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The place that wasn’t there Aug 02

As I browsed around Old City, I chanced upon a building named Independence National Historical Park, operated by the National Park Service. The place immediately piqued my interest. Last weekend I had marshaled at the two-day PA Dutch MS bicycle ride through rural eastern PA. 600 bicyclists in 100-degree heat for 100 miles (or less, depending on the bicyclist). In the evening we had supper at Millersville University and I happened to sit across from one of the other marshals, a young lady who works for the National Park Service. Although I have absolutely no romantic intent (scout’s honor—I’m happily married), we hit it off, being both hard-core long-distance motorcyclists and nature enthusiasts. So I figured I’d check the place out.

The style of the building didn’t exactly fit this area of town. This is the only photo of the place I could find—I copied it from a photographer who goes by “lindalunacy.” Thank you, um, Linda.

You can see a little of the building in the lower right corner of the photo. The style of the building matches the tower.

It turns out that the bell tower houses the Bicentennial Bell, a gift from England back in 1976. The Queen came over for a visit and personally presented the bell. Her comments are inscribed on the inside wall of the tower. The message is the best description of a war from the point of view of the “loosing” side that I have ever read. The gist was that England learned a lesson and didn’t repeat the mistake with her other colonies, and now we’re good friends.

Alas, the building was closed. Permanently. I was thinking about chiding my friend for letting the National Park Service fail me, but I saw (and accosted) some official-looking people who happened to be walking toward the building. I learned that it’s closed because its contents are being moved to a larger, nicer site in Valley Forge. The building was a museum with loads of artifacts. Might be worth a trip to Valley Forge when the move is complete.

Perhaps in your travels you have found an interesting-looking place that was closed. Feel free to tell us your adventure.

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Category: Adventure, Misadventure
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