A Brief History: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to many locations of American historical significance. One such location is the Betsy Ross House. Betsy Ross lived in the home from 1773 to 1786. According to legend, Betsy Ross created the first American flag after a visit by General George Washington, and his request to do so. Legend also says that Washington originally wished for the flag to have stars with six points, however Betsy convinced him that five points would work better.
This popular story is considered a legend because there is no documentation of the time period indicating that this occurred. Many current historians believe that the legend originated from Betsy’s grandson, William J. Canby. During the Centennial celebrations Canby presented a research paper in which he claimed that his grandmother had “made with her hands the first flag” of the United States.
In 1937 the house was sold to the city of Philadelphia. Millionaire businessman Atwater Kent helped to raise the necessary funds to restore the home which had fallen into disrepair, and whose alterations over time had changed the look from how it was in the 18th century. A garden was also added to the property.
Haunted History: Some visitors to the Betsy Ross House encounter more than they expect to find in the museum. Downstairs in the basement kitchen some people have reported hearing a voice saying “Pardon me.” Also reported are claims that visitors have seen the sobbing spirit of Betsy Ross in the basement bedroom. There are those who claim to have encountered the spirit of an employee who was supposedly murdered in the gift shop.