Following in His Footsteps: In the City That Ben Loved

Our guide to old Philadelphia, where the ultimate civic booster left his mark on nearly every block


    SAFE KEEPING: Some homes along Elfreth's Alley

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    Walk north on Second Street, and you will hit Elfreth's Alley, believed to be the oldest residential street in the U.S. You may notice tiny mirrors jutting from the top floors. Called busy-body mirrors, these contraptions, which enable people to see who is coming down the street, were brought back from Holland by Franklin. Also look out for black iron plaques that depict four fists locked in the fire fighter's carry. These plaques indicated that a house was insured against fire, insurance being one of Franklin's imports from London.

    Franklin, who enjoyed many of his meals at City Tavern, would be pleased to see that the replica of the original, which burned in 1834, honors its predecessor's layout and even the apparel of the 18th century serving staff. The authentic recipes for such fare as apple-wood-smoked pork chops give diners a taste of the past.

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