Releases: Expanded View
The President’s House: House Timeline
This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.
Before For hundreds of years before 1630, Algonquian peoples resided here.
1682 The city of Philadelphia founded.
1767 House built by Mary Lawrence Masters, a rich the widow of a former mayor and slaveholder.
1772 House is a wedding present to daughter Polly and slave owning Lieutenant Governor Richard Penn.
1777 Headquarters of General Sir William Howe, a slave owner and leader of British forces, during the British occupation of Philadelphia.
1778 Headquarters of slave owning Major General Benedict Arnold whose betrayal of the Revolution begins here.
1782 Financier and slaveholder Robert Morris rebuilds and expands the reconstructed residence after major fire.
1790 Philadelphia becomes the nation’s capital. Additions to house are built for George Washington’s official duties, his extended family, and enslaved, indentured and free household servants.
1797 Newly elected President John Adams and his wife Abigail move in.
1800 House converted into Francis’s Union Hotel, then becomes shops and a boarding house after government departs for Washington D.C.
1832 House demolished and three stores are created within the gutted space, leaving only the side walls and foundation of the former house.
1935 Stores demolished with no acknowledgment of the site’s historic significance.
1945-67 Creation of Independence Mall State Park.
1948 Establishment of Independence National Historic Park
1951 Last remaining walls unknowingly demolished to create Independence Mall.
1954 Public restroom for Independence Mall built on the site.
1973 Independence National Historical Park takes over management. President’s House site identified.
2002 Announcement of plans for the construction of the Liberty Bell Center, which would partially cover the space identified as housing for enslaved and free household servants, leads to a public outcry—initiated by historians, members of the African American community, the Independence Hall Association and others—to commemorate the house and its residents.
2003 Liberty Bell Center opens.
2007 Archaeology reveals partial foundations of the house and back buildings.
2010 President’s House exhibits open.
- Jane Cowley, (215) 597-0060
The African-American Story From Its Beginnings In Philadelphia's Historic District
Philadelphia’s Historic District, the site of the original city and often called America’s most historic square mile, reveals early chapters in the nation’s history, including the challenges, injustices, accomplishments and contributions of Africans and African-Americans.
This year, the Historic District’s African American Museum in Philadelphia celebrates its 40th anniversary. The groundbreaking institution hosts two temporary exhibitions through April 2, 2017. Shawn Theodore’s Church of Broken Pieces explores the translocation of black America through photography. Dawoud Bey’s Harlem, USA resurrects the photographer’s iconic 1979 portraits of residents of one of the country’s most diverse neighborhoods. The district is also home...
16 Things To Know: African-American Philadelphia
Strength In Numbers:
- The 2010 U.S. Census reported 661,839—that’s 43.37%—of Philadelphians are African-American, the city’s second largest ethnic demographic. More recent estimates show this population has increased by approximately 1% in the past six years.
- The largest concentration—82%—of African-American Philadelphians live in North Philadelphia west of Germantown Avenue, Point Breeze in South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia and in parts of Southwest Philadelphia.
- Important African-American business corridors include 52nd Street between Walnut and
Arch Streets and Baltimore Avenue between 40th and 52nd Streets, both in West Philadelphia; and Stenton Avenue between Broad Street and Walnut Lane and Ogontz
Fact Sheet: 31 Top Philadelphia Region Attractions
* Note: Most attractions were listed in the Philadelphia Business Journal Book of Lists 2015. Those that were not are marked with an asterisk.
Historical Sites & Attractions:
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia*, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans. The museum takes a fresh and bold look at the stories of African-Americans and their role in the founding of the nation through the core exhibit Audacious Freedom. Other exhibits and programs explore the history, stories and cultures of those of African
Fact Sheet: Historic Philadelphia Trail
The birthplace of the nation is rich in history—and plenty of it. Philadelphia's Historic District Trail guides visitors to 24 essential sites in the area, which spans from the Delaware River to 7th Street and from Vine to Lombard Streets. This is the original city. It boasts serious historical cred, but it’s also home to buzzed-about restaurants and beer gardens, owner-operated boutiques and pushing-the boundaries art galleries.
Here is the 24-stop essential guide, available at visitphilly.com/historic:
- Visitors can head to the Independence Visitor Center to pick up their timed tickets to Independence Hall and get expert Philly tips.
Historic Philadelphia Timeline, 1681 To 1801
- King Charles II grants William Penn the Charter of Pennsylvania, which includes an immense tract of land as settlement of a debt owed to Penn’s father, Admiral William Penn. The King names the colony Pennsylvania in honor of Admiral Penn. William Penn begins plans for his “holy experiment” and hopes it will be the “seed of a nation.” His Commonwealth will assure religious tolerance, fair trials, freedom of speech and enlightened laws.
- William Penn leaves England, sets sail across the Atlantic and arrives in Philadelphia, his “City of Brotherly Love.” Find more information at the Philadelphia History Museum,
Aspiring Citizens Get Study Help With New Americans Trail
Prepping for the U.S. citizenship test is no small task, but Philadelphia’s self-guided New Americans Tour makes learning easier—and a whole lot more fun. The city contains approximately half the answers to the 100-question citizenship test study. This means aspiring citizens and others students of U.S. history can glean the knowledge they seek simply by paying visits to Philly’s historic sites and attractions. Best place to start: the Historic District, the original city—and a very pedestrian-friendly one at that. The trail is available at visitphilly.com/newamericans.
Here’s a look at the 16 tour spots:
- Betsy Ross House,
150 Years Since The 13th Amendment Passed: Historic Philadelphia's African-American Experience Is More Moving Than Ever
Philadelphia reveals undertold chapters in the nation’s history, including the challenges, injustices, accomplishments and contributions of Africans and African-Americans during the United States’ early years. This year, the National Constitution Center commemorates the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery (the original document is on display) and the beginning of the Reconstruction Era.
Visitors to America’s “Most Historic Square Mile” can discover the more complete story of African-Americans at these moving sites:
Museums & Attractions:
- The African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976, is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve,
President's House Opens On Independence Mall In Philadelphia
This is a National Historical Park/City of Philadelphia press release.
The President’s House: Freedom and Slavery in the Making of a New Nation opens today in Philadelphia after more than five years of development. The commemorative, open-air installation marks the site where the nation’s first two presidents, George Washington and John Adams, served their terms of office and began to shape the executive branch of government. However, the most compelling and controversial aspect of the site is that it pays tribute to nine documented enslaved persons of African descent who were part of the Washington household. The inclusion of the
The President’s House: Slavery Timeline
This is a National Park Service/City of Philadelphia press release.
1619 Enslaved Africans brought to Jamestown, Virginia.
1641 Massachusetts legally recognizes slavery.
1662 Virginia law determines status of children will be same as that of the mother.
1684 Ship Isabella brings150 enslaved Africans to Philadelphia.
1705 Virginia law determines imported servants who were not Christians in native country are slaves; slaves are chattel property, and may be disciplined or killed without penalty.
1780 Pennsylvania passes the Gradual Abolition Act prohibiting importation of enslaved Africans into the state and guarantees future children of enslaved Pennsylvania mothers will be born free but...