Patterico's Pontifications


Birthplace of Bill of Rights Partially Demolished

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:36 am

You know how you’ll be sitting in a theater, watching a movie, and then the director drops in a piece of symbolism that is so blatant that you want to say, out loud: “OK, I get it! I get it!

This is one of those moments.

Building where Bill of Rights was born partially demolished

It was a historic mistake.

A Pennsylvania building believed to be the birthplace of the Bill of Rights was partially demolished earlier this month because developers didn’t know the origin of the site, The Sentinel reported.

The building, originally known as the James Bell Tavern, hosted a meeting in 1788 of anti-Federalists opposed to the ratification of the new nation’s Constitution. The group began calling for changes to the document, and their plea was eventually heard when the Bill of Rights was adopted in 1791.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 7.31.42 AM

So. Are we going to rebuild it, or just keep tearing it down?

47 Responses to “Birthplace of Bill of Rights Partially Demolished”

  1. So. Are we going to rebuild it, or just keep tearing it down?

    Depends most likely on who wins the next election.

    ropelight (86edb7)

  2. Truth. Especially if this demolition was brought to you by Kelo.

    Leviticus (efada1)

  3. It’s not the same. This was a mistake. The people tearing down the Bill of Rights are doing it with full knowledge.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  4. Consider Scalia and Thomas replaced by judges chosen by Hillary Bernie Trump.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  5. e plebnista, people,

    narciso (732bc0)

  6. nobody will be held accountable

    cause everyone involved is union trash i bet

    happyfeet (831175)

  7. Kelo nothing. Taking possibly. The owners wanted it knocked down; a city councilbabe stopped them even though the building was never designated as a historic landmark. Anyhow, now it’s a dangerous structure. It’s going to be knocked down, I bet. It’s hardly the Parthenon, and who’s going to pay to restore it?

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Finally, a shovel-ready job for the Stimulus! (Remember that?) I’m sure Obama will be right on it.

    Patricia (5fc097)

  9. From the different color rock it was rebuilt with a second story added at some point. Before or after 1788? What the hell, it’s not like there’s statue of Robert E Lee out front.

    ropelight (86edb7)

  10. Maybe the first floor was repointed without taking care to match the original, ropelight
    I’m not in Philly to check it out up close and personal.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  11. Someone should collect the broken rocks, crush them into souvenir size chucks mount them on attractive display stands and sell them along with copies of the Bill of Rights on parchment paper suitable for framing or already framed. Patriots would pay a reasonable price for a little chunk of American history.

    ropelight (86edb7)

  12. They did the same thing to Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Chicago a few years ago.

    CrustyB (69f730)

  13. Yeah, I guess if I was there I could do that on the sly, at least a few.
    maybe I’ll look into it later, see if I can find someone to send on mission…

    HEY, calling rev. Hoagie, calling Rev Hoagie!!!
    There’s a historic tavern to buy and turn into a microbrew
    I’ll dress up as someone and hang out and entertain…

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  14. e plebnista, people

    It scares me that I understand that. The Omega Glory.

    Kevin M (25bbee)

  15. They did the same thing to Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Chicago a few years ago.

    Except, knowing Chicago, that was no accident.

    Nobody knows history anymore. The Concord Bridge and Lexington MA were all preserved many years ago when people cared about history.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  16. yes, we’re at the ‘too serve man, it’s a cookbook’ stage

    narciso (732bc0)

  17. Nobody knows history anymore. The Concord Bridge and Lexington MA were all preserved many years ago when people cared about history.

    Depending upon your perspective, Massachusetts is ether very good about preserving its history or a bunch of statist fascists with no respect for private property. I have some friends who live in a home built circa 1770 by some minor officer in the Revolutionary War, and although they love the home they have to jump through seemingly dozens of bureaucratic hoops if they want to do so much as remove a bush in the back yard.

    JVW (887036)

  18. Dang, a sad metaphor

    Steve Malynn (b5f891)

  19. Looks just like it does in Fallout 4 now.

    luagha (e5bf64)

  20. I felt the same way when the latest batch of Middle Eastern rocketry enthusiasts began obliterating Palmyra…

    … On the other hand, at least they knew what they were blowing up.

    JP (56a147)

  21. Actually, it is much farther away from Philly than I thought it was.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  22. My son sent me this picture last night. He said, “Perfect metaphor. Leave it the way it is.”

