "Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof" was adopted by the Abolitionist Movement.

The Human Liberty Bell.  25,000 officers and men at Camp Dix, New Jersey under Commander General Hugh L. Scott.  The Bell's inscription refers to the ancient Biblical tradition of jubilee, hallowing every 50th year by the freeing of slaves.

George and Martha Washington and John and Abigail Adams.  Anyone in my family think Martha Washington looks familiar?

I'm just a sucker for flowers.  I love them.

Benjamin Franklin's grave with his wife, Deborah, and his four year old son, Francis F. Franklin, at Christ Church Burial Ground established 1719.  It is most famous for being the resting place of Franklin, but there are four other signers of the Declaration of Independence buried here and many other famous American patriots.  Franklin was the only person to sign all four documents that established the U.S.A. -- the Declaration of Independence 1776,  Treaty of Alliance with France 1778, Treaty of Paris 1783 ending the war, and the U.S. Constitution 1787.  Franklin's time and effort in Paris as Ambassador to France was largely responsible for the aid and supplies we got from France which was equal to $13 billion in today's economy.  I wonder if the smooth talking, diplomatic Mr. Trump could negotiate our country a deal like that the next time we need a little help.  Franklin was hailed as Monsieur Electrique, the famous scientist.  Ladies of the Court crowned him with a laurel wreath, like an ancient Greek philosopher.  

Carpenters Hall down the alley is where the first Continental Congress met in 1774.  Built from 1770 to 1774 to showcase their skilled craftsmen, it is still owned and operated by The Carpenter's Company.   Established in 1724, it is the oldest trade guild in America.  In 1775 Ben Franklin and a French spy, Julien Achard de Bonvouloir, held several meetings here, which paved the way for the French/American alliance during the American Revolution.  It is the official birthplace of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  During the Revolution 1775-1783 the military stored arms, ammunition and supplies in the basement, had offices on the first floor and treated disabled soldiers from both sides on the first and second floors.  90% of the gunpowder the American's fired was French.  The Carpenter's Company designed and built some of America's largest and most ambitious public buildings and churches, including Independence Hall (originally the Pennsylvania State House) which was under construction for 20 years from 1732 to 1756 and became the largest building in the colonies.  Philadelphia was the Capitol from 1790 to 1800.  Over 900 members have been elected to The Carpenters Company which still maintains the hall and provides scholarships for architecture, engineering and construction.

Across the street, we stopped in the free National Liberty Museum.  This 911 Memorial is called "The Climb of the Courageous" and is a tribute to people everywhere who rise above adversity to achieve their highest ambitions.  The pictures of all the victims of 911 cover the walls up four flights of stairs.  They have a gallery with pictures and stories of all sorts of people who have achieved amazing things in their lives.

The Golden Egg...An American Dream by Christopher Ries represents the golden opportunities that inspire immigrants to come to America.  Created from the purist fiber optic crystal, one of 100 art exhibits on display in the museum, it is a reminder that liberty, like glass, is both strong and fragile.  "Learning provides a lifelong connection to worlds that were and futures yet to come.  If the history of liberty teaches us anything, it is that people, in their quest for knowledge and progress, are determined and cannot be deterred."  JFK

Ben Franklin was the 15th of 17 children born in Boston to an immigrant candle maker from England.  He left home at 14 with only two years of schooling and became a writer and publisher and a statesman.  He wrote under many different pen names, including Abigail Twitterfield, Alice Addertongue, Dr. Fatsides, Anthony Afterwit, Silence Dogood and Fart Hing.  His publishing business made him wealthy enough to retire by the time he was 42 to pursue his interests in science.  He made this design for our country's first flag before our first national flag was adopted, so American ships would be recognized and not considered pirates.  It was first flown by John Paul Jones from the masthead of a captured British frigate.  Today only the 111th Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard is authorized to carry this flag.  They trace their history directly to the Philadelphia Militia which was founded by Franklin.  In 1747 he organized the first formal defense force in Pennsylvania, made up of gentlemen and merchants, known as the Philadelphia Associators.  He even designed the "Rampant Lion's Crest" and it became the oldest division in the U.S. Army.

