Saturday, August 27, 2016

Photo gallery: Where General George Meade died in 1872

Meade's name appears just above the entryway at 1836 Delancey Street.

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On Nov. 11, 1872, five days after he died of  pneumonia in his house at 1836 Delancey Street in Philadelphia, a massive funeral was held for George Meade, the commander of the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg. It was an "imposing affair," according to a contemporary newspaper account, attended by former Union army brass that included President Ulysses Grant, Phil Sheridan, Winfield Hancock and William Sherman.

George Meade was 56 when he died 
in 1872.  (Library of Congress)
The city had “never witnessed such a representation of the power and greatness and genius of the nation, as that which assembled within its limits today, to pay the last tribute of honor and respect to the memory of Major-Gen. George Gordon Meade," the New York Times reported the next day. "The solemn ceremonials, the impressive display, the gathering of thousands from all portions of the country, were well worthy the patriotism, the distinguished services, and the general excellence of character of the departed hero.”

"Business was almost entirely suspended today," the Pittsburgh Daily Post noted, "and the city wore a holiday appearance. Flags everywhere were draped in mourning, and even the buildings, out of respect to the memory of  General Meade."

Meade's body was taken from the house for a service at St. Mark's Church, and the route along the funeral procession was "filled with people" and "took nearly an hour to pass a given point," the Pittsburgh newspaper reported. Dressed as a civilian, Grant rode in an open carriage while Sherman and Sheridan appeared in full uniform. Even "Old Baldy," Meade's beloved horse, was part of the procession.

Meade's coffin, draped with an American flag and a wreath, was carried on a gun carriage pulled by six horses. The 56-year-old officer, still on active duty when he died, was buried at Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia.

On Thursday, we maneuvered through mind-numbing Philadelphia traffic for a brief visit to Meade's former house, which has been altered since he lived there from 1866-72. Marked by a blue-and-yellow painted historical sign on the sidewalk, the residence includes Meade's name carved in stone just above the entryway. The building has been sub-divided, turned into apartments over the years. Asking price to rent a one-bedroom, one-bath piece of history in tony Center City Philly: $1,500 a month.

For more on this historic property, check out this, this, this and this, and here's a cool story on the demise of the witness tree at Meade's grave and more photos of the giant, old Norway maple here.


                    Click at upper right for full-screen panoramas (on desktop only).

Meade died at his residence on Nov. 6, 1872.
Units are for rent at 1836 Delancey Street.
Meade's former residence is in Center City Philadelphia.
Historical sign just outside Meade's former Philadelphia residence.

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