WHEN I WAS A CHILD, my father and I used to walk around Philadelphia all the time. We'd hit Penn's Landing or the Ben Franklin Parkway when there were festivals, and sometimes we just walked around Independence National Park (above).
When I moved into my first apartment in town, it was within walking distance of Independence Park ... and purposely so. Walking through the historic area reminded me of my youth, of fine days with my Dad.
I know the area's history and I appreciate it greatly. I love knowing that I live where the Revolution began, where visionary people plotted the fate of the nation. I eat that up bigtime.
These days, I love living near the park as much for the sentimentality of the place, for the connections to my personal past. When I chase squirrels and stomp through the leaves with my dog, I remember those Kodachrome days of my childhood.
It's cool that there is history here. But that's not my primary reason for visiting all the time. The history here, I think, is primarily consumed by out-of-towners.
History was used to revitalize this area long before the progressive public historians got their mitts on the national park in Lowell, Mass. While I don't like the idea of using history and/ or tourism as an economic engine, I'm grateful that this space exists.
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