Camp Martin Travels

These entries will be a combination of historical day trips, graduate level travel courses, and just little stops along the way. I have been teaching 8th grade American History for over 25 years. I am also a Civil War Reenactor and have traveled to Germany and Austria with several groups of exchange students and written about our adventures. Please check all my posts by using the monthly Blog Archive tabs shown below. I have posted over 150 Blog Episodes since 2009... Please explore them all!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Valley Forge - Part 1/3


Cannon Behind Earthworks
Following the British victory at the Battle of Brandywine, the doorway to the city of Philadelphia was wide open and British occupation of the city was inevitable. The Continental Congress moved out as the Redcoats approached and made their way west to safety in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  General William Howe and the British troops under his command entered the city in September of 1777 and made preparations to settle in for a long winter's nap. Washington was determined to retake the city by force and looked for a place to camp nearby that was close enough to keep an eye on General Howe and friends and yet be well-protected at the same time.

Soldier Field of Encampment
Washington found himself in a familiar position... on the outside looking in.  The British had been able to occupy the cities of Boston, New York, and now Philadelphia as winter approached year after year.  The war came to a standstill with the approaching cold weather and once again, the British would be well provisioned and warm until spring in their urban fortress.  Washington was ever hopeful that the tables could be turned and chose a spot about twenty-two miles from his adversary.  Washington and Howe had played cat and mouse throughout the war and here they were once again within each others grasp.  Washington and his men arrived at Valley Forge a few days before Christmas with few provisions.  Two days later six inches of snow fell upon the weary men.  

Reconstructed Winter Hut
The men constructed a quick tent city and went about gathering any available supplies.  Washington gave the order for the immediate construction of winter huts to shield his troops from the elements.  The specifications for identical cabins were set and the plan was laid for an organized military encampment.  Washington refused to take up residence in a nearby house until all the men had adequate quarters of their own and pitched his tent along side his men until the last hut was completed.  It was actions like this that enabled his men to believe in him and follow him into hardship.  No one had more to lose than a wealthy landowner like Washington who risked all he had for the cause that brought them together in this cold and barren place.

Officer's Hut / Inside View
Over 2,000 huts were constructed with a dozen men taking up residence within each one, sharing everything inside including one set of cookware and eating utensils.  Clothing was so scarce that the men were forced to share, combining their individual garments together into one complete outfit for those assigned to outside duty.  The huts were outfitted with homemade pieces of crude wooden furniture including rows of bunk-beds that ran the length of each wall.  A rough-hewn fireplace and chimney were added to provide an interior heat source. The men did the best with what they had and prepared for an ordeal that one out of every four would not survive.

The Barren Country
Valley Forge was easy to defend against a possible British attack but the site was isolated far from supply sources in what was described as barren country.  Feeding an army of 11,000 men was a constant hardship with the camp consuming 35,000 pounds of meat and 60 barrels of flour every day.  Men were organized into foraging parties to go into the countryside to procure (steal) supplies by whatever means came to hand.  Washington carried the heavy weight of the burden his men were facing but needed to conceal the dire conditions from the outside world fearing the British would see an opportunity.  Congress was slow to respond thinking the descriptions were exaggerated.  Finally several congressmen traveled to the camp and were appalled by the hardships they witnessed.  Over 2,000 of the men were without the simple necessity of shoes. 

Continental Army Monument
Most of Washington's troops were young men ages seventeen to twenty-one who were earning a pay of eight dollars a month.  Most could not afford to buy the small bread pies nearby sutlers were selling for two dollars each.  Price gouging was another hardship confronting the soldiers but rare comforts were hard to resist come payday.  Most hoped for a care package from home that might arrive with the one camp order all men valued most... mail call! 

Wooded Glen
Horses also suffered from the lack of supplies at Valley Forge.  Over 2,000 horses were used to pull heavy supply wagons hauling provisions to feed the army and they provided efficient transportation for officers.  Each horse required 8 pounds of grain and 12 pounds of hay each day.  Over 700 horses starved to death during the army's six-month stay at Valley Forge.  Men were forced to take the place of fallen beasts pulling the wagons great distances to acquire essential supplies. The men grew weaker with time and the crowded camp became a breeding ground for disease.  Over 2,500 men died during the Continental Army's stay at Valley Forge.  More men perished at Valley Forge than in any battle during the war. 

