BY JOSEPH SLOBODZIAN OF THE INQUIRER Calling it the first step in “digging for the truth,” Mayor Street and National Park Service officials this morning broke ground for the memorial to the first presidential residence – and to the slaves who lived there serving the first president.”We’re digging for the truth about the start of this country and the great tragedy of slavery, which affects everything we do in this country today,” Street told a crowd of about 150 at the corner of Sixth and Market Streets on Independence Mall.
Street then climbed into the cab of a green track hoe and, mugging for the cameras and under the guiding hand of operator Jeffrey Stamps, lowered the toothed bucket and took a foot-deep chunk out of the sod.
Though the $5.2 million memorial to the house shared by Presidents George Washington and John Adams when Philadelphia was the nation’s capital is months from completion, the groundbreaking begins three to six weeks of intensive archaeological research – the first ever done on that section of Independence Mall.
Three Philadelphia high schools will have students taking part in studying archaeology and historical interpretation of artifacts and visiting the site during the excavation. The public also will be able to get a close view through the wooden stage erected for today’s ceremony, which will remain on site and let people view the dig.
INQUIRER: Live And Direct From Ground Zero Of American History
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