"Lewis," played by Dick Prestholdt in
a striking green shirt, vest, and pantaloons...the business style
of 1803, and I in my vest with our Chapter emblem on the back,
each parked in a building on 2nd Street across from the City Tavern
on Thursday, May 8. By 8:30 am we were meeting in the Penn Welcome
It was a bit overcast, but the weather was perfect!
We quickly caught a cab and on the way traded thoughts on how
the walk might evolve. As we left the cab, I told the cabbie why
we were dressed that way and what we were talking about. He grinned
and said he was glad to know because he has only been in America
one month, and had a lot to learn. We were launched!
In the 30th Street Station by a few minutes after
9:00, we took time to see "The Spirit of Transportation"
a wonderful bas relief mural on the wall behind the ticket windows.
It seemed to set the feeling for the day. We sat near the Market
Street entrance, and Jim Shaw soon joined us. He had come on the
train from Jersey. At 9:45 we ventured outdoors to find a full
circle of Walkers waiting. It was wonderful to find that six members
of the Corps II staff were joining us! We took role, discussed
how cold and blustery the Day was when Lewis came to town and
how he must have taken the ferry across the Schuylkill River.
We looked at the view of the City and imagined what
the countryside has been like that day. As we looked across the
bridge we saw our leader Rick McCourt approaching He had been
at the Academy of Natural Sciences at 9:00 am showing Gerard Baker
the Lewis and Clark Herbarium in its newest housing after Gerard
had been interviewed at 7:30 by Brenda Jorette at WHYY. At a few
minutes of 10, Rick and Earle Spamer, ANS archivist, came striding
off the Bridge with our member Tom Gralish, who was winding up
his week of wonderful photographic reporting on the Lewis and
Clark trek in the Inquirer.
Since we has a few young Corps II staff members
from other parts of the country, Rick suggested that we tell them
what "Yo," meant. This was the first time that several
of them had been in Philadelphia! What a way to begin. Just then
two officers from the city Civil Affairs division of the police
arrived in plainclothes, one to walk with us, and one to ride
along in a car. They stayed with the walk to Love Park and then
went off to other duties. We appreciated knowing they were along.
We left at 10 am, 24 strong. The timing was incredible!
For that, I must thank our chapter member Jean Higgs, who weeks
before had walked the route and made notes on the times required
between stops and recommendations to make it more efficient. We
made each stop on the "Trail" almost to the minute all
We basically followed the route on our web site.
We stopped in at the College of Physicians to preview its excellent
exhibit, "Only One Man Died" and were greeted by Gretchen
Worden, director of the Mutter Museum. We Proceeded On to the
Academy where an exciting press conference was shaping up. President
and CEO Jim Baker greeted us. See the list of other attendees
below! The city's media came out in force although the day was
busy news day. Our Walkers were able to preview the new exhibit
just opened. It is called "The Literature of the Lewis and
Clark Expedition" from the Lewis and Clark College in Portland,
Rick McCourt's alma mater.
Charles Willson Peale was a special guest, courtesy
of Christian Johnson, Cherry Hill, NJ. He met the walkers at the
Academy of Natural Sciences where President Jim Baker noted that
"he was responsible for starting the concept of a natural
sciences museum," and later at the explorers' portraits that
he painted now hanging in the First Bank of the US at Independence
National Historic Park (see the end of the walk.)
We had with us members of the Student Conservation
Association (SCA), two of whom are videographers who tape all
the proceedings of Corps II as it moves through the almost four-year
Bicentennial. Tapes are forwarded to the Peter Kiewit Institute
at the University of Nebraska in Omaha, where they will be edited
into a comprehensive internet program of the countrywide commemoration.
Our videographer for the day was Sandy Bagelman who hailed from
Philadelphia before joining the Corps II adventure as an intern.
She videotaped the Walk from beginning to end for posterity. And
for our grandchildren! The second videographer, Jesse Hassler,
got to carry about 70 pounds of equipment all the way!