There were a couple cabinets of different White House China patterns on display.

These two were part of the Rutherford B. Hayes collection.

I guess he must have liked seafood.

As of June 2015 .... 3,514 have received the nation's highest honor, the Congressional Medal of Honor, first authorized by President Lincoln.  Washington created the first military award in 1782.

Useless by Irwin Timmers.  I don't understand why people waste their money on bottled water and fill up our landfills.  We travel all over the country and drink the tap water everywhere we go.  However, we have never been to Flint, Michigan.

The Jellybean People by Sandy Skoglund.  Per the artist, "Jellybeans come in many different shades and sizes with the exact same ingredients inside, just like human beings."

The ultimate selfie.  "The world is a looking glass and gives back to everyone the reflection of their own faces."  William Thackery 1811-1863

United States Customs House.

We had an early supper at the reconstructed 1773 City Tavern.  It was the largest hotel in North America at the time.  George Washington stayed at the Tavern while he was a member of the Virginia delegation to the First Continental Congress.  The following year 1775, he was attending the Second Continental Congress at Independence Hall when Paul Revere brought news of battles at Lexington and Concord.  Washington was the delegate's unanimous choice as Commander-in-Chief.  It was a gathering place for the Continental Congress and 13 years later the Constitutional Convention held its closing banquet here.  John Adams called it the most genteel tavern in America, the first unofficial White House.  Barton and Guestier Wines were served at the tavern and Jefferson stocked the wine cellars of the White House with them before signing the European Trade Embargo in 1807.  That's thinking ahead.  Philadelphia was the largest, most cosmopolitan city in British North America.

There are ten dining rooms and they serve stuff like colonial turkey pot pie, apple smoked pork chops and my seafood linguine, which was delicious.  They also serve Jefferson's favorite sweet potato biscuits paired with ales from Washington's and Franklin's recipes, all served by costumed wait staff.  Chef and proprietor Walter Staib has an Emmy Award winning show on PBS demonstrating original colonial recipes on location at places like Mt. Vernon, Monticello and Montpelier.

Corn Exchange National Bank.  There were several old, original bank buildings in this area, including the Bank of the United States, the first bank in our new country, organized by the Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, in 1791 to help manage and pay off the Revolutionary War debt.  It was the first national bank not owned by a king and rented space in Carpenters Hall, as did several of the first banks until they built their own buildings.  When the Bank of Pennsylvania was in Carpenters Hall, it was the scene of 18th century America's largest bank robbery $162,000 ($2 million in today's money).  The culprit was a Carpenter's Company member in cahoots with a night guard.  Franklin's design for our nation's first penny was authorized by Congress in 1787.  It was called the fugiocent and features a chain of 13 states with the advice "Mind Your Business" on the reverse side.

Wednesday, May 4th, we went to the Delaware Capitol in Dover.  The Delaware Legislative Hall, built in 1933, replaced the Old State House on The Green.  The Senate and State House of Delaware's General Assembly meet here.  Delaware has only three counties.  Their governors were originally called presidents when they were a colony.  When a new nation was established and they became a state, they started calling them governors.  Thus Joshua Clayton, serving two terms from 1789 to 1796, was the 10th president and the 11th governor of Delaware.  Only two of their three delegates for the signing of the Declaration of Independence were in attendance.  One of them changed his mind and decided to vote against it, so their third, Caesar Rodney, is famous for riding all night to vote for independence on July 4, 1776.  The following day a portrait of King George III was burned here on the Dover Green.

Not so ornate inside, but still very nice.  I think it is meant to look like the style of the 1700s and does look very much like the Old State House, which we toured later in the day.

This is either the Senate or House, both very similar.  The tour guide was really excellent, full of information and stories about their state and its history.