    Zoltan (c8e27b)

  23. They could leave it in its present, partially demolished condition. It can therefore represent the current state of the Bill of Rights (not to mention the Constitution).

    navyvet (c33501)

  24. Sorry, Zoltan. You posted while I was contemplating sentence structure.

    navyvet (c33501)

  25. The Tea Party people could restore it to new.

    papertiger (c2d6da)

  26. If the history of Rome is any indication, there’ll be a temporary restoration but the fact so much was destroyed will only give some other person the idea that he can knock it all down for his own ends.

    scrubone (c3104f)

  27. Looks like it was originally a one story building, second story added sometime later. Note the line across the field-stone wall.

    Might as well demolish now, I doubt you’d find anyone capable of re-building those walls.

    mojo (a3d457)

  28. 15. ….Nobody knows history anymore. The Concord Bridge and Lexington MA were all preserved many years ago when people cared about history.

    Mike K (90dfdc) — 1/19/2016 @ 10:11 am

    Then there’s the USS Constitution. I’m maybe the first guy you’d think of when it comes to preserving her. But I’m also the first guy who’d say put a hole in her and sink the d@mn thing, make a reef out of her, if this is how we’re going to disrespect her.

    Steve57 (f61b03)

  29. A ship belongs to her crew. It’s her crew that makes her a living being. Break faith with her crew all you’ve got left is garbage.

    Maybe not garbage. More than garbage. But still less than she was.


    Steve57 (f61b03)

  30. It’s on Route 11 in Cumberland County, about two miles east of the Carlisle exit of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I’ve driven by it hundreds of times. Housed a used car dealer and there wasn’t even a historical marker for it. It’s a shame too few locally (if anyone) recognized its history until too late.

    rfy (0e6466)


    lament for sgt mackenzie bhmacpipes

    Steve57 (f61b03)

  32. Sorry, MD in Philly but that’s not for me. About 8 years ago I thought to buy The Old Mill Inn in Hatboro, PA. It’s just 4 minutes from my house and used to be a very nice restaurant/tavern. The original owners sold it and the folks that took over had no clue. But they had applied for Historic Recognition since it had been a lookout for the Battle of Crooked Billet and some Tory was hanged in the yard for treason. When I investigated to buy it I found that by working 16 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, every holiday, and making sure everyone was paid (except yourself), and paying property tax for my property since it was deemed “historical” before I could relocate a wall mirror I needed permission of the Historical Society which met each quarter before I could make any changes. Then I could only make changes which “were in kind for the era” and deemed historically accurate.

    During my due diligence I was told I needed two new handicapped rest rooms one on each floor that served the public and a three story elevator installed (to the tune of $125,000) to be handicapped compliant. When I inquired how these were “period accurate” I was basically told to comply or get screwed.

    I have a natural distaste for government buggering and I certainly don’t need a bunch of bureaucrats as my non-contributing partners so I declined the opportunity to buy myself a thankless job for a mere 1.4 million dollars.

    The place is still empty, for sale and unless the government takes it over will fall apart.

    When the bureaucrats put rules in place that make owning and operating an historic site very unprofitable they hurt everybody. So when you ask: “So. Are we going to rebuild it, or just keep tearing it down?” you’re being sly. Someone else owns it, they paid their hard earned money for it so if “we” are going to rebuild it or tear it down “we” have to pony up the cash first to buy it.

    What will happen now is a gaggle of bureaucrats will get a cease order to stop anything on the property. Then they’ll have public meetings for the next two years to decide to take the property from the owner who will loose a bundle on the deal no matter what happens as his plans are now shot to hell. If they decide to keep it some politician’s cousin-in-law will get the 10 million dollar no bid contract and in 5 years the job will be declared complete. They will have a ribbon cutting ceremony. The mayor will be in the Sentinel and they’ll stick a guard and maintenance man on the property, both public employee union guys at a combined salary of $220,00 per year plus benefits for life.

    No private jobs will be created. No increase to the area economy. No further taxes will be collected. But the do-gooders will have won again by having the hand of government steal a guys property and by forcing the rest of us to rebuild and maintain that property……. forever!