Emerging from the ANS among TV cameras and reporters,
we headed down the Parkway, explaining that our lunch stop was
about 15 minutes away. Many weren't able to bring food, so we
told them how to "forage" from pushcarts and quick stop
spots along the route. At Love Park we spread out on stone benches
to eat and enjoyed the fountain, while a few raindrops began to
fall. Our two- year- old Owen got out of his stroller and investigated
the pool thoroughly with his grandmother Anne Mackintosh.
From the park, we easily circled City Hall, pointing
out the Masonic Grandlodge which will have a special exhibit this
summer from mid-July to mid-August (refer to the list of summer
exhibits here on our web site.) Like the original Corps of Discovery,
we took a vote on which way would be best to go... to the Library
A shortcut down 13th Street won out. We arrived
to view two books from the collections, one by Simor duPratz on
the History of Louisiana which Benjamin Smith Barton lent
to Lewis to carry with him. After the expedition, he returned
it to Barton with an appropriate inscription. The book was acquired
from Barton's estate for $2.50, said a label. At the annual meeting
of The Library Company members on Monday night following, the
display included a worn but rare copy of the 1814 Journals, and
a British copy of the same including a large fold out of Clark's
map that accompanied some editions.
A second book on display finally solved the mystery
of who made the air gun that Lewis carried with him and used to
awe Indian tribes. It is listed in the estate catalog of Isaiah
Lukens, Philadelphia clockmaker and artisan. The catalog describes
item 95 as being the very same air gun and called it "a great
curiosity." Later at the Athenaeum on Washington Square,
Executive Director of the research library Roger Moss displayed
a portrait of Lukens by Rembrandt Peale with the 15 star and 15
stripe flag carried by the explorers on their expedition. He then
showed the visitors a 16- foot tall clock made by Lukens's father
in the reading room. The Walkers enjoyed the hospitality of the
two special libraries and exhibits they offer. They are both free
The Walkers paused at the Post Office at 9th and
Market Streets, former home of both the University of Pennsylvania
and its Provost, mathematician Robert Patterson, who would have
been the first person that Lewis visited after his arrival. A
historic marker will be installed at that corner later this year
telling that Patterson helped Lewis to buy his celestial navigation
instruments in Old City according to specs in a letter written
by Andrew Ellicott of Lancaster, the country's Surveyor General.
We also paused at the beautiful plaza beneath the
Rohm and Haas building on Sixth Street where Mahlon Dickerson,
Lewis's guide to the city in 1803 and 1807, lived in a town house.
Dickerson, a native New Jerseyan and a lawyer of Lewis's age,
later moved back to Morris County, NJ, and became a NJ Senator,
Governor of that state, and Secretary of the Navy under Andrew
Our last two stops were in Independence National
Historic Park where we observed the construction as we walked
over to the American Philosophical Society's Library Hall on 4th
Street. There Roy Goodman, curator of printed materials, showed
us an exhibit related to a forerunner of Lewis and Clark, the
Michaud expedition, and the reading room. Examples from the Journals
will be on display in the lobby cases from mid-July through the
Still 24 strong ( a couple of walkers came and went
during the day) we arrived at the portrait of Meriwether Lewis,
our goal. There, INHP Ranger Karie Diethorn, curator of the present
exhibit of 14 portraits called "Victory over the Wilderness-1750-1825,"
greeted us with thoughts on this early period of our history.
We then enjoyed the commentary of Charles Willson Peale, played
by Christian Johnson of Cherry Hill, and painter of a number of
the sitters, including Lewis and Clark.
Now only 11 strong, but really a little weak, we
repaired to The City Tavern, with "Lewis" and "Charles
Willson Peale" in tow...and in proper attire. A couple of
us had "shrubs," a Colonial drink of fruit preserved
in vinegar and mixed with champagne, rum or bandy. Thomas Jefferson
beer was popular as well as Merlot, coffee, and cider.
After my exertion, I also had to have something
to eat. The appetizer crab cakes were heavenly. City Tavern is
an exact replica of the watering hole used by the Continental
Congress, and dress is of the period as is the menu.