Main Central Monument
Finally, Washington placed one of his top generals in charge of reorganizing and improving supply lines for the army.  Nathanael Greene was not pleased with the assignment of Quartermaster General of the Continental Army but had the mind and skills to make the plan bear fruit.  He redesigned the entire inefficient system and as spring approached, conditions began to improve.  In time, Greene would gain the reputation as Washington's most valued general and would be awarded command of the southern campaign where so many previous Continental officers had failed.  His ability to organize and carry out strategic plans of action were instrumental in American victories in the Carolinas and the eventual defeat of British General Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown. 

General "Mad Anthony" Wayne
A grand statue of General Wayne sits upon a grassy knoll where his likeness faces his home in nearby Chester County.  Wayne was a great asset to Greene who helped replace lost soldiers and acquire stores of clothing for the men.  Another bright spot was the arrival of a Prussian drill sergeant who had been sent by Ben Franklin to help the cause.  Friedrich Von Steuben arrived in camp and went to work training the inexperienced troops in European tactics and formations.  He spoke little English but was helped by Alexander Hamilton and Nathanael Greene who translated his barked commands. Von Steuben cursed the men through methodical drills day after day but they grew to love the foreign born drillmaster.  He served without pay and seemed as committed as anyone for the cause of liberty.  Von Steuben's fellow countrymen, the Hessians were fighting for the enemy as rented soldiers.  The men of the Continental Army practiced bayonet charges and slowly the rag-tag army began to transform itself into a professional fighting force.

The Wild Locals
In the end, the Continental Army faced one of their greatest challenges of the war. Enduring the extreme winter elements of Mother Nature, an enemy they never anticipated facing.  They suffered terrible losses but emerged in the spring, as a more efficient and better-trained unit.  The skills developed at Valley Forge would serve the men well as they lived on to fight another day and eventually as they traveled down the road to victory. At Yorktown, they would face the British with the bayonet, the weapon they once feared most, and beat them at their own game.  It would be the last major battle of the war.

Please See my Additional Photographs of Valley Forge Park at...

Katelyn and I found the entire site well maintained and a pleasure to tour.  It was a beautiful warm sunny day and a stark contrast to the barren cold that confronted the soldiers long ago. Next, we are off to visit Washington's headquarters down the road.  Let's go!




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Virginia / Battle of New Market

Civil War Reenacting / PA 30th Co. E
The Battle of New Market / Virginia

Pvt. E. Hartmann / Pvt. J. Martin
In this episode of Camp Martin Travels we are going off to war!  Pack your bags and say goodbye to your sweethearts (for the weekend) because the Union must be preserved!  My good friend and fellow teaching colleague Ed Hartmann and I were about to pack up the wagon (SUV) and head south to face Johnny Reb in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, the land of Jefferson Davis and the Confederacy!  This was my second trip down south to reenact the Battle of New Market, originally fought on May 15, 1864.  Ed and I had some rations for breakfast (Burger King) and jumped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and headed down yonder way to face our treasonous foe. 

The Campaigners
The Shenandoah Valley is a beautiful place and it was easy to see why the South fought so hard to keep it.  Ed and I arrived and pitched our tents along with our fellow Pa 30th brothers on the tent street assigned to our brigade.  The weekend event would include two reenacted battle engagements, one of which would portray the original script from 1864.  The first battle on Saturday is called a skirmish where both sides try to out flank and maneuver around one-another like a chess match.  The important thing is... at the end of the day both sides can claim a landslide victory since there is no official ruling on a winner or loser.  The North totally dominated... high fives all around!  The second battle on Sunday is the scripted battle to recreate the conflict as it unfolded in May of 1864.  So we needed to have fun on Saturday because we knew we were going to lose on Sunday just like every year since the actual battle took place. 

The Remains of the Day
During the encampment we all try to recreate history and be as authentic as possible, eating foods from the time period and cooking over an open fire.  One of the best times is after the crowds of spectators leave and darkness rolls in where stories are told around the fire and songs from long ago come back to life.  There are several types of infantry soldiers in attendance.  First you have groups called the Campaigners who basically carry all their gear, to advance to a predetermined location as quickly as possible.  They travel light and often sleep on the ground under the stars with wool blankets for cover.  Most soldiers arrived this way to any particular destination while a baggage train slowly trailed behind with the bulk of the heavy gear.  Campaigners can often be identified at a reenactment by the blanket roll slung over their shoulder.  

