While we were in Philadelphia we had the pleasure of visiting the Betsy Ross House. The amount of history in the Old City part of Philadelphia is astounding. We walked from our hotel and within a few blocks we passed: The Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, the US Mint, Christ Church Burial Grounds, and the Betsy Ross House.
I found the Betsy Ross House to be really interesting, largely in part because of Betsy Ross herself. It is so rare to hear about women making history at this point in time; Betsy Ross did literally make history (you see what I did there?) Betsy Ross had a life wrought with tragedy. She was widowed three times and had to endure the death of many of her children.
She and her first husband had their own upholstery company which remained with Betsy throughout all of her marriages. It is said that she was asked to make the first American Flag by General George Washington in 1776. This story is now questioned as there is no strong evidence that Ross actually created the first American flag.
Whether Betsy Ross made the flag or not, the house on Arch Street is still incredibly interesting to walk through. It’s eye-opening to see how we live now compared to how people lived in the 1700s. The rooms were small, the hallways narrow–a complete lack of modern conveniences. The basement of the house was a cellar that was used to help keep food fresher although it was by no means cold. The weather was freezing in the winter and fiery in the summer, Ross faced tragedy after tragedy through the deaths of husbands and children. There was no option for her to curl up in her sweat pants, eat chocolate, and lose herself in a chick flick. She had to work, she had to cook meals over the fire, she had no choice but to work daily to care for her remaining family.
The creation of the American Flag, because of Betsy Ross, shines a spotlight onto the lives of women in the 1700s. Life was hard, joy was found in the little things, and history was being made right outside her front door.
Visiting the Betsy Ross house costs $5 for adults and $4 for children. The house is full of artifacts from the 1700s and seeing inside the house was a really unique experience. It’s a simple house, fitting for a woman who worked hard for everything that she had. To plan your own visit to the Betsy Ross house you can find information here.