Philadelphia, the capital of William Penn’s “holy experiment” in freedom, was to be guided by brotherly love. It hasn’t always lived up to its founder’s vision, but its universal ideals of liberty and love helped it become blueprint for the United States and a World Heritage City.
You have just been entrusted with highly sensitive information. Adventurers, archaeologists, treasure hunters, and tomb raiders throughout history have spent their lives seeking the clues you now hold in your hand. Follow the locations on this trail and search for the hidden clues at each point of interest if you care to find one of history’s greatest hidden treasures.
Freedom of religion. Free elections. Free and fair trials. These are the well-known ideals upon which William Penn founded Philadelphia. But it is less known that he also intended his venture to be profitable. The first Church of England parish and the First Bank of the United States in Philadelphia have something in common as well. Keep a keen eye on the highest point at each spot to get your first clue.
A breeze of good omen blows in Philadelphia. The city attracted America’s greatest minds to draft the Declaration of Independence and begin the formation of a new country. Philadelphia also served for a time as the nation’s capital. Follow the path to Independence National Historical Park. Find the exact spot in the center of the triangle formed by Independence Hall, Congress Hall, and the Liberty Bell. There you will find your next clue.
This information has been handed down generation after generation by hard-working and down-to-earth Americans of all creeds and races who have kept it secret. At one point after 1893, the map was kept in the state-of-the-art refrigeration area at Reading Terminal Market. It is said that if you approach the Marquee with a sharp eye, you will find your third clue.
You’re no Indiana Jones, yet you’ve made it further than many other more skilled adventurers. Walk to the corner of 12th and Market and look to where the sun sets. Could it be that simple? Is the last clue that obvious, looking from high above at the city he once imagined?
No pain, no palm; no thorns, no throne; no gall, no glory; no cross, no crown.
William Penn; No Cross, No Crown. 1669
Discover Philadelphia’s hidden history and how faith has guided liberty toward justice with our curated ecosystem of trails that explore the city’s must-see sites!