By Lauren Lipton
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – We hear stories all the time about Philadelphia back in the day. But here’s some you may not have heard from Philadelphia author and the founding president of the Philadelphia Tour Guides Association, Ed Mauger. First up, a story from Thomas Jefferson about writing the Declaration of Independence.
“There was a huge stable near Independence Hall that attracted an enormous number of flies,” Mauger said. “And he said all the delegates were sitting there debating the Declaration, and they were constantly swatting their legs. They had skintight silk stockings, and the flies were chewing them like mad.”
So what happened next?
“Finally, they were so sick of whacking the flies and getting bitten, they said, ‘Let’s just vote on the thing.’ So he always gave credit to the black flies, because I think there were about 44 changes to his document, but if it hadn’t been for the flies, there might have been another 44 changes.”
And the name of a famous cereal box had its origins here.
“About a century ago, a couple of guys in Michigan decided to market a new cereal made from something they’d been feeding horses. And they wanted people to know it wouldn’t kill them and it wouldn’t make them sick. So they looked for a word that meant honesty and integrity, and they decided to call it ‘Quaker Oats.’ Then they took the most famous Quaker of all, our own William Penn, and they put his whole figure on the box.”
That’s similar to how Philadelphia Cream Cheese got its name. It’s never been made in Philadelphia, but Philadelphia was put in the name to give it added prestige to buyers.
Listen to more of Lauren’s interview in this podcast: