RETURN TO "PHILADELPHIA STORY | RETURN TO PAINTINGS
William Birch, "High Street, From the Country Market-place,
with the procession in
commemoration of the Death of General George Washington, December 26th, 1799"
from The City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania North America. Philadelphia (1800)
On 14 December 1799, George Washington died. William Birch depicted his funeral procession.
In 1800, with John Adams as President, the national capital moved to Washington, DC.
Written During the Prevalence of a Yellow Fever
Hot, dry winds forever blowing,
Dead men to the grave-yards going:
Oh! what plagues--there is no knowing!
Priests retreating from their pulpits!--
Some in hot, and some in cold fits
In bad temper,
Off they scamper,
Leaving us--unhappy culprits!
Doctors raving and disputing,
death's pale army still recruiting--
What a pother
One with t'other!
Some a-writing, some a-shooting.
Nature's poisons here collected,
Water, earth, and air infected--
O, what a pity,
Such a City,
Was in such a place erected!
William Birch, "The Water Works, in Centre Square,"|
The City of Philadelphia, in the State of Pennsylvania North America. Philadelphia (1800)
As a result of the Fever, Philadelphia went to work.
The engineer Benjamin William Latrobe built a giant pump where City Hall stands today.
The hope was to wash clean the city streets.
In the early 1820s, a more effective system called the Fairmount Waterworks was designed and
completed, becoming a major tourist attraction for the city.
It created a giant reservoir where the Philadelphia Museum of Art stands today.