    I’m not saying buildings like this should be destroyed or for that matter even sold. I just think there’s a better way of going about protecting landmarks than what we currently do. First off, every place Washington pissed ain’t a landmark. And every landmark does not need to be maintained as it was 300 years ago. Some can actually make money, even for the state. Some need to be kept as museums, sure, but some can depict the times and function as a restaurant, bar or art gallery and actually make money instead of costing money.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  33. BTW, can anyone explain why the guys who were writing the Bill of Rights would meet in Mechanicsburg instead of Philly? Was there some super-duper A#1 whorehouse there or something? I realize the Founders (like some of us) were hard lovin’, hard drinkin’ hard fighin’ guys but Philly was only 130 miles down the road.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  34. When I inquired how these were “period accurate” I was basically told to comply or get screwed.

    This was one of the minor quibbles I had with ropelight. I’m something ferocious about
    period accuraccy.

    Steve57 (f61b03)

  35. I understand that Steve57. But “historically accurate” to these petty dictator bureaucrats means all kinds of unnecessary crap that won’t make you money but not the modern stuff you need that will. They wanted two handicapped restrooms at about $40,000 each, the elevator at $125,000+/-, assorted ramps and such some out of wood others cement, complete rewiring of the place and more. I was looking at a nightmare none of which would add to my bottom line one thin dime.

    If they want to be “ferocious” about period accuracy then let them buy it with their money, make it accurate and totally non functional or suitable for contemporary business and they can lose money. For example, they refused me running air conditioning ducts through the dining rooms. I guess for the sake of authenticity they actually thought customers would enjoy dining in sweat and enjoying the smell of yesteryear with the BO of their neighbors while they dine. Now wouldn’t that be delicious?

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  36. * the elevator was an electric model, two story and the estimate was $220,000.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  37. Understood, Hoagie.
    And I thought it was closer to Philly, as well.

    But I do get a kick out of going down to the City Tavern in Philly.

    MD in Philly (at the moment not in Philly) (deca84)

  38. here’s an impossibly charming account of some goings-on at The Old Mill from last March

    happyfeet (831175)

  39. As long as the part where the wrote the amendment guaranteeing the right to taxpayer-funded abortion is still there, it’s fine.

    malclave (4ddf38)

  40. e plebnista, people

    Those words are for chiefs and sons of chiefs.

    malclave (4ddf38)

  41. Layers and layers of irony. What Hoagie said about landmark designation is true. It’s a taking of property by government without real due process and without just compensation. It’s absolutely tyrannical. In this case, the councilbabe is trying to preserve a memento of the Bill of Rights she’s trying to violate; and the property owner is exercising his rights by demolishing it.

    nk (dbc370)

  42. Thanks for that, happyfeet. You know more about The Mill than I and it’s just up the road from me. I go by it occasionally when I hit Daddypops, Diner or Produce Junction. Always closed. It was a very nice place 30 years ago. Times change and unfortunately they won’t allow the physical structure to change with it to be a productive restaurant. Now they sold the lot across the street which used to be their parking for about 50 cars (was part of the deal I had but now it’s sold off).

    MD in Philly, you do realize City Tavern is not the original City Tavern Jefferson wrote the Declaration in while Franklin was upstairs doing waitresses two at a time, right? That’s a modern rebuild on the location. It burnt down.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  43. Well nk, I believe in private property rights. I believe in historic preservation also. Plus I believe in the right to eminent domain. I also believe there is a point where a private owner can give up his property and even if he is not “happy” he is whole. That is, well compensated for his public sacrifice and should not have to lose money to the “collective”. I do not believe a person or business should be compelled to sacrifice their property to other private citizens or businesses under any circumstances.

    Rev. Barack Hussein Hoagie™ (f4eb27)

  44. Yes, Hoagie, I do,
    But my understanding is that it is more or less a replica using the same plans.
    Perhaps that makes it easier to work with, not “historical” enough to demand all of the rigmarole, but enough for interest.

    MD in Philly (not in Philly) (deca84)

  45. I don’t even have to like Lara Logan or 60 minutes. Still..

    Apparently she was violated so severely she’s still suffering the consequences.

    Sorry for putting it that way. I don’t know any other way.

    Steve57 (f61b03)

  46. None of the construction material showing in anything near 200 years old. My guess that is where the house was and not much else.

    JB (3b1e7a)

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