Things to See & Do in Pennsylvania
Lower Delaware National Wild & Scenic River
The lower Delaware River region contains immense resource diversity, combining an area of high population density with a wealth of natural, cultural, and historical resources and recreational opportunities. The river valley houses cliffs rising 400 feet above the rivers that provide for magnificent scenery and habitat unique to the region. The south-facing, desert-like slopes are home to the prickly pear cactus, while the north-facing slopes display flora and fauna usually only found in arctic-apline climates. The river itself provides habitat for American shad, striped bass, and river herring and is an important component of the Atlantic Flyway, one of four major waterfowl routes in North America. From a historic veiwpoint, the river is one of the most significant corridors in the nation, containing buildings used during Washington's famous crossing, historic navigation channels, Native American and colonial archeological sites, and 19th century mills.
Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church National Historic Site
Gloria Dei (Old Swedes') Church in Philadelphia was built in 1700 and is the oldest church in Pennsylvania. The Swedes preceded the English to this part of America and began the Gloria Dei congregation in 1646. For nearly two centuries this church was under Swedish hierarchy, but after the Scandinavians were absorbed into the general American population, Gloria Dei was admitted into the Episcopal Church in 1845. The church is owned and maintained by its congregation and contains an abundance of historical relics and artifacts.
Independence National Historical Park
Independence National Historical Park, located in downtown (called "Center City"), Philadelphia, is often referred to as the birthplace of our nation. At the park, visitors can see the Liberty Bell, an international symbol of freedom, and Independence Hall, a World Heritage Site where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were created. In addition, the park interprets events and the lives of the diverse population during the years when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. A section of the park where Benjamin Franklin's home once stood is dedicated to teaching about Franklin's life and accomplishments. Spanning approximately 45 acres, the park has about 20 buildings open to the public.
Valley Forge National Historical Park
Valley Forge National Historical Park commemorates more than the collective sacrifices and dedication of the Revolutionary War generation, it pays homage to the ability of everyday Americans to pull together and overcome adversity during extraordinary times. Of all the places associated with the American War for Independence, perhaps none has come to symbolize perseverance and sacrifice more than Valley Forge. The hardships of the encampment claimed the lives of one in ten, nearly all from disease. Despite the privations suffered by the army at Valley Forge, Washington and his generals built a unified professional military organization that ultimately enabled the Continental Army to triumph over the British.
Fort Necessity National Battlefield
Colonial troops commanded by 22 year old Colonel George Washington were defeated in this small stockade at the "Great Meadow". This opening battle of the French and Indian War began a seven year struggle between Great Britain and France for control of North America. Great Britain's success in this war helped pave the way for the American Revolution. Fort Necessity National Battlefield is located in the mountains of southwestern Pennsylvania, about 11 miles east of Uniontown. The park comprises approximately 900 acres in three separate sites. The main unit contains the visitor center, the battlefield with the reconstructed Fort Necessity, and the Mount Washington Tavern. The Braddock Grave unit is approximately 1.5 miles west of the main unit and the Jumonville Glen unit is approximately seven miles northwest of the main unit.
Friendship Hill National Historic Site
Friendship Hill National Historic Site preserves the country estate of Albert Gallatin, a Swiss emigrant who served his adopted nation during the early years of the republic. Gallatin is best remembered for his thirteen year tenure as Secretary of the Treasury during the Jefferson and Madison administrations. In that time he reduced the national debt, purchased the Louisiana Territory and funded the Lewis & Clark exploration. Gallatin's accomplishments and contributions to the late 18th and early 19th century American Republic are highlighted through exhibits and programs presented in his restored Friendship Hill house.
Deshler-Morris House
Built by Quaker merchant, David Deshler before the Revolution, this handsome stone house faces historic Market Square. During the Battle of Germantown in 1777, British Commander Sir William Howe, made the house his headquarters. While the yellow fever epidemic raged in Philadelphia in 1793, business of the new republic continued at the Germantown "White House" Here, President Washington presided over meetings with his divided cabinet: Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox and Edmund Randolph. The president returned with his family to spend the following summer in Germantown's pleasant surroundings. More recently, the Morris family lived here for over one hundred years, donating it to the National Park Service in 1948. Now a unit of Independence National Historical Park, guided tours of the Germantown "White House" offers a glimpse into the private world of our first president.
Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial
Thaddeus Kosciuszko was one of the first European volunteers to aid the American revolutionary cause in 1776. A brilliant Polish military engineer, Kosciuszko designed and constructed fortifications to help defeat the British, most notably at Saratoga and West Point in New York. Kosciuszko returned to Poland and led his own countrymen in a failed attempt to free them from foreign oppression. Seriously wounded in battle and imprisoned in Czarist Russia, upon his release, he returned to the United States. In a small rented room on the second floor of this house, Kosciuszko spent the winter of 1797-98 reading, sketching and receiving distinguished visitors like Vice-President Thomas Jefferson. The Memorial is located in Philadelphia.
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