The Philly Flag, new listings, and fun things to do in Philly this week. What do you think of the Philly Flag? Do you have a favorite flag? I’d love to discuss. Please send me an email: [email protected] This edition of Around the Block was originally published on Friday, 7/29/22.
Relevant Commentary, all information Philly (real estate and otherwise), Open Houses, Listings, Happenings, and More — by Jeff “City” Block
This week, an encore presentation of one of the more popular and fun ATBs from 7/9/2021.
The Flag and the Arm
I love flags. I love the United States flag, whether the original 13-starred flag, which legend says was partially designed and sewn by Betsy Ross at 2nd & Arch, or the current version with 50 stars. The Stars & Stripes do not belong to one political party or any particular group. It is the flag that represents our entire country. I respect those who revere it. And I respect those who protest it. And everyone in between. That is what our flag stands for!
Now, not surprisingly, one of my favorite flags is this one:
Ah yes, the flag of the City of Philadelphia. There are a few things I know about the Philly flag. The colors are based directly off this flag—
The flag of Sweden. The Swedish were Philly’s first European settlers, and the Philly neighborhood Queen Village is named in tribute to the then Queen of Sweden. Philly has Olde Swedes’ Church and the American Swedish Historical Museum and, fun fact, for about 17 years in the mid-17th Century, the Delaware Valley was apparently a Swedish colony called New Sweden. And about 350 years later, Philly got its first Ikea!
Another thing I know is that the Seal/Coat of Arms includes Philly’s motto, to wit, “Philadelphia Maneto.” I do not understand Latin, but most people know that Philadelphia means “brotherly love” and about 25 years ago I looked it up and the term Philadelphia Maneto means “Let Brotherly Love Continue” or perhaps, “Long Live Brotherly Love.” And I own a Philly flag. I bought it like 25 years ago and have never hung it or done anything with it. I guess I just like having it (and it seems I was really into the Philly flag around 1995 for some reason). So, writing this piece inspired me to learn even more about the Philly Seal, and I found this fascinating article from 2013– Behind Philadelphia Maneto: Dissecting The City Seal. It is a long article, so a few of my observations are:
This has been the City Seal since the latter 18th Century.
David Rittenhouse was one of the Seal’s designers. Rittenhouse was a renowned 18th Century Astronomer who is probably best known now for the wonderful Square and neighborhood that bear his name. He was born in Rittenhouse Town, which was named for his family in the 17th Century. I currently live less than 5 minutes from Rittenhouse Town, which is now part of Fairmount Park and the Wissahickon Valley Trails. And it is said that the idea for the field of stars on the American flag may have been inspired by Rittenhouse’s work as an astronomer.
The Seal originally included the year 1701, which was then removed when someone pointed out that the City was founded in 1683. I guess they just left the whole year thing out after that to make sure no one made another mistake.
Then there is the cornucopia, plow, ship, scroll with anchor, two women, and the standard shield and fancy squiggles that you would expect to find on any proper coat of arms.
But my favorite part of the City Seal, by far, is… wait for it… the disembodied arm. The disembodied arm is holding the Scales of Justice. I am both an attorney and a Libra, and the disembodied arm on my favorite City’s Flag just happens to be holding the Scales. Coincidence?
You will also see the City’s Flag without the Seal. Flags flown by the city government must use the seal while privately flown flags have the option of using the seal or going without.
(Graphic courtesy of a typically random Dan McQuade Tweet. Dec. 2014.)
Philly has so many odd things that help shape its character: Scrapple, the name Wawa, MAC Machines (try asking for one in another city), Gritty, down the shore (type that in Grammarly), Mütter Museum, Whispering Walls, Mummers, wiz wit. And of course, the disembodied arm on our City’s Shield and Flag.
I know our city has some budget shortfalls, so perhaps a trademark infringement suit?
I mean can Arm & Hammer stick that TM on there if Philly has been using that disembodied arm since the 1700s?! At least A&H didn’t steal our “azure blue” and the “pale golden yellow” colors.
Seriously, though, next time you pass by the City Flag, slow down, take a moment, think about our disembodied arm, and smile. I LOVE PHILLY!!
Have a great weekend.
1734 Addison Street
3 BD | Large Family Room | 2 BA | 1,816 SF | Semi-finished Lower Level | Nice Character | Rear Patio | $695,000
Spacious, inviting townhome on one of Rittenhouse Square’s most beautiful and desirable blocks. This is the premier location!
3 bedrooms, large family room, 2 updated baths, semi-finished lower level. Really nice character, superb light, and layout. Bright, renovated eat-in kitchen overlooking a cute rear patio. Big windows, high ceilings, exposed brick, exposed beams.
Plus updated systems throughout, including roof (2022), HVAC (2017), hot water heater (2017), sump pump (2017), basement renovation (2017).
This welcoming home is situated on a neighborly, quiet, tree-lined block in the Greenfield School Catchment. 99 WalkScore. Walk to the city’s best restaurants, cafes, shopping, markets, farmers’ market, parks, and more.
Head out of the City and get active at the new TreeTrails Adventures park in Trevose, PA. This park has awesome challenges for all ages including rope bridges, zipline rides, and aerial obstacle courses. There’s also a KidTrails Park that includes smaller kid-friendly courses.
As always, please know that I’m humbled by and appreciative of your introductions and referrals. If you have a friend, colleague, or family member that is in need of Expert Real Estate Representation, please have them contact me.
Be assured, I will do my best to exceed their expectations! Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of Around the Block.
Some imagery in this e-newsletter was sourced via UWISHUNU, treetrails.com, and Canva.