Historic Philadelphia Walking Tour Activities
Activity 1 Location: Franklin Court
Market Street, between 3rd and 4th Streets September 16–17, 1765
On the walking tour of historic Philadelphia, stop at Franklin Court and examine newspa- pers on display in the print shop. Walk into the courtyard where you will see the frame of the Franklin home, torn down shortly after Franklin’s death and replaced with row-houses.
Standing in front of what was once Franklin’s home, imagine that you are present on the evening of September 16, 1765, observing the events as they are taking place. You see a crowd gathering and hear angry shouts condemning Franklin for supporting the Stamp Act. Franklin is in London and his wife, Deborah, and a few members of her family occupy the house. An angry crowd approaches, torches in hand, threatening to burn the house. Outside, some of Franklin’s friends, aware of the anger of the mob, have gathered to show their support for Dr. Franklin and to insure Deborah’s safety. Deborah is on the second floor with rifle in hand, prepared to defend her home. After a noisy demonstration, the crowd disperses and the Franklin home is untouched. The next day, Deborah writes a letter to her husband telling of the incident. If you have seen the Lights of Liberty Show you will have a vivid memory of this event.
Photograph from the Lights of Liberty Show
Use data gathered from your tour of the Franklin Print Shop. Add information from your readings in Lesson One regarding opposition to the Stamp Act in Philadelphia, including Franklin’s apparent support of the act demonstrated by his recommendation of John Hughes to act as tax agent in Philadelphia. Then create a special issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette reporting the events leading to and including the riot outside the Franklin home.