View Full Version : Present-day Philadelphia--I have no idea!

05-28-2008, 11:20 AM
I have a project that I'm working on, but I'm hitting a snag. It starts out in present-day Philly (generally the area around Independence Hall), and I have no idea what it looks, smells, sounds, etc. like. I've never been farther east than Missouri, and that was kind of sheltered. Also, what are the chances (this is fiction, remember so it should be more likely than if it were fact...) that someone could get lost on a tour of Independence Hall? Thanks to anyone who can help!

05-28-2008, 12:42 PM
can you use the internet for details of Independence Hall and google earth to look around Philly? Might give you an overview of the location of your story.

05-28-2008, 12:58 PM
Google Earth hasn't helped me much so far. For the moment, until I have a better idea of how to describe it, I'm skipping the first chapter completely. I'm hoping that someone on here (or, if I'm lucky, I'll get to go to Philly!) can help me. The first chapter talks a lot about the historical sites in Philly, especially Independence Hall. My MC is obsessed, to a point, with the Revolution, so her family takes a special trip just for her. That's why I need to know what it's like. I know more about Philadelphia in the 1770s than I do about it now; kinda sad.

05-28-2008, 05:22 PM

this is a link for "Chopper 10 Tour: Independence Hall: Take A Bird's Eye View ... " Hope it's helpful.

05-29-2008, 12:32 AM
Getting lost on a tour of Independence Hall would be tough, especially since National Treasure made it look so easy to skip up the back stairs... I haven't lived in Philly in 20 years, but I remember the place being treated with reverence. Now, there are many other places in downtown Philly where you can get lost, but it's not something I recommend trying unless you don't want to be found again.

05-29-2008, 08:55 AM
The reason I was wondering about Independence Hall is because I was hoping my MC could do it, fall asleep, wake up, make her way down, and--literally--run into John Adams.

05-29-2008, 01:34 PM
We didn't go inside Independence Hall when I was there, but on the streets surrounding the hall are a lot of horse and buggy tours, the Philly Duck (http://www.phillyducks.com/)tours (which was a blast), and a van on the corner selling nice pretzels.

05-29-2008, 10:01 PM
I used to live at south and 4th, about a ten minute walk from there. Independence Hall is teeny. Hard to get lost in there. The whole area is in the middle of down town. The river is a half mile away, south street, which is the artsy/alternative section of town with great restaurants and shops and places to get tattooed is four blocks are so away. The liberty bell is across from independence hall. Beyond south you get into the projects, which might be dangerous territory if you were afoot.


05-30-2008, 01:29 AM
On the other hand, there are plenty of historic places in Philly where one might have run into John Adams during the Convention. I would suggest contacting the historical society to see if they have a list of places he would have gone. Even if the building is no longer standing, your plot device could work. It might even be more of a shock that way.

Linda Adams
05-30-2008, 04:58 AM
Try visiting the Philadelphia Web site. A lot of state and major city Web sites have free tour guides you can ask for (though it may take six weeks to get). Compass American Guides, which you should be able to find at your library, are also very good references.

Stephanie Secrest
05-31-2008, 06:02 PM
I have a project that I'm working on, but I'm hitting a snag. It starts out in present-day Philly (generally the area around Independence Hall), and I have no idea what it looks, smells, sounds, etc. like.

Yay! Philly! :) I've been going there for the past three years often to visit my fiance; will finally move there in July.

I'm working on a chick lit where the heroine works in the Historical District (where Independence Hall, Liberty Bell, etc. is located).

While I've yet to take any of the tours, I've walked through the area many times on the way to Old City. I'm thinking that a lot of people consider Independence Hall, et al, to be considered a part of Old City, but I've seen it labeled on maps as the Historical District. I separate the two anyway, since the Old City, for me, is where I go get drunk. :D

The thing that really struck me about the area is how you've got important historical sites just plopped right in the middle of every day life. :) Like Chestnut Street, in front of Independence Hall, is still cobblestone.

Security is icky in front of the Hall. They usually have two security guards patrolling, as well as pole-like barriers up along the sidewalk. You can't walk on that side of Chestnut, directly in front of the Hall. They'll yell at you. I even saw two tourists cross the street, who weren't on a tour, wanting to get their picture taken with a statue in front of the Hall, and a security guard went completely psycho, blowing his whistle at them.

Given that... I'm thinking there'd be security issues inside the Hall where your character couldn't get lost easily. Don't quote me on it; again, I've never been inside the place.

Good places to start off are:

* This tourism center is like a block away from Independence Hall.


I spent an afternoon in the Historical District during my trip last October--no, didn't take a tour then either. I needed to get the locations of the sites and street names right since my heroine is a tour guide. A bulk of my research on the area is already in Philly, but I'll check around on my Backpack page to see what I may have there. If you PM me your email address, I can send you some pictures I took of the area.

06-03-2008, 06:38 PM
Thanks everyone! Now I actually have an idea of where to start. Now if only I wasn't hitting my head on a brick wall every time I've tried to write recently....... :)