314–322 Market St., 215/965-2305
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At times it seems the entire city is one giant tribute to Benjamin Franklin, and nowhere is it more overt than at Franklin Court.
Philadelphia’s  favorite son, who spent much of his life in the city, was a printer, diplomat, inventor, publisher, author, statesman, and postmaster. He founded the Library Company , Pennsylvania Hospital , Philosophical Society , the University of Pennsylvania , and more, so it’s fitting that an entire court occupying a large portion of a city block is dedicated to him.
Franklin Court is on the site of Franklin’s home for the final five years of his life after he returned from nearly 20 years of working as a commissary in France and England. Designed by world-famous architect Robert Venturi for the bicentennial, a “ghost structure” made of steel outlines the area occupied by his original home, destroyed in 1812.
Remains of the original foundation, underground kitchen, and privy pit (toilet) can be seen through viewing pits in the ground. Flagstones around the house have been carved with real correspondence that took place between Ben and his wife, Deborah, mostly about renovations to their home while he was away.
At the opposite end of Franklin Court, a row of homes built by Franklin in the late 1780s has been transformed into other Ben-themed structures, including the Franklin Court Museum Shop and the B. Free Franklin Post Office and Museum, highlighting postal history. Note that the post office is the only one in the country that does not display an American flag—since it had not yet been invented. The court also contains an archaeological display called “Fragments of Franklin Court” and a Printing Office and Bindery.
A highlight of Franklin Court is the Underground Museum, with its interesting displays, interactive exhibits, and a 22-minute film entitled The Real Ben Franklin. A phone bank plays audio testimonies about Franklin based on the words of other famous people in history. As with most major public figures, Ben was highly praised and highly criticized, but one thing is certain—he left quite a mark on Philadelphia  and the world.