The final stop on our month long adventure was back home to Philadelphia where I lived for 30 years before moving to Mexico and where my three kids still live. Jim took the borrowed car to visit his daughters in the suburbs and I explored the city with Uber and on foot. Rittenhouse Square is located in the center of town and is a haven of trees and benches which I returned to over and over again.
The Barnes Foundation was my next destination. A treasure trove of impressionist, post-impressionist, and early modern paintings, as well as old master works, Native American fine crafts, and early American furniture and decorative art. He was also an early and influential collector of African sculpture. I first saw the collection in the Barnes home in Merion, Pa – walls and stairwells covered with Renoirs, Cezannes, and Matisses. Logistics became impossible for visitors so the collection was eventually moved to a new museum on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia.
Unveiled only a couple days ago , I found the bronze statue of Octavious V. Catto on the south side of City Hall in Philadelphia. He was a civil rights activist here after the Civil War working to desegregate trolleys and bring Black voters to the polls, but was killed on Election Day 1871 at the age of 32. This is the first public monument honoring a specific African American in Philadelphia.