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Friday, July 7, 2017

The "Travails Of Our Nation's Liberty Bell: Part I" Story

William Penn
It was an ordinary day.  Checking out some of the photographs that I found online telling of the final trip that the Liberty Bell made in 1915 from its home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco, California.  It was the last time that the Liberty Bell ever traveled from its home in Philadelphia.  Was also reading a question that was posed to everyone still living: How many people who are still living have ever heard the Liberty Bell chime?  Answer: Zero.  No one today has ever heard the bell ring freely with its clapper.  The Liberty Bell, first known as the State House Bell, rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall which is located on Market Street in downtown Philadelphia.  
Old black and white photo of Independence Hall in Philadelphia
Market Street was originally known as High Street since High Street was a familiar name of the principal street in nearly every English town at the time Philadelphia was founded.  Philadelphia's founder, William Penn, had planned for farmer's markets to be held regularly on the 100-foot wide High Street.  Eventually around 1800 the street became known as Market Street.  Market Street is known as the most historic highway in the United States since various historic sites reside along the street.  
A Stereo-viewer photo of Benjamin Franklin's home
Ben Franklin's house was located near the intersection of Fourth and Market and it was said that he performed his famous kite-flying experiment near Third and Market Streets.  Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence in a boarding house located at Seventh and Market.  The home of Robert Morris, financier of the American Revolution lived at Sixth and Market.  That house was used by George Washington and John Adams as their residence during their terms as President and today Market Street is still one of the principal locations of business and commerce in Philadelphia.  But, the most famous landmark on the road is Independence National Historical Park, at Fifth and Market Streets.  
Independence Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Independence Park is home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center.  Just east of Front and Market lies Penn's Landing along the Delaware River. And, at 2nd Street and Market stands the historic Christ Church, once the tallest building in North America.  Our Liberty Bell weighed 2,080 pounds at order.  It is made of bronze which is 70% copper, 25% tin and contains small amounts of lead, gold, arsenic, silver, and zinc.  The Bell's wooden yoke is American elm, but there is no proof that it is the original yoke for the bell.  The bell rang to mark the Stamp Act tax, but there is no evidence that the bell rang on July 4, 1776.  Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly, Isaac Norris, first ordered a bell for the bell tower in 1751 from the Whitechapel Foundry in London.  
The Liberty Bell
That bell cracked the first time it was rung.  Two local Philadelphia metalworkers, John Pass and John Stow, melted down that bell and cast a new one right in Philadelphia.  That was the bell that was rung calling lawmakers to their meetings.  This is the bell that in the 1830s took on significance as a symbol of liberty, thus "The Liberty Bell."  Follow along tomorrow as I tell you about how that second bell became cracked and about its travels around the United States.  It was a another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.  

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