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Philadelphia was the capital of the United States before Washington D.C. was built.  It was the largest city in the U.S. and was the temporary capital from 1790 - 1800.  In 1793, while George Washington was living there as President, a plague of yellow fever struck the city.  Yellow fever is a disease that is passed by mosquitoes.  There is a cure for it today, but back then they didn’t know what caused it or how to cure it. The first death occurred on August 1, 1793, and soon more and more people started dying.  It went from an average of ten people dying per day in August, to over a hundred people dying per day in October.  Residents began to panic and flee the city.  Almost 20,000 people evacuated through September, including President George Washington and his family who left on September 10, 1793.  Dr. Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, stayed in the city and tried to find a cure. Many African-American volunteers also helped take care of the sick and dying. Finally in November, when the freezing weather killed off the mosquitoes, the fever ended.  Almost 5,000 of the 50,000 residents had died (1 out of every 10)!  There are a couple of books about the plague that  you might like to read.  (Source1, Source2, Source3)

In this Solo Trek, David takes you to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the northeast region of the United States.  See the President’s House where George Washington and John Adams lived; learn about the Liberty Bell and how it was made; discover Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written; explore Benjamin Franklin’s house and review his many accomplishments; learn about a Polish patriot named Thaddeus Kosciusko; and find out where Betsy Ross lived and went to church.  There’s a lot to see, so come on, let’s go trekkin’!  

Updated 5/22/12

SOL Correlation:

K.1 The student will recognize that history describes events and people of other times and places by

a) identifying examples of past events in legends, stories, and historical accounts of Powhatan, Pocahontas, George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Abraham Lincoln;

b) identifying the people and events honored by the holidays of Thanksgiving Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Day, and Independence Day (Fourth of July).


K.2 The student will describe everyday life in the present and in the past and begin to recognize that things change over time.


1.2 The student will describe the stories of American leaders and their contributions to our country, with emphasis on George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington Carver, and Eleanor Roosevelt.


VS.5a The student will demonstrate knowledge of the role of Virginia in the American Revolution by identifying the reasons why the colonies went to war with Great Britain as expressed in the Declaration of Independence.


VS.1 The student will demonstrate responsible citizenship and develop skills for historical and geographical analysis including the ability to

  1. a)identify and interpret artifacts and primary and secondary source documents to understand events in history.

e) make connections between past and present.


NE1.1 The student will demonstrate and develop skills for historical and geographical analysis; make connections between the past and the present; analyze/interpret maps to explain relationships among landforms, water features, climatic characteristics, and historical events; and distinguish between parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude.


NE1.2b The student will use maps, globes, photographs, pictures, or tables to locate and describe the location of the Northeast geographic region of the United States: Coastal Plain and Appalachian Mountain System.