Four Years In, Philadelphia’s President’s House Still Dealing with Leaks

The Inquirer’s Stephan Salisbury reports today of the problems with the President’s House site on Independence Mall. The site at the southeast corner of 6th and Market was built to commemorate the original residence of the President of the United States — as well as the slaves Washington held there. The excavation at the site was an unexpectedly popular attraction.

And, apparently, it’s a mess! Most of the mess has to deal with leaks — in glass panels, in paving tiles, in a hatch door that the city repaired and still leaks. The city admits it did not construct an underground drain “but argued that it might not solve the problems anyway.” The project, which was developed jointly between the city and the National Park Service, was supposed to be turned over for maintenance to the park service after construction; that hasn’t happened.

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How Dow You Do, Stephen Starr?

Photo: Sandy Smith

Photo: Sandy Smith

This summer we wrote, “Paging Stephen Starr: Great Restaurant Space Up for Grabs on Independence Mall.” We were talking about the Dow Chemical Building, listed on the National Register, which had just come on the market. At the time, the listings agent, Robert Fahey of CBRE, was highlighting the 10,000 square feet already equipped for food service.

Keystone Property Group, Mack-Cali Realty Corp. and Parkway Corp. purchased the building in October, and have announced their plans for it — and those plans do, indeed, include a ground-floor restaurant.

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Hanging Out with Disappointed Tourists on Independence Mall


The great thing about government shutdowns it that they bring people together. If you go to Independence Mall today—or any day for the foreseeable future—you’ll notice large groups of people standing around on the grass, talking to one another. How nice. These are people who came for the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, or the Independence Hall Visitor Center–all of which are closed. In fact, if you want to play a sadistic parlor game, go linger by the entrances of any one of these places, wait for unsuspecting tourists to pull fruitlessly at the doors, and then–preferably leaning against a wall, with a toothpick in your mouth–say, ‘Closed, pal.’

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Philly’s National Parks Are Definitely, Maybe Shutting Down Tomorrow


So, you may be wondering, what does the coming government shutdown mean for Philadelphia? Well, a wide swath of federal workers will be furloughed beginning at midnight tonight, and Philly’s got quite a few of them, from Social Security Administration workers to Department of Justice employees working at the 2nd District courthouse. But while it’s unclear exactly how the shutdown will affect all those employees, there is one thing we do know for sure: All 401 U.S. National Parks will be shut down tomorrow, including Independence National Historic Park, which employs around 200 people. I.e, The freaking Liberty Bell will be closed. As will freaking Independence Hall. (Also: Valley Forge National Park.) Tourists, get ready to get your kicks by staring thoughtfully at the facade of the Second Bank of the United States.


Lincoln Memorial Defaced with Menacing Green Paint

Early this morning, a park ranger at the National Mall came across a bunch of green paint splattered on the statue and floor of the Lincoln Memorial. The memorial has been closed off, much to the chagrin of a family of tourists already at their wits’ end on Day 2 of their four-day weekend in the capital. A couple guesses as to who did it: A. The nazi officers in Life is Beautiful who cruelly spray paint a horse neon green; B. The guy who recently poured green paint on a big statue of a bear in Denver; C. The Korean War Memorial statues, bitter that no one pays any attention to them. [TPM]

Badass Colonial Re-Enactor Doesn’t Care About Yer Damn Heat Wave

Meet this badass. No, not Gen. Samuel Nicholas (pictured above), who died in 1790 in Philadelphia during a yellow fever epidemic. But Doug Thomas, the dude who impersonates him, walking around Independence Mall. Decked out in tri-corn hat, thick scarf, and green overcoat in 90-something degree heat, here’s what he told one CBS reporter: “I’ve been doing this for 18 years. You get used to it. These are all natural fibers.” He also reveals his foolproof plan for escaping the heat, natural fibers or not: “I’ve watched people walk down the street. They could walk in the shadow of a building or they could walk in the bright sunlight. They pay no attention and walk in the bright sunlight where it’s several degrees warmer.” [CBS 3]

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