Destination List > Betsy Ross House
Betsy Ross House
Photo by Jim, the Photographer
The Betsy Ross House is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is believed to be the location where Betsy Ross sewed the first American flag. There are many who believe and many who don't, that this is where Betsy Ross was living when she, as a seamstress and flag-maker, sewed the first American flag, usually called a Betsy Ross flag. The reason why many people believe that the current house is one that belonged to her is because her grandchildren and current descendants say it was. But, most historians believe that the actual house would have been next to the one that is here today. The traditional story told is that Betsy Ross met with George Washington and Robert Morris, a relation of hers, and they discussed the need for a new flag. Betsy Ross accepted the challenge and created the iconic early American flag. The reason why most historians do not believe that Betsy Ross was responsible for creating the first American flag is because records of her doing this did not show up in history until around the time of the Centennial, or 100th anniversary of the United States, in 1876. Her two grandsons, William J. and George Canby, wrote a letter to the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1870 claiming that their grandmother had made the flag herself. Many historians believe that she was one of many who helped create the flag, and that her most lasting alteration was to change the stars from having six-points to five-points.
Known as the “Birthplace of Old Glory”, the house that stands there today was in very rough shape in the 1930s. In 1937, a radio mogul named A. Atwater Kent offered a large sum of money to have the house restored so that it could be brought back to its original glory. Much of the original structure was salvaged. Workers also used parts from demolished houses from the same period for the reconstruction. In 1941, Kent offered the house to the City of Philadelphia as a present so that it could become a museum and tribute to Betsy Ross. During the United States Bicentennial in 1976, the remains of Betsy Ross and her third husband, John Claypoole, were moved to the courtyard of the house. A Bicentennial is a 200th anniversary.