Law enforcement branches were having their annual festivities on The Green in front of the Capitol with rifle salute, bag pipers and such.  We watched for a while, then went downtown for a quick lunch at Bunch n Lunch, Reubens and shakes, very good.

The Old State House from the back on the opposite end of The Green.  It was built in 1792 and restored in 1976.  The prior state house was a 25' square courthouse built in 1722.

Old State House from the front with the Delaware Supreme Court building to the right.  A brick area in front of the Old State House marks where the porch was on the previous building, from where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public in Dover on July 29, 1776.  Dover has been the county seat since 1630 and shared its courthouse with Kent County.  It was the temporary state capitol in 1777 and became the permanent capitol in 1779.

Free-standing staircase in the Old State House.  William Penn established Dover in 1683 with three public squares.  The Green was surrounded by shops and government buildings and became the heart of Dover.  It was the setting for troop reviews, markets and public gatherings.  On Dec. 7, 1787 thirty delegates, ten from each county, met at the Golden Fleece Tavern facing The Green and ratified the U.S. Constitution, giving Delaware the place of honor as "The First State".  With only three counties, it probably doesn't take too long to decide things.  They still proudly display that claim to fame on their license plates and celebrate that day on The Green with a festival of music and historical demonstrations.  The Golden Fleece tavern was also where they met in 1790 to approve the Bill of Rights.

This is where the House of Representatives met, or maybe it was House of Burgesses then.  Some of the areas in the state that they represented were called Hundreds, similar to our Townships.  Across the hallway was the Senate with only six desks (two for each county) and a large portrait of George Washington.

The Biggs Museum of American Art is kitty corner from the Old State House.  If you look closely, you can see the birds flying from the tree through the window and up inside the foyer.  I thought this was a pretty cool sculpture.

Old Court House.  All of the buildings for several blocks in all directions around this original part of the town are very old or reconstructed to look old.  If it weren't for the cars, you would expect someone to come out on the front steps and ring a bell and say "Hear ye, Hear ye" and read off some official document from the King.

The John Bell House is right between the Old Court House and the New Court House and next to the Old State House facing the First State Heritage Park.  It is the oldest wood frame house in Dover and free walking tours of the old downtown area start here.

Standing in front of the Loockerman House while our tour guide entertains us with some interesting and amusing stories from Dover's past.  It was a very good tour and they give several different themed ones on different days.

Wreaths were hanging all around town for the May Day celebration.  I remember as a kid making up fancy decorated May baskets out of paper cups with a few pieces of candy in them and leaving them on neighbor's door steps, ringing their door bell and then running away, because they were supposed to try to catch you and kiss you.  Anyone else ever do that?  I grew up in a very small town and we were hard up for entertainment.

Wrapping up our tour.

Leaving Dover on our way to New Castle.  The capitol of Delaware was moved to Dover from New Castle in 1777 because of its more central location.  New Castle is a very quiet, old colonial town.  You feel like you stepped right back into the 1700s.

New Castle Courthouse Museum.  The New Castle Common is part of a tract of 1,000 acres set apart in 1701 for the inhabitants of the town.  The trustees were appointed and incorporated by William Penn's heirs in 1764 and their successors still hold and manage the land.

1900 drinking fountain for horses, people and dogs.  You don't see one of those very often.

Immanuel Episcopal Church on The Green built in 1703.

If graveyards could talk, there would be some very interesting stories here.

Walking down the cobblestone street from the church.

William Penn, founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Landing place of William Penn on Oct. 27, 1682, where he first stepped on American soil and proceeded to the fort.

Thursday we were back in Philadelphia to tour the Ben Franklin Museum.  This carriageway leads to Franklin Court, home of Benjamin and his wife, Deborah, and their daughter and son-in-law and grandchildren.  He also built a print shop, bindery and foundry and two substantial rental properties flanking this carriageway from Market Street and a home for his grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, right next door to his home.  His grandson was also a famous and outspoken publisher and often referred to as Lightning Rod Junior.

