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April 2023

The birds are singing and the flowers are blooming... It's springtime in Philadelphia!


It's also school field trip season! We are looking forward to hosting lots of students this spring in Revolutionary Philadelphia. There is no better way to see our city than by walking the cobblestone streets during this truly magical time of year! See you there!


18th century garden (on Walnut between 3rd and 4th Streets), Philadelphia - Photo copyright Second Story Tours


April 19, 1775 - The Revolution Begins!


The Battle of Lexington as depicted in a 1910 portrait by William Barnes Wollen

Two hundred forty-eight years ago this month, the American Revolution began with shots fired in the smalls towns of Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts.


Learn more at the Concord Museum's extremely cool virtual exhibit on the event that started it all!

April is Diversity Month

One of the reasons we started Second Story Tours is because we felt that there wasn't enough diverse representation in the stories that we all learn about Philadelphia.


We proudly tell the stories of the people who have always been a part of American history, but have rarely had a voice... like Joseph Brant. He was a warrior chief, a leader and a negotiator for the Mohawk tribe, one of the Six Nations who found themselves caught in the middle when the American Revolution started.


Learn more about this brave leader and find out why the museum dedicated to him is located in Canada.

Portrait of Joseph Brant by Charles Willson Peale 1797, Independence National Historic Park, Philadelphia

Quiz: Who in Philadelphia?

From the photo, you might realize this statue is currently positioned outside City Hall... but who is it? Scroll to the bottom to find out!

Hidden Gem: The Powel House

Photo copyright Second Story Tours

Just one and a half blocks south of the Museum of the American Revolution stands the Powel House, a treasure of Georgian architecture and the home of two prominent Revolutionaries.


Samuel Powel was the last royal mayor of Philadelphia under the British, and the first mayor under the new American government. His wife, Eliza, was a smart, charming woman who enjoyed socializing in the highest circles, throwing lavish parties in their home. George Washington attended, and became a close friend of Eliza's.

Visit the website to learn more about the Powel House.

Must-See Museum of the Month

The Weitzman Museum of American Jewish History - at the corner of 5th and Market - has three floors of stunning interactive exhibits covering three centuries of American Jewish culture, history and language, and is an excellent experience for students.


And it's totally free.

Find out more by visiting their website

Fun with Historic Ads

This hat store advertisement is from a Philadelphia newspaper called the "Gazette of the United States," July 08, 1795. The advertiser is looking for both customers and workers. It reads:


James Tiffin, No. 70, South Second Street, near City Tavern, Has just opened and for Sale, an Assortment of Ladies' and Gentlemen's Fashionable Hats, from London. Also a variety of Children's Hats of different Colours. N.B. A Man or two as finishers in the above business well recommended, will meet with constant employ and good encouragement.


"N.B." stands for "nota bene" in Latin, which just points out something extra the writer wants you to know. 

Did you notice that there is an F in places where an S should be? This isn't actually an F; it's called a "long S," and it was a style used in the 18th century. Some people even used it when they hand-wrote letters.

Who in Philadelphia - the Answer

Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian (public domain)

The statue outside Philadelphia's City Hall memorializes Octavius V. Catto. But who was Octavius V. Catto and why does he have his own statue?


Born in 1839, Catto was a Philadelphian who witnessed discrimination and injustice everywhere. He wanted to help make a change. He worked to desegregate trolley cars, integrate baseball, and help African Americans vote.


On Election Day in 1871, just one year after the15th Amendment granted the right to vote to African Americans, a riot broke out. Some people used violence to scare Black voters.


Rioters shot and killed Catto in cold blood on a crowded street near his home. Thousands mourned his death across the country. In 2011, the City of Philadelphia erected a statue to honor this fallen hero.


Find out more about this extraordinary man, his murder, and his legacy.

Get in Touch!

Get out your quill and jot down some thoughts on a piece of parchment, seal it with wax, and hand it to the Post Master... or just send us an email! We want to hear from you!

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