Benjamin Franklin

I get to fill you all in on all things Franklin from our trip.

As most Americans know, Ben Franklin is Philly's most famous citizen, known for his inventions, public service, and witticisms. I must confess that I am a huge fan, and the first thing I said when we started planning our trip was that I wanted to visit his house. Well, his house is no longer standing, but in its place stands Franklin Court, a replica of his original block complete with a sample printer's shop and a museum.

The frame replicas of Franklin's homes are the most unique feature of the court. A museum was built underneath to prevent the place from being bought and developed. The museum features some of Franklin's most famous inventions and maxims, along with information about his life and work. My favorite Franklin invention is definitely the library chair, a chair that doubles as a stepstool when the seat is turned over.

We also visited the mock printer's shop with its Franklin impersonator. He was showing some children how an old printing press works. As a bibliophile, even the most mundane aspects of books, like how they are printed, fascinate me. We also visited the post office next door, which still serves as an official U.S. Post Office. Later this week, I plan to visit the Free Library, another gift from Franklin to America.

For me, Ben Franklin is THE forefather of America. His pragmatism and economy epitomize what is best and worst about our country. As Americans, we can't help but have a little bit of Franklin in all of us. Many of us view our world through an economic lens (time is money). Others live their lives guided by simple maxims. Still others seek innovative ways to make life easier for ourself and others. In all these things, we live in the great shadow of Franklin, and he and Philadelphia will never let us forget that.

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