In the courtyard Franklin's elegant 3-story home and his grandson's are represented by ghost structures that outline all the different room layouts labeled and marked by quotes from his letters home to his wife from Paris, telling her just how he wanted each room painted, arranged and decorated, and describing the articles he was sending her from Paris for that purpose.  Directly below the ghost structures is the Franklin Court Underground Museum.  His charting of the gulf stream with his cousin Timothy Folger, a Nantucket whaling captain, contributed to the understanding of how the ocean's currents could affect global trade and became a valuable tool to reduce lengthy ocean crossings.

Franklin said that of all his inventions, the glass armonica gave him the greatest satisfaction.  He worked on the concept running a wet finger around the rim of a glass.  His wife likened it to music of the angels.  Mozart even wrote a composition for it.

This is not the picture your mind pulls up when you think of Benjamin Franklin.  This is the earliest known portrait of him between 32 and 40 years old.  When he saw a need he often created or adapted a device.  He loved to swim and when he was 14 he invented a pair of flippers to help him swim faster.  Later he used a kite as a sail to help him swim faster and effortlessly, wind surfing.  He invented a flexible catheter in 1752.  Visitors noted useful curiosities they saw at his home, but he never patented his inventions.  President George Washington created the Patent Office and Abraham Lincoln is the only president to have ever patented an invention.  Franklin stoves are based on his Franklin's original designs and he was governor of Pennsylvania from 1785 to 1788.

In 1752 he and friends founded the nation's oldest mutual fire insurance company which is still in business today, the Philadelphia Contributorship with the four hands united symbol.  Any homes they insured for fire had to be inspected and had to have a lightning rod to prevent fires.  They helped fund the Union Fire Company in Philadelphia, the first volunteer fire brigade, and the University of Pennsylvania, the colony's first non-sectarian college and the Pennsylvania Hospital, America's first public hospital.  He helped organize and fund schools for enslaved and free black children.  His electrical experiments launched him into an international network of men and women who worked in physics, chemistry, biology, botany and paleontology.  To share and exchange knowledge he proposed the American Philosophical Society, which remains today a world-renowned institution headquartered in Philadelphia.

Franklin had a local glassworks make him an apparatus to generate electricity.  Turning the wheel produced static electricity, which was drawn off the glass sphere by metallic points and collected in Leyden jars for use in experiments.  The operator stood on a stool, so he was insulated from the ground and could not be shocked.  He published his experiments and corresponded with electricians in the colonies and Europe.  He coined the terms battery, positive charge and negative charge and discovered new ways to generate, store and deploy electricity.  His design and promotion of the use of lightning rods helped prevent untold numbers of structural fires.  He grouped a number of Leyden jars into a battery (military term).  By multiplying the number of holding vessels, a stronger charge could be stored and more power would be available on discharge.

When his eyes started to fail, he invented bifocals.  He was the oldest member of the Constitutional Convention in 1787, was ill and suffering excruciating pain, and was sometimes transported in this sedan chair by prisoners from the nearby jail.  Franklin was a Quaker and President of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society.  All of these accomplishments and many more, and he only had two years of formal schooling!  In 1847 two postage stamps went on sale in New York City, a 5 cent one with Ben Franklin and a 10 cent one with George Washington.  There are 22 million stamp collectors  across the country.  It has been called the hobby of kids and kings, including King George V, King Fuad of Egypt, Baron Rothschild, piano and glider manufacturer Steinway, FDR, Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York and President Gerald Ford.

  Then we did the Jewish Museum which was very good, no pictures allowed, and headed down to the more ethnic, tenement part of town, to try the two most famous Philly Cheese Steak places in the city.

We had a hard time finding a place to park.  This is a very busy area, but we only had to walk about two blocks.  We went to Pat's King of Steaks first where people were lined up and waiting and we shared one with Swiss cheese and fried onions.  It was delicious.  Brothers Pat and Henry Olivieri, using culinary influences from Abruzzi, Italy created on of the nation's favorite fast foods in 1930.

