Quakers should be taught to “…read the Nature, Use and Service of Trees, Birds, Beast, and Serpents …” Thomas Lawson, 1680 “A Mite Into the Treasury”
There are many sites to be visited of an historic nature in downtown Philadelphia. The obvious start of any 21st Century tour is Independence Hall. But a short walk to the north will bring the interested visitor to a hallowed place higher in station to any original immigrant member of the Society of Friends.
I never set foot inside the doors of this meeting house. In my prime, the land was a burial ground for members of the Society. We don’t believe in markers or burial adornments.
In later years, the land was enclosed with brick walls to keep out the rowdy boys and wandering cows.
By the 1800’s this building was constructed over the graves in order to give a home to the annual gathering of Friends in the greater Philadelphia area. This was ordained by a group of women, who pressed for a building that would be large enough to house separate business meetings for both men and women. This resulting structure thus includes two large spaces of equal size with matching facilities.
It is the largest Friends’ meeting house in the world. In Philadelphia. Of course!
It continues its function today as a conference center for groups of all religious persuasions. It is open daily to the general public and should be included on any respectable tour of the City of Brotherly Love!