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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: October 2, 1996
Byline: James J. Cunningham, Media, PA

Letter: The Morris house is forgotten in the Mall debate

I have been following with great interest the debate over the future development of the area surrounding Independence Hall.

Many ideas of merit have been represented, but I am amazed that no one has proposed, nor has the Park Service explored, the reconstruction of the Robert Morris house at the corner of Sixth and Market Streets. This long-ignored location of Philadelphia's "White House," where George Washington resided when the Quaker city was the capital of the United States, has been lost in the desire to create grand spaces and monumental structures in the shadow of Independence Hall.

What could be more important to historic preservation in this area, or of greater relevance to the great events that occurred in the early days of our nation, than to reconstruct Washington's home and office? Although not a lot of information is available on the house, enough historic records exist to enable an appropriate replica to be completed. If the Graff house was worthy of reproduction, why not the Morris mansion?

Such a reconstruction could serve as a museum of the history of the executive branch of our federal government, as well as a historical library dedicated to all American presidents. Such a building could even be tied in with other proposed structures and serve as an entranceway to them.

Let's make some long-overdue effort to honor this hallowed site, and treat it with the respect it deserves for the vital role and contributions the Morris house made to the history of our beloved country. At the very least, we should make a better effort to identify and explain this corner to the thousands of tourists who pass by never realizing the events that occurred here.

 

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