Then we went directly across the street to Geno's Steaks (opened 1966) and had the same thing.  It was also very good.  We couldn't tell much difference.  They both get a thumb's up from us!   Neither place has any indoor seating.

Friday we went to Trenton to see the New Jersey State Capitol.  Looking at the WWII Memorial across the street toward the Capitol.

The Capitol is crowned by a golden dome completed in 1889 with an outer layer of 667 separate pieces of cast iron, weighing 200,000 pounds.  The original State House built in 1792 still survives, encased within the core of the present-day building.  It is the second oldest State House in continuous use in the U.S.  It has been expanded every generation in a mosaic of architectural styles.  Trenton was settled in 1679 and has been the Capitol since 1790.  In 1940 Albert Einstein took his oath as an American citizen here in the Federal Court.  It is on the Delaware River and is the only State Capitol where you can look out a window and see another state, Pennsylvania.

Looking back at the War Memorial from the front steps of the Capitol.

Stained glass skylight on rotunda.

The rotunda has elaborate cast iron railings and brackets in the shape of fire-breathing dragons and eagles that signify the union of the states. 18 stained glass windows with portraits of governors around the rotunda wall, including General George G. McClellan Governor 1878, Charles Edison (son of Thomas Edison) Governor 1942 and Woodrow Wilson and his desk, Governor 1911-1913 and then President 8 years.  Wilson was also President of Princeton University and architect of the League of Nations.

Speakers Gallery

In 1861 President-elect Lincoln addressed the Senators in a packed gallery in the original Senate Chamber.

Designed to house the Supreme Court, this room now houses the Senate majority caucus, a gathering of members of one party who share common ideals and goals.  They discuss proposed laws, or bills, around this 36' table.

State President's Gallery.  Trenton was the U.S. Capitol for 54 days from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, 1784.  The First Continental Congress met at the French Arms Tavern.  Tavern's seem to have been a favorite meeting place for our Founding Fathers.

New Jersey State Library right next to the State History Museum with planetarium in the background.

The Northern Star Gazer's mouth faces up, so it can ambush prey from below while buried in the sandy bottom.  They can also generate and transmit an electric shock.

The sea robin is a bottom feeding marine fish with sharp, poisonous spines used to defend themselves from predators.

Children's wooden horse cart (late 1800s) with simple steering mechanism controlled by the child's feet.  Another mechanism turned the rear wheels and made the contrasting black and white horses move up and down.  Oh, my grandkiddies would have fun with this!

1908 refrigerator.  A block of ice was inserted into the top compartment and kept the food fresh and cool.

This is the only bone ever found of an enormous sea turtle species from 75 million years ago.  The turtle was up to 10' long and was first studied in 1849 when half of the bone was found in Monmouth County, New Jersey.  This right humerus, or upper arm bone, was called the luckiest break.  In 2012 an amateur paleontologist found the other half of this turtle bone, also in Monmouth County, a considerable distance from where the first half was found.  When David Parris of the State Museum saw it, he was reminded of a leg bone fragment he had seen at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences.  The two parts fit perfectly and now a complete 21" humerus from a 2,000 pound Cretaceous sea turtle exists, one of the most remarkable stories in the history of paleontology.

On our way home we stopped at Washington Crossing.  The stone marks the spot where General Washington and his army of 2,400 crossed the ice-choked Delaware River, through sleet and a blinding snow storm, from their camp on the Pennsylvania side to here just a few miles north of Trenton, New Jersey on Christmas night of 1776 for a surprise attack at dawn, killing or wounding over 100 Hessians and capturing 900 with arms, ammunition and artillery.  He marched the prisoners through Philadelphia on New Year's Day and used his surprise tactic of crossing the Delaware a second time on Jan. 2nd, to engage again at the second Battle of Trenton, a diversionary action allowing General Washington to slip out of Trenton with the main body of his army to another success at the Battle of Princeton.  That marked the end of the Ten Crucial Days Campaign and was recognized as the turning point of the American Revolution.  In the background is the Washington Crossing Bridge.

