More Culture:

June 30, 2015

Four lesser-known historic spots in Philadelphia to visit this 4th of July holiday

History Fourth of July
Philadelphia National Cemetery Philadelphia National Cemetery/U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

The Philadelphia National Cemetery just north of Germantown.

It's almost Independence Day, which means quite simply, it's time to celebrate 'Merica.

Philadelphia, while on the rise with new development, is still most well known for its historical significance. 

To appreciate Philly as the birthplace of the nation, there are plenty of places to visit; Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc.

But the city's history runs much deeper than that, and is littered with spots that the average tourist might never think to visit, but deserve a stop for their deep impact on both the city and the nation.

So with the Fourth of July right around the corner, here's four lesser-known patriotic and historical spots to visit in Philadelphia. 

Doughboy Park

Northern Liberties - 2nd and Spring Garden streets

Doughboy Park Philadelphia
Doughboy Park in Northern Liberties. (Google Maps/Street View)

This park, located at the busy intersection on the southern border of Northern Liberties, pays tribute to local residents who served in the First World War. It's anchored by the iconic Doughboy statue, named for the generally accepted nickname for U.S. Army soldiers during the time of the conflict. The park underwent a renovation in 2012 according to Hidden City, and now features benches and shrubbery to surround the bust of an American serviceman marching on with his fist held in the air. fOR Philadelphia and the surrounding region's involvement and impact on the war, check out the Philadelphia Encyclopedia's history here

The Cliffs 

Fairmount Park - 33rd and Oxford streets
The Cliffs Fairmount Park
The Cliffs in Fairmount Park. (Wikipedia Commons)

If you stumble upon this shell of a building in Fairmount Park, it might strike you as nothing more as a house lost to the test of time and tainted by vandalism. As Hidden City points out, the building, which was put on the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970's, has fallen victim to graffiti, arson and nature in recent years. 

However despite its current state, the building has a unique place in the early formation of this country. It was home to Benjamin Franklin's daughter's operation stitching uniforms  for colonial soldiers during the Revolutionary War, according to a 1986 Philadelphia Inquirer article. It was also the childhood home to Joseph Wharton, a Quaker industrialist who founded both the University of Pennsylvania's business school and Swarthmore college. 

St. Peter's Episcopal Church 

Society Hill - 313 Pine Street

St Peter's Episcopal Church in Society Hill
St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Society Hill. (St. Peter's Episcopal Church/Facebook)

This South Philly church, built in 1761, has been the place of worship for many important Philadelphians throughout the city's history. Keeping most of it's original 18th century structure in place, it includes a burial ground for several of the country's founding fathers and Revolutionary War heroes. It was founded through a donation by the sons of William Penn, and their family coat of arms can still be seen hanging above the entrance of the building. For worship hours, click here. For more on the church's history and significance, click here

Philadelphia National Cemetery

North Philadelphia - Limekiln Pike and Haines Street

Philadelphia National Cemetery

Philadelphia National Cemetery just north of Germantown. (Philadelphia National Cemetery/U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs)

This cemetery became the consolidation of several military cemeteries around the city in 1885. It serves as the resting ground for many Civil War veterans, as well as those who served in later conflicts. Home to two Medal of Honor recipients, the grounds of this cemetery also features several war monuments, including one that honors those who lost their lives in the Revolutionary War. You can visit daily from 8 a.m. until sunset. That excludes national holidays, with the exception of Memorial's Day and Veteran's Day. For more on the cemetery's history, click here