Awaiting the Enemy at the Fence Line
Other soldiers carried what was called a shelter half, a small piece of thick canvas that could be buttoned to another soldiers to form what was known as a dog tent.  This would shelter two men from the rain while on the move.  When the army stopped at a spot in which they planned to stay for a while, they would set up a more permanent camp with larger canvas tents called A-frame tents that were assembled in straight rows called streets.  Each man was responsible for cooking his own food with a small frying pan that also served as a plate.  Several soldiers shared a common fire and worked together to maintain it by supplying wood.  This seasoned wood was often found within the nearest farmer's fence.  The army was often not a very popular guest as foraging parties were sent to secure needed supplies from civilians in the area. 

Johnny Reb Advances
I have been in many living history encampments but this was my first actual battle reenactment.  The previous year I was still a newbie and sat on the sidelines during Sunday's battle to get a feel for how the process worked.  One of the most frequent questions people ask is... How do you know who gets shot?  The easy answer is when you run out of ammo or when you get tired.  Then it is time to fall down in the tall grass and take a hit!  Few people fall in the early stages of the battle because a lot of people drove long distances to attend and they want to get their time in the field.  Some participants in our brigade drove from Maine to attend and wanted to make the most of their investment of time and travel.  Reenacting on the field is quite a workout!  The equipment is heavy, including the wool clothing, rifle, full canteen, brogan shoes, and leather belts.  The total weight of the combined gear is about 50 pounds.  The battle is fast moving and you wind up jogging up and down hills over several hundred yards for over an hour.  I'd like to see fitness guru Richard Simmons try it!  However, he's so annoying he would probably be shot by his own men before the battle even started!  Ouch!

Retreat and Reform / Orchard
Now back to the reenactment... Waiting by the field fence was much like the real thing... experiencing feelings of uneasy anticipation and excitement at the same time.  A phrase my father often parroted from his days in the army came to mind... Hurry up and wait! We sat there for about a half hour peering across the long field waiting for the enemy to make their appearance.  Since this battle was located in the south and was a Confederate victory... The enemy forces in attendance promised to be very high.  The Union on the other hand... well we were going to lose any way.  A line of color suddenly appeared on the horizon and was moving slowly toward us... Still we sat by the fence without movement or instructions... Hurry up and wait and wait and wait!  Within ten minutes the earth-tone colors came into focus and hundreds of rebel soldiers were upon us... Our line quickly came to life following orders that were barked down the line.


In the actual battle, the Union was determined to secure the fertile land in the Shenandoah Valley and put pressure on Lee's army that was tangled with Grant. The Battle of New Market would be the beginning of the Valley Campaigns of 1864.  Major General Franz Sigel with 6,000+ troops advanced into New Market, Virginia to threaten the Confederate forces nearby.  Confederate General John C. Breckenridge gathered all available troops to defend the area including 257 young cadets from the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) to be used in reserve as a last resort.  However, Union artillery punched holes in the Confederate center and Sigel recognized the opportunity and ordered a charge at the disorganized gap in the line.  Breckenridge had to fill the gap in the line or abandon the field to the Union.
Firing a Volley by Files
In desperation, Breckenridge ordered in the inexperienced VMI cadets with fixed bayonets to fill in the 100-yard opening in the center of his line.  The young cadets filled in the broken line at the farm fence outside Bushong's orchard and bravely pushed the advancing Union forces back into retreat.  Seigel's charge had failed and the Confederate forces rapidly swept over the Union troops, capturing many from the 34th Massachusetts.  It was a huge victory for the Confederates and the young cadets were hailed as the heroes that saved the day.  One of the cadets climbed atop one of the captured Union cannons and triumphantly waved the VMI flag in victory.   

Union Artillery Support
Now we were about to reenact the historical description noted above.  All of our drilling and marching in preparation for the event now came into good use as the regiments moved across the field as a single smooth well trained unit.  We stood fast and fired volley after volley at the approaching enemy.  However, we were quickly overrun and fell back (according to the historical script) and took refuge in the orchard on the Bushong farm that became the geographical center of the battlefield. There we fired again and again... sometimes as a unit and other times at will.  My Enfield musket barrel was hot to the touch and I was beginning to run out of ammo and energy.

Union Drummer Boy Causality
I really wanted to get some pictures so I had hidden my camera inside my haversack enabling me to get all these images.  I was taking a shot with my musket and then taking another shot with my camera.  I was almost out of ammo and was now completely out of breath.  I had lost Ed somewhere in the orchard and decided to take a hit falling at the back of the orchard.  However, I realized that I was in the enemy territory of the south and did not want to become a prisoner of war.  Some of the rebel reenactors looked a little psycho and might not remember we were only pretending. I picked up my gear and worked my way to the sideline and then back where it was safe with the Union generals and artillery units located to the rear of the action.

