Despite the 300 year gap in time, Benjamin Franklin’s Philadelphia wasn’t much different than our Philadelphia today- a city of neighborhoods with a mashup of cultural expansion, political progress, and developing sciences all converging between the Delaware and the Schuylkill Rivers. Philadelphia was a popular place back then, and like today, a cheaper and chiller option than New York City.
Benjamin Franklin might have been born in Boston, but Philadelphia was truly his home and his legacy is still omnipresent. Within the confines of the infamous Historic Square Mile in Old City, you can find many of his accomplishments still up and running as if he was still managing them from the grave.
He was the first postmaster of the United States and his very post office is still open and active right on Market Street. A few doors down, his print shop was rebuilt on it’s original plot of land and while the methods of mass printing newspapers have changed dramatically, the old machines remain. Independence National Park Rangers dressed in colonial uniforms stage the rigorous method of the printing press that eventually changed the world. Just a few feet from there, you can step out into Franklin Square where you are literally standing on the foundation of Ben’s home that he built for his family. There are glass enclosures that peer into the ground showing the actual room layout and design of the house itself.
It doesn’t end there, Benjamin Franklin also started the first Free Library of Philadelphia, established the first Philadelphia Fire Department, and was almost fully responsible for paying for the bells at the top of Christ Church with the contributions he made by printing and selling tickets for one of America’s first lottery drawings- basically the first Powerball was Ben Franklin’s idea.
Photo of Ben by @peopledelphia on Instagram
Even without a guide, any tourist or visitor to the city will see his everlasting influence on new businesses within the area as well, for instance- Franklin Fountain, an authentic turn of the century style ice cream and soda parlor decked out in all things Franklin located at 116 Market Street or just one block up from that, Silence Dogood’s Tavern at 216 Market Street, which gets it’s namesake from Ben Franklin’s pen name, Silence Dogood. Writing under this name allowed him to get his work published in his brother’s newspaper in Boston without his brother knowing it.
To get the real inside scoop on Ben Franklin’s life, legacy and lasting impression on historic Philadelphia, there’s really only one person to talk to- Benjamin Franklin! The new “Ben Franklin Tour” from Big Red Pedal Tours gives you your own privately guided 2-hour pedicycle tour with the legend himself. It will feel like you’ve stepped back in time on this 15 passenger bicycle while Ben Franklin gives you a first hand account of his experiences in the very destinations you ride to and past on your tour. Ask him questions about his inventions, the Declaration of Independence, the whole prostitute ordeal and even take a selfie with him next to his gravestone at Christ Church! #historygoth
Book your Ben Franklin Tour here and guarantee your group a memorable experience that will be fun for the whole family in historic Philadelphia!