The Quest for Knowledge: Lewis in Philadelphia

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Philadelphia in 2003: the time, place and plans for the Annual Meeting

The Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation's 35th Annual Meeting in 2003
Special Event- Historic House Tour




Bartram's Garden


The Woodlands






Meeting Headquarters:
Loews Philadelphia Hotel
1200 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
phone: 215.627.1200


Sunday, August 10th 9:30am to 4:30pm
Historic House Tour

Three houses still stand two centuries after Lewis's visit to Philadelphia. As early as 1802, Lewis and Mahlon Dickerson visited George Logan at Stenton. Suspicion runs high that in 1807 Lewis would have been invited to Woodlands to see the expedition’s seedlings. And perhaps ornithologist Alexander Wilson brought Lewis with him on a visit to Bartram’s. Grab a friend and spend a leisurely day visiting these three beautiful homes and see more history that we can describe here.

On a property once measuring 102 acres on the west bank of the Schuylkill John Bartram laid out a farm and garden. In 1731 he built a house of stone, carved exterior details, and among other novel agrarian techniques, carved an apple press out of bedrock. Most important however was development of the botanical workshop from which John, and later his grandson William, sent to Europe specimens they had gathered in the then American outback. William was a modest and generous friend to fellow naturalists, such as Benjamin Barton and Thomas Nuttall. Had William Bartram, who knew at first hand the perils, peoples, flora and fauna of the American wilderness, not reached his 64th birthday just as Lewis came to Philadelphia, he would have been a valuable recruit for the Expedition. (For more about Bartrams, see the website )

The Woodlands was the handsome 356 acre estate inherited by William Hamilton. The house itself was greatly enlarged in the late 1780s in the Adams style that William had admired in England. It is a house with two elegant fronts, whether approached from the drive on the North or the river on the south. The grounds and greenhouse were showcases of plants domestic and exotic, where Frederick Pursh, who first was to classify and portray the Expedition's plant specimens, once was gardener. In 1840 about 80 acres were set aside as a rural cemetery of notables; among them, Charles Stewart, a leader of the Tripoli Expedition of 1804, and Rembrandt Peale who in 1803 was in London, displaying the mastodon skeleton he and his father had unearthed in New York the year before.
(more information)

Lewis would have found George Logan, his host at Stenton, to be a strong supporter of Jefferson and an example of the gentleman landowner that Jefferson thought the very model of a citizen. No less a model was George's grandfather James Logan, whose library shelves contained his own publications on plant reproduction, mathematics and astronomical observation. His encouragement of young Ben Franklin and John Bartram were seminal to the development of a strong scientific community in Philadelphia. Grandson George served in the U. S. Senate from 1801 to 1807, emulating his grandfather's long and controversial political career. Although Stenton's grounds are much reduced, the house remains unchanged since the late 18th century. (Visit the website.)

The fee for the Historic House Tour is $47/person and includes transportation, admissions and box lunch. Buses will leave from the Loews Hotel. Please use the official registration form to register for this special event.

( The Historic House Tour is an exclusive event offered to those attendees registered for the full meeting. Space is limited.)

Download the Registration form for the Annual Meeting.

Updated May 26, 2003