In the Footsteps of the First President: George Washington's Philadelphia

PHIADELPHIA—As the first capital of the United States, Philadelphia played a pivotal role in George Washington's life as a general and president. Retrace his steps and discover where history unfolded in the City of Brotherly Love.

Revolutionary Headquarters and Political Hub

  • Independence Hall (6th and Chestnut Streets): Washington was a delegate to the Continental Congresses and commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He returned as president for the Constitutional Convention.
  • Congress Hall (6th and Chestnut Streets): Adjacent to Independence Hall, this stately building housed the early U.S. Congress, where Washington served his first presidential term (1790-1797).
  • President's House (site at 6th and Market Streets): Sadly, the original home is gone, but Washington's presidential residence stood on this spot. Exhibits explain its history and the controversial use of enslaved labor within the executive household.

The Military Leader

  • Valley Forge National Historical Park (Outside of Philadelphia): Though not in the city, no exploration of Washington in the region is complete without mentioning Valley Forge. Here, he and his troops endured the brutal winter of 1777-78, transforming into a more effective fighting force.
  • Museum of the American Revolution (3rd and Chestnut Streets): Explore immersive exhibits showcasing Washington's leadership, the hardships of war, and his iconic tent, which was used as a field headquarters.

Personal Life and Legacy

  • Deshler-Morris House (5442 Germantown Ave): Washington briefly used this Germantown home as a temporary headquarters during the Yellow Fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in 1793.
  • Washington Square (Between 6th and 7th, Walnut and Locust Streets): One of William Penn's original five squares, this park now features a memorial to the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier, a tribute fitting for the era Washington shaped.

Beyond the Landmarks

  • Portraits and Statues: Seek Washington's likeness in Philadelphia's museums and public spaces. His image became synonymous with the young nation.
  • City Tavern (138 S 2nd Street): Washington frequented this establishment like many founders. Enjoy a historically inspired meal while contemplating the political discussions that may have occurred here.

Important Notes

  • Opening hours: Always check ahead for visiting information.
  • Tours: Guided tours can provide richer context and behind-the-scenes knowledge.
  • Respectful Exploration: Remember, these are historical sites. Tread lightly and learn about the complexities of Washington's life, including his enslavement of others.