Betsy Ross House

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Betsy Ross House

It's easy to find this little brick house with the gabled roof: just look for the 13-star flag displayed from its second-floor window. Whether Betsy Ross, also known as Elizabeth Griscom Ross Ashbourn Claypoole (1752–1836) actually lived here and whether she really made the first Stars and Stripes is debatable. Nonetheless, the house, built around 1740, is a splendid example of a Colonial Philadelphia home and is fun to visit. Owned by the city and maintained by the nonprofit Historic Philadelphia Inc., the eight-room house overflows with artifacts such as a family Bible and Betsy Ross's chest of drawers and reading glasses. The small rooms hold period pieces that reflect the life of this hardworking Quaker (who died at the age of 84, outliving three husbands). You may have to wait in line, as this is one of the city's most popular attractions. The house, with its winding narrow stairs, is not accessible to people with disabilities. Alongside the house is a courtyard with a fountain, as well as the graves of Betsy Ross and her third husband, John Claypoole. Visitors can meet Betsy in her upholstery shop (the only working Colonial upholstery shop in the country) and enjoy free, interactive historical programming in the courtyard from May to September.

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