Invisible house, invisible slavery: Struggles of public history at Independence National Historical Park

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

For most of two centuries, the southeast corner of Sixth and Market Streets in Philadelphia stirred little public interest, despite its location one block north of Independence Hall, the landmark birthplace of the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution. Along Market Street, a major thoroughfare, eighteenth-century houses gave way to nineteenth-century commercial buildings. When the light industrial zone fell into decay in the twentieth century, entire blocks were leveled to create a vista of landscaped plazas reaching for three blocks north of Independence Hall. The resulting Independence Mall, originally a state park, became the north-south axis of Independence National Historical Park. Situated within the park boundaries, the southeast corner of Sixth and Market Streets served as no more than a convenient site for a women's restroom structure. A simple wayside marker provided only a brief summary of a more notable history: that during the late eighteenth century, this had been the site of a fine mansion owned by the Revolutionary War financier Robert Morris. During the 1790s, when Philadelphia served as the nation's capital, Presidents George Washington and John Adams occupied this house and established the presidency of the new republic within its walls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCulture and Belonging in Divided Societies
Subtitle of host publicationContestation and Symbolic Landscapes
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Pages216-237
Number of pages22
Volume9780812203509
ISBN (Electronic)9780812203509
ISBN (Print)9780812221978
StatePublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences

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