|William Penn atop Philadelphia City Hall|
Penn set sail for North America shortly after receiving a royal charter from King Charles II of England to cover a debt, by which he became the proprietor of a huge tract of land in what is now Pennsylvania and Delaware. Arriving in the fall of 1682, he landed first at New Castle, before sailing further up the Delaware River to Upland (later renamed Chester) where he moored.1 Continuing his journey another fifteen miles by barge, he came to an area known today as Penn’s Landing—a ten-block stretch along the river from Vine Street to South Street in Philadelphia. The importance once accorded this event is reflected by a superb menu from a banquet in 1854 celebrating the 172nd anniversary of his arrival. Hosted by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, the dinner was held at La Pierre House, a new luxury hotel distinguished by a large statue of a bald eagle on the roof over its entrance.2
|La Pierre House (ca. 1854)|
An American eagle also appears at the top of the menu shown below, perched here over a portrait of George Washington flanked by American flags, creating a splendid trifecta of patriotic images. Gilded and tinted in a lithographic process using three stones, the menu was made by Eugene Ketterlinus, one of the first printers in the country to produce colored and embossed lithographs. He received an award for his work from the Franklin Institute in 1858, sixteen years after establishing his printing house at 40 North Fourth Street, a few blocks from the wharves that lined the river where Penn landed.
|Penn Marker (1882)|
1. The settlers in the three southernmost counties of Pennsylvania were permitted to split off in 1704, establishing the semi-autonomous colony of Delaware with New Castle as its capital.
2. La Pierre House opened in 1853 on the west side of Broad Street, between Chestnut and Sansom Streets. It was designed by John McArthur, Jr., the architect of the Philadelphia City Hall, a landmark building that is topped with a statue of William Penn. La Pierre House, later renamed the Lafayette Hotel, closed in 1900.
3. The most prevalent story is that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving in 1621. Some maintain that it was held at Berkeley Plantation on the James River in Virginia in 1619.