VMI Cadets Merge with the Line
The rear position gave me the best view of the final few minutes of action as I could watch the historical script play itself out before me.  The battle suddenly ended when a VMI reenactor climbed the captured cannon and waved the VMI flag in victory. The crowd of several thousand spectators cheered the end of action.  Both units headed back to camp to tear down the streets of canvas and prepare for the long ride home.  The Battle of New Market is a rare opportunity for reenactors because the battle actually takes place on the original battlefield.  Most recreated battles are not performed on the sacred, hallowed ground of the fallen.  It was a fun and exciting weekend with good friends and old historical foes.  I plan on making it an annual pilgrimage... even though we will lose every year!

VMI Cadet on Cannon in Victory
This year will mark the 146th Anniversary of the Battle of New Market.  The action takes place on May 15th and 16th in 2010.  Please visit their official web homepage to learn more and possibly plan a visit. Ed and I will be there, stop by and say howdy ya' all!

Please See My Additional Photographs of the Battle of New Market at....

Beat Street / Dog Tent
Did You Know... The nickname "dog tent" used to describe two connected shelter halves came from the old soldier's joke that when assembled... it wasn't big enough to shelter a dog from the weather.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Phila. / Christ Church

Round About Philly Series
Philadelphia / Christ Church

Christ Church / North 3rd Street
Today we are going to pay a visit to one of Philadelphia's most sacred landmarks.  A place where most of the Founding Fathers came together to put political differences aside for one day of the week. The Second Continental Congress attended as a whole in 1775-1776.  They came to sit quietly together in the presence of a higher power and may have prayed for guidance and perhaps, forgiveness.  Many came from distant places and may have been filled with private thoughts of their loved ones.  There is something special about the space and silence that exists within a structure built for worship.  The church today is a balance between religious services of an active congregation and public tours of the historic landmark visited by over 250,000 people a year.  Let's explore Christ Church and the abundant history contained inside.

Churchyard / North 3rd Street
The church first started as a small wooden structure in 1695 among the many Quaker meetinghouses that dominated the city's early landscape.  The current church building was built on the same location in 1727 to serve the growing community.  Christ Church was the first Anglican Church (Church of England) in Pennsylvania.  Some of the famous individuals who attended services here include George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Robert Morris, Dr. Benjamin Rush, Betsy Ross, and occasionally Thomas Jefferson. As a result, the Georgian style building is often called The Nation's Church and is one of the ten most visited places in Philadelphia.  It is ironic that many of the statesmen debating the future of the colonies affiliation to the mother country were worshiping at the King's church when in Philadelphia.

Crest of King George II
Christ Church is the only public building in America today that has the image of King George II proudly displayed on the outside facade.  The bas-relief likeness is located above the main arched window on North 3rd Street, inside the large window is the front of the sanctuary.  The popular church fell on hard times during the revolution when Americans were disassociating themselves with anything connected with England.  The bust of King George II was removed in the 1790's after another image of the crown was previously defaced during the American Revolution.  A large coat of arms of King George III was pulled down and destroyed on 2nd Street but someone carried off one of the broken fragments (1/3 of the crest) and it was later returned to the church.  The fragment hangs inside the church today within the sanctuary.  The bas-relief of King George II was also later returned to its proper place perched above the Palladian window.  Most of what was lost is found again!

The Episcopalian Church
Following the American Revolution the church needed to change with the times in order to survive.  The rector of the church at the time, Bishop William White, led a movement to reinvent the parish as the first Protestant Episcopal Church in America.  Unlike the other Anglican ministers, White supported the revolution and served as Chaplin to the Continental Congress and United States Senate.  White was known more for his charitable works for the city of Philadelphia than for his skills as a religious speaker.  He founded the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, founded a school for African American and Native American children in the city, created ministries for local public prisons, and was well remembered for his selfless efforts during the yellow fever outbreaks of the 1790's, remaining in the city to tend to the sick.  Bishop White served the church for fifty-seven years.  Following his death, he was honorably buried within the church yard.

Christ Church Sanctuary
The space within a church or any other place of worship is a capsule of humanity.  Since the building's birth, the walls of the church have housed the beginnings of life and the ends of life for parishioners who attended.  For many of us, religious ceremonies are the bookends of the story of our lives.  This is a place where many of us also mark the milestones of our lives... including baptisms, christenings, and weddings.  It is a container of private personal thoughts and prayers where people silently voice their inner most fears, concerns, and positive hopes for another day.  It is a place of light when the outside world is dark, providing comfort within walls of strength and solitude. 

