The Nation: Paved with Gold

As a modest contribution toward the celebration of the nation's Bicentennial, the city of Philadelphia decided to restore to its original state the paving of a block-long passageway called Elfreth's Alley. Certainly no lane in the land seemed more deserving of such loving care. Philadelphians have been living on it since the turn of the 18th century, thus making Elfreth's, or so they claim, the oldest continuously inhabited residential street in the U.S.

To pave the alley with the "pebble stones" popular in the 1790s and to repair some plumbing, however, will cost $250,000. Applications for that sum were sent to Washington,...

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