Thanks to all the wonderful, tough Walkers! The
company was so good, I was amazed that I made it without noticing
my feet. It's about three miles, or as Frank and Rose pointed
out, 38 blocks! And Dick and I just walked across the street to
our cars and gave some folks a ride to their home bases. Ahhh.
Here is the list of "Yo, Meriwether!"
Walkers: May 8, 2003
Academy of Natural Sciences:
Walk Leader, Rick McCourt
Archivist Earle Spamer
Philadelphia Chapter members
Richard Prestholdt, playing Lewis in business clothes of 1803
(on a secret mission)
Tom Gralish, member and photographer, Philadelphia Inquirer
Thomas J. Connor, Jr.
Anne Mackintosh (our webmaster) and her 2-year-old grandson, Owen,
in a stroller
Norma Martin Milner
Corps of Discovery II Walkers (National Park
Ranger John McCarthy
Ranger Gene Finke
Student Conservation Association (SCA interns)
Ranger Heidi Dietz
Ranger Ehren Gross
Sandy Bagelman, videographer
Jesse Hassler, videographer
Philadelphia Botanical Club members
End of active walkers.
Hosts at stops along the Walk
Gretchen Worden, College of Physicians and Director of the Mutter
Dr. Jim Baker, CEO and President, Academy of Natural Sciences
Ronda Hagins, Acting V.P., Development and External Affairs,
Carolyn Belardo, Communications Specialist, ANS (both in red,
made all arrangements)
Jim Green, Assistant Librarian, The Library Company
Roger W. Moss, Executive Director, The Athenaeum
Roy Goodman, Curator of Printed and Pictures, American Philosophical
Ranger Karie Diethorn, Curator of portrait exhibition, First Bank,
Attending the Press Conference at the Academy
of Natural Sciences, held during the Walk
Corps II Superintendent Gerard (Yellow Wolf) Baker, also Superintendent
of the Lewis and Clark National Historical Trail, NPS in Omaha,
Corps II Assistant Superintendent Scott Tucker
Jeffrey Olson, Public Information Officer, NPS and Corps II
Dr. Jim Baker, CEO and President, Academy of Natural Sciences
and his wife Emily Baker
Dr. Mark Hochberg, CEO of the College of Physicians
Special Guest, Charles Willson Peale by Christian Johnson of Cherry
INHP Superintendent Mary Bomar
Phil Sheridan, Public Information Officer, INHP
Valley Forge National Historical Park Superintendent Arthur Stewart
VFNHP Deputy Superintendent Barbara L. Pollarine
VFNHP Public Information Officer David Moore
Norma M. Milner
Additional Photos by Jeff Olson, Public Information Officer,
Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail, Corps of Discovery II Project
At the Academy of Natural Sciences, Rick McCourt
and Earle Spamer show Herbarium specimen pages to Gerard Baker,
Mary Bomar, and Scott Tucker.
At the Library of the Amercan Philosophical Society,
Rob Cox and Roy Goodman display some of the original journals
and maps for Gerard Baker and Scott Tucker.
Photos by Norma Milner
The Walk begins at 30th Street Station.
The youngest Walker carries the 15-star flag.
Walkers enter the College of Physicians.
Gretchen Worden (here with Dick Prestholdt as Meriwether
Lewis) welcomes the group to the College of Physicians.
There was time to visit the exhibit "Only One
Next stop: the Academy of Natural Sciences
Some would go to the exhibit "The Literature
of the Lewis and Clark Expedition."
Some would go the press conference.
Jeff Olson (left) introduces Jim Baker, Mary Bomar,
Gerard Baker, and Arthur Stewart at the press conference.
INQUIRER photographer Tom Gralish with Meriwether
Roy Goodman, Gerard Baker, Dick Prestholdt, and
Rick McCourt at the press conference.
Rick McCourt and Jim Shaw stop for lunch in Love
At the Library Company, John McCarthy and Norma
Milner speculate on how the air gun worked.
A library company treasure
Dick Prestholdt studies the portrait of Isaiah Lukens
at the Athenaeum.
Charles Willson Peale listens to a talk about the
portraits he painted.
The Walk's end-- time for refreshment.
What a great Walk!