The Pulpit and Baptismal Front
The current raised pulpit was built in 1769 and is still used in weekly services every Sunday morning.  One of the historical centerpieces was given to the church from across the Atlantic.  The baptismal font dates back to the 1300's and was donated by the All Hallows-by-the-Tower church in London that was attended and financially supported by the Penn family. This church gets its name from the fact it is so close to the Tower of London and a few who were executed at the famous prison are buried in the nearby churchyard.  This is the church in where William Penn was first baptized in 1644 and the baptismal font used in this service is now used to baptize Philadelphia's children of Christ Church's congregation. 

The Tower and Steeple
Did you Know... The church wanted to add a steeple to the church but the congregation considered the high cost too steep to add a steeple.  Enter the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin, who created a lottery fundraiser to collect the money needed to build the wooden steeple.  Conflict of interests?  Anyway, he later conducted two more lotteries, one of which paid for the tower's bells.  The 200 foot tall steeple was the first thing sailors looked for as they sailed toward the port city.  It remains one of the most visible sites of the old city skyline.

Sanctuary / Facing Market Street
Did you Know...  Betsy Ross joined Christ Church following her marriage to John Ross.  The proposed marriage was not supported by her Quaker family and later led to the couple eloping across the river in New Jersey.  Following this event, she was expelled from the Quaker community and she and her husband then joined Christ Church.  It turned out to be a good move because this is the location that most likely brought her in contact with George Washington, which resulted in the creation of the first American Flag.

Notable Interments 
(Famous Individuals Buried within Courtyard)

General John Forbes - Military leader of the French and Indian War who built the Forbes Road and captured Fort Duquesne, which later became Pittsburgh, Pa.

Governor John Penn - Grandson of William Penn who served as Governor and Proprietor of Pennsylvania until the American Revolution began in 1776.

Jacob Broom - Member of the Continental Congress and Signer of the United States Constitution from Wilmington, Delaware.  He died while visiting Philadelphia on business.

Pierce Butler - Signer of the United States Constitution from South Carolina who also served three terms in the United States Senate.

Major General Henry Lee
- Military Leader of the Continental Army who was later removed from command (court-martial) by Washington for disobeying orders and insubordination. 

Robert Morris Jr.
- Member of the Continental Congress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, Signer of the United States Constitution, and one of Pennsylvania's first two senators.

James Wilson - Member of the Continental Congress, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Signer of the United States Constitution.  He died in 1796 while visiting a friend in N. Carolina but was later re-interred in 1906 within Christ Churchyard.  There is no place like home!

Note: Other important Philadelphians including Benjamin Franklin and family are buried at the Christ Church Cemetery one block west of the church.

Stained Glass Window / Continental  Congress

Please See My Additional Photos of Christ Church at...

Monday, March 1, 2010

Phila. / Penn Tower


Round About Philly Series
Philadelphia / Penn Tower

 Observation Deck Below the Statue
Ok, I checked out the exterior of the building, now it was time to check out the tower.  I never realized you could go up the tower of City Hall to view the skyline of Philadelphia. I was looking for a view of the city from above and remembered going to the top of some tall building to see the city from an observation deck when I was a kid.  However, a lot of security changes have taken place over the years, especially since September 11th.  A friendly doorman gave me a tip to check out City Hall and sure enough, it is the only spot in the city to get a bird's eye view.

  Penn Tower / City Hall
There were police officers coming and going from the evidence and courtrooms inside.  One pointed me to a side office doorway in one of the entrance tunnels to see about a tower tour.  There was a desk with a sign taped to the front advertising tours of the tower.  I had no idea what this actually meant or what I would be able to see.  The tour cost me five-dollars and I had to walk to the tower tour entrance on one of the upper floors by exiting to the outside of City Hall.  It took me about fifteen minutes to make my way through the maze of twists and turns to the elevator.  I got on the elevator to the seventh floor with two police officers.  I suddenly realized how much of a dork I must have looked like with my backpack on, my camera hanging around my neck and a bright orange tour sticker (see above) on my chest!  Can you say... TOURIST?    

 William Penn Above my Head
The expressions of the officers were enough to confirm my worst fears and I was sure some derogatory comment at my expense soon followed their exit off the elevator on one of the lower floors.  Yeah, I looked like a dork but I would never see those guys again so on to the five-dollar tour!  I followed a red line on the floor to the tour waiting area.  As I walked the hallways the age of the old building was showing.  I finally ended up at the waiting room and opened the door to peer inside at how many people would be joining me on my tour.  Guess what... 

