Pennsylvania is Immersed in Presidential History
By: Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary for the Office of Tourism, Marketing and Film
July 23, 2016
The Democratic National Convention will be held In Philadelphia on July 25–28. This will be the eighth time that Philly has played host to a party convention since 1856, and this marquee event promises to be yet another success.
As the second state to join the Union, Pennsylvania is home to many iconic events that changed the course of American history. Both novice explorers and history buffs can step back in time and experience some of the moments that made the United States what it is today.
Whether you’re visiting because of the Democratic National Convention or simply looking to immerse yourself in our nation’s presidential history, we invite you to pursue your happiness while you’re here!
And rest assured all you Hamilfans, Alexander Hamilton made his mark here, too. His brainchild, the First Bank of the United States, was completed in Philadelphia in 1797 and is part of the Independence National Historic Park along with the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
Experience Presidential History
President James Buchanan’s Wheatland (Lancaster)
History buffs and casual visitors alike will enjoy touring the beautiful grounds and mansion of the only president from Pennsylvania, James Buchanan.
The David Wills House (Gettysburg)
The David Wills House offers visitors a world-class museum experience that tells the story of President Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. The David Wills House is the only site where you can experience President Lincoln’s immortal Gettysburg Address in the location where it was inspired and crafted.
Washington Crossing Historic Park (Washington Crossing)
On Dec. 25, 1776, General George Washington and his men crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey to march on Hessian troops quartered in and around the village. Relive one of the most important moments of the Revolutionary War at Washington Crossing Historic Park.
Eisenhower National Historic Site (Gettysburg)
Eisenhower National Historic Site was the home and farm of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the farm served as Eisenhower’s weekend retreat from Washington and a meeting place for world leaders.
Fort Ligonier (Fort Ligonier)
George Washington was a central figure in the French and Indian War. In 1758, he led a detachment of 500 Virginia soldiers on foot from Fort Ligonier.
Independence Hall (Philadelphia)
Discover the site where two of democracy’s greatest documents were written and the Second Continental Congress was held.
Liberty Bell (Philadelphia)
In the early days of the United States, the ringing of the Liberty Bell signaled the start of many important events, such as the meeting of the First Continental Congress.
Gettysburg National Military Park (Gettysburg)
Recognized as one of the most famous American battlefields, Gettysburg marked the turning point of the Civil War and the site where President Lincoln gave his famous Gettysburg Address.
The Sun Inn (Bethlehem)
Located on Main Street in Historic Downtown Bethlehem, the Sun Inn is a restoration of a 1758 building which functioned as an inn from 1760 to the late 1960s. The Sun Inn’s history includes an extensive list of distinguished visitors including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and —wait for it —Alexander Hamilton (wink, wink)
Stay Like a President
Right across the street from the David Wills House, the former Scott’s Tavern was established in 1797. It became a temporary “White House” for President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, when he spent time at the hotel while recovering from a heart attack.
Then called the Bellevue-Stratford, every U.S. president from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan has stayed at this hotel on Philadelphia’s Broad Street.
Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton are among Hotel Bethlehem’s extensive list of famous guests. Be warned that the downtown hotel is rumored to be haunted — but the ghosts are said to be friendly.
Located in the Allegheny Mountains, the resort has served as a gathering place for U.S. presidents, celebrities, and dignitaries from around the world for more than 200 years. Some of the most prominent historical events include the housing of Japanese diplomats who were captured in Germany during WWII at the resort from 1943-1945; the stays of Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; and the resort’s designation in 1984 as a National Historic Landmark.
Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower stayed at the downtown Pittsburgh hotel, as well as Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon Johnson. Numerous presidents also visited for events and speeches
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