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Elfreth's Alley in Philadelphia - Part 3
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Here are details of just five of the homes that you can see.
#123 - German born Gottleib Bechtold lived and baked out of this house from the 1830s to the early 1860s. The original ovens are still in the basement.
#122 - Benjamin Franklin would most certainly have visited his friend and fellow Junto member, William Maudridge, a carpenter and ship-joiner at this house built between 1724 and 1728.
#118 - Moses Mordecai, an original member of Mikveh Israel Synagogue lived here in the second half of the 18th century.
#117 – Cophy Douglas, a free Black tailor, brought his bride, Phoebe to live here in 1779 after having been married at Old Swede' s Church.
#115 - This house has been home to sea captains, a painter, a night watchman, and a bartender. However, the house holds a special place in the history of the Alley, because Dollly Ottey, a founder of the Elfreth' s Alley Association lived here. During the 1930s and 40s, she operated theHearthstone restaurant out of #115.
Bladen' s Court is a small area that is entered through a small opening between number 115 and 117. Two of the more infamous Bladen’s Court property owners during the 18th century were William Rush and Abraham Carlisle. Rush, a blacksmith owned the property on which #1 Bladen' s Court is located and Carlisle, a Quaker house carpenter and Rush' s brother in law owned the #2 Bladen' s Court property.
While the two men were neighbours and family, they held very different political beliefs. Rush was a prominent patriot why Carlisle allied himself with the British. When the British occupied the city in 1777 Carlisle became the keeper of the British controlled gate set up along Front Street above Vine. As a result, Carlisle was arrested when the Americans reclaimed the city and was hung as a Tory in 1778.
The back area of the court now provides a peaceful place to stop for a while and enjoy a cake or pastry that has been setup in one of the homes. The owner is very nice and welcomes visitors for a chat. It also helps if you like cats as she has two who think they are the owners and require you to step over them.
However, even if you don’t visit the museum or have a chance to peer into a colonial home, visiting Elfreth’s Alley is still a great way to get a view of what old Philadelphia would have been.
Museum Hours are Friday-Sunday: 12p-5p, but the street is open 24 hours a day and is free to walk down.
Museum Cost: $5 to enter and the address is 126 Elfreth’s Alley, Philadelphia, PA 19106
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Page added on: 8 July 2018
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