Washington Crossing State Park, Titusville, New Jersey, is just a couple miles behind here, so we made a quick stop in their small museum.  Most wigs worn back then were made of human hair, but many of the lower classes and merchants wore versions made of horse hair, wool, linen tow or course hemp.  This 1750 wig is made of horse hair sewn to a cloth strip of home spun linen attached to a head cloth.  The combination wig and stand are very rare.

The poem Prelude to Victory is a bicentennial salute to the people, places and nation that fought the 8 year Revolutionary War that forged our freedoms and is within the outline of a Durham boat hand-carved, tooled and painted on natural cowhide.  The names on the wooden border include George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, Hugh Mercer, Lt. James Monroe (scout and aide to Gen. Washington), Nathaniel Greene, future Chief Justice John Marshall and 18-year-old artillery officer James Madison, second in command to Captain William Washington, George's cousin.  It depicts the town of Trenton and village of Princeton on the mornings of the battles of Dec. 26, 1776 and Jan.3, 1777.

We crossed the bridge and this is looking from the Philadelphia side toward the New Jersey side.  They crossed here to a point just a few miles north of Trenton.  More Revolutionary War battles took place in New Jersey than any other colony.

Reproductions of mid-18th century Durham cargo boats designed by engineer Robert Durham in 1757.  There were no seats.  They were used to haul iron ore, furs, timber and produce down the Delaware River to Philadelphia's thriving markets.  The largest was up to 65' long and 8' wide at the beam and could transport 20 tons of iron or 150 barrels of flour.  They took about 60 men across at a time in these boats.  These are used in the Park's annual reenactment of the crossing every Christmas Day.

Museum at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania.

McConkey's Ferry Inn served as a guard post during the Continental Army's encampment in Bucks County, Pa. in December 1776.  Earth works and cannon defended the ferry landing.  This is where Washington and his aides ate their dinner prior to crossing the Delaware on the evening of Christmas Day 1776.

This boat statue of the crossing was a Bicentennial gift to the people of the U.S. from the citizens of Bedford, Indiana and Indiana Limestone Industry.

It's not every day you drive by statues of Mexican Dancers and a giant tooth.  We just pulled off the interstate on our way home, to find a place to eat and had to drive for several miles before we found a little strip mall with a little Mexican place.  I just can't remember the name of the town.

I'm still way behind on my blogs, but I'm working on it.  We have been in Sioux Falls all this past week and we are now in Brookings at Sexauer Park Sunday, June 19th through Saturday, June 25th.  Stop by for a visit if you have a chance.

Today's Trivia:  The Congressional Gold Medal, one of two of the highest awards given to civilians, was awarded to Marian Anderson in 1977 by President Carter.  She was born in 1897 in Philadelphia and joined the church choir at age 6.  Her father bought her a piano at age 8, which she taught herself to play, because they could not afford lessons.  Her church was so impressed with her voice that they raised $500 for her to attend a music school for a year.  By the 1930s she was famous in the U.S. and Europe.  In 1939 her manager tried to set up a performance at Washington D.C.'s Constitution Hall.  He was informed there were no dates available, which was not true.  The Daughters of the American Revolution, owners of the hall, had a policy that committed the place strictly for white performers only.  When Eleanor Roosevelt heard about it, she arranged for her to do a concert from the steps of the Lincoln Monument, which was attended by over 75,000, and Mrs. Roosevelt resigned her membership in their club.  Then she invited her to perform at the White House.  Bully for Eleanor!  She became the first African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera in 1955.  In 1961 she performed the National Anthem for JFK's inauguration. Two years later JFK honored her with the Presidential Medal of Honor. In 1991 the music world honored her with a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Happy Hershey's Kisses to one and all,

"Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards."
Benjamin Franklin 1738