Longfellow’s popular poem Evangeline still has people searching for the tombs of the Acadian heroine and her lost lover Gabriel in Philadelphia – even though they’re fictional characters!
Until recently, I only vaguely knew about the Acadians or “Cajuns” who came from the Nova Scotia region of Canada and ended up in Louisiana.
Since then, I’ve learned that about 11,500 Acadians were brutally displaced by the British in 1755. Some 453 of these unfortunates ended up living in Philadelphia on the north side of Pine Street between Fifth and Sixth, some for many years.
With a soaring 196-foot steeple that towers over newer structures nearby, Christ Church is both a spectacular historic building … and living history at its best.
No musty old buildings or artifacts untouched by human hands here. Instead, this is a flourishing, active modern parish – where members still worship under a brass chandelier (with real candles) that has hung since 1744.
Parishioners continue to be baptized at a 15th century octagonal walnut font used by William Penn in 1644. And, says senior guide and historian Neil Ronk, “The bells we rang for the Revolution will ring for a wedding tonight.”