Liberty # 1 / Liberty # 2 Towers
I was surprised to find the room empty and quiet, not even a city worker at the desk.  A note on the tower elevator door instructed tourist dorks like me to have a seat and read the historical displays around the room until my scheduled appointment at the top of the hour.  It was strangely dead quiet and I was suddenly all alone in the big busy city.  I was able to get a small glimpse of what was to come by peering out a few windows.  The view promised to be spectacular.  The time started to drag and still no one else came through the door.  The room attendant was also still a no-show and I was beginning to feel like I had been forgotten.  However, the elevator shaft vibrated to life and the doors suddenly opened to reveal a city worker and two tourist dorks just like me.       

The Amtrak Building
I boarded the elevator with the security officer and the small car began to climb to the observatory deck.  The elevator car was small and the sign inside said it could hold six adults... yeah, maybe in 1901 but I was now glad to be going solo.  The inside of the car had glass windows to reveal the interior of the tower.  It was a series of unfinished floors with thick brick walls.  Wooden braces seemed to hold the four sides of the tower together.  An iron spiral squared staircase seemed to follow the elevator shaft in the center.  The highlight of the ride was passing by the four squared clock faces from the inside.  I have seen stuff like this in the movies but never firsthand.  Soon we were at the top and I was instructed to exit the car to the inside of the tower, which wasn't much bigger than the car itself.  I walked in a semicircle around the elevator shaft to an open gap where sunlight was suddenly visible. 

 The Decorated Square Below
I stepped out onto the observation deck to take in the visual landscape spread out across the horizon.  The guard never followed and I was alone on top of the City of Brotherly Love.  It was strangely silent as I was enclosed in glass.  The ceiling above was a combination of glass and iron open grates and William Penn stood tall in his famous stance above me.  It had snowed the night before and snow and ice covered parts of the towering statue.

 Statue's Arm before Lifted into Position
(Source / City Archives of Philadelphia)
The statue of William Penn above my head is the largest statue on top of a building in the world .  Despite it being hollow inside, the bronze likeness of the founding proprietor of Penn's Woods weighs in at 27 tons.  The statue looks so small from the ground but is actually 37 feet tall.  There is a small access crawl space up through the statue, which comes to a small hatch door in Penn's hat that can be opened to get access to the top of William Penn's head. (No Thanks)  

Philadelphia Art Museum / Distance
I was in the dead center of the city, positioned in the middle of the compass rose of Philadelphia.  The city streets shot out in all directions at organized angles as I encircled the small deck to capture every possible view.  The sky was hazy to the south where the oil refineries steamed in the far reaches of my line of sight.  The silence was occasionally broken by loud crashes without warning that caused me to jump.  Large chunks of ice were falling off the hat and shoulders of the statue and crashing down on the grates and glass above.  The sun had recently come out to light up the cold and gray skies just in time for my fifteen-minute window enabling me to take some nice pictures of the view. 

Original Interior Stairwell
Soon my fifteen minutes were up when my city companion appeared in the gap of the tower.  He turned out to be a really nice guy who worked security for the mayor.  I asked him if he ever got tired of the view and he informed me that the tower tour guide position was rotated daily through the security detail of the Mayor's Office.  I thanked him and then worked my way down through the maze of hallways and corridors to the ground level of City Hall.  I captured a few images of the interior of the aging monument.  The iron stairwell above seemed to resemble some lost space aboard the Titanic. Hopefully funding can continue to be reserved to keep the Marble Elephant alive for the future sightseers (dorks) like me.       

Penn Tower by the Numbers
The William Penn Statue on the top of the tower weighs 27 tons...
It was created in 37 individual pieces and assembled on site...
It is the largest statue on top of a building in the world...
The Tower has four clock faces, one on each side of the tower...
Each of the four clock faces measure 26 feet in diameter...
Each clock's minute hand is 15 feet long / hour hand is 12.5 feet long...
The Weight of each clock hand is 200 lbs / total clock weight is 50 tons...
The four bronze eagles above each clock face weighs 3 tons each...
Each of the four eagles has a wing span of 15 feet...
The observation deck is 500 feet above street level...
      Did You Know: The Penn Statue designed by Alexander Milne Calder sat within the interior courtyard for one year until it was lifted into its final resting position on top of the tower of City Hall.

      Please See My Additional Photos of City Hall at...

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