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Source: Evening Bulletin
Date: January 9, 1952
Byline: Ernest Howard Yardley

To the Editor of the Evening Bulletin*

* This article was written for the Evening Bulletin. We have not been able to verify that it was published.

Notes
The following is misinformation in this article:

The demolition of the various structures between Market and Chestnut Streets for the Mall northward from the Independence Hall group, is assuming such aspect that we can begin to appreciate our historic shrine from a more pleasing angle.

However, it is most unfortunate that the demolition is progressing with no regard, on the part of the State Director of the Project, for the several other important buildings within the area which were of decided prominence during our early history.

Particular tradition is attached to what was originally known as 190 High Street, but known to our time as 526-28-30 Market Street, where President George Washington resided from 1790 to 1797 and our second President, John Adams, from 1797 to 1800, during the time when Philadelphia was the temporary capital of the United States.

Close by was the home of Robert Morris, who was credited with bringing the seat of the federal government to Philadelphia from New York; nearer Fifth Street was the home of James Madison, later President of the United States, and who while residing here won as his wife the celebrated "Dolly" who lived at the north-east corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets.

Also within the historic square, Griffith Jones, the third Mayor of Philadelphia under the charter of 1791, resided in the house which was later bought by Judge Kinsey; and which was still later "hired" by the Pennsylvania Hospital, when it began its services to mankind, on a somewhat charitable basis, while the first structure of the still existing group was being erected on the plot bounded by 8th, 9th, Spruce and Pine Streets.

On the east side of 6th St., shortly above Chestnut was the office of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, now known as the Department of State. This property later became the home of John Lawrence, Chief Justice under the colonial government. In the actual corner property resided Aide-de-Camp Peter S. Duponceau; and directly opposite the "State House" there stood the State House Inn, where, no doubt, many of the happenings of that time were planned.

The writer is making no attempt to argue for the duplication of any of these historic buildings, but as the locations of each has been authenticated, and in some cases the foundations are known to still exist, the adopted plan of the area should be made to include full size markers, at the original grade level, to indicate the locations and extent of the original structures.

The attitude of the Commonwealth has been to ignore these venerable places and clear the site of all foundations by the use of bull dozers. This was called to the attention of the State Official in charge, and from whom the direction of the work emanates, his reply, now on record, was that the appropriation would not permit of such careful and meticulous excavation as would be required under the suggestion advanced. Therefore, it is not desirable to instuitute the necessary measures to interrupt the work, until the appreciation of the times and conditions which we venerate are comprehended, so that there would be created a plain and informative reminder of the time of the birth of our country.

Ernest Howard Yardley, A.I.A. Chairman, Biography and History Committee, Philadelphia Chapter, American Institute of Architects

 

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