On behalf of the AATOD Conference Hospitality Committee, we’re thrilled that you’ll be visiting Philadelphia. And do we have a visit planned for you! Because the conference will be taking place at the Philadelphia Marriott, you’ll be centrally located in one of the most walkable cities in the U.S. where, no matter what you crave—history, shopping, the arts, sports, science, gardens, architecture, or dining—you will find countless, diverse options nearby.
Sure, you might know us as the City of Brotherly Love with a rich history and foundation for American democracy but did you know that we’re also a city of firsts? The first hospital in the US (1751) was Pennsylvania Hospital, the first bank in the nation (1780), the first stock exchange (1790), Philly was the first capital of the US (1790–1800), the Philadelphia Zoo was the first in the nation, and we also had the first department store (Wanamakers—now Macy’s) and the very first professional football game took place here in 1934—Philadelphia Eagles beat the Cincinnati Reds, (64-0). Go Eagles! Want more history? Independence Hall, the Constitution Center and the Liberty Bell are right down the street from the hotel.
We also have a history of being a rowdy bunch that makes waves with Benjamin Franklin enforcing Philadelphia’s reputa- tion as a hotbed for the progressive ideals that would give birth to the American Revolution. Later, the Industrial Revolution increased the influx of people into the city seeking fortunes and creating a wide array of neighborhoods, traditions, and cultures. Pennsylvania, particularly Philadelphia, was the southernmost “free” state where enslaved Africans fled during the Civil War.
In addition to all this rich history in nation-building, many of you will have an interest in Philadelphia’s contributions
to medicine. As home to the United States’ first professional medical organization, the College of Physicians, which is still highly active in promoting the awareness of health to the public, the College owns an outstanding collection of medical oddities, including archival photographs of unusual deformities, diseases, and other afflictions on display at the Mutter Museum. Be sure to check out the tallest skeleton currently on display in North America; a nine-foot-long human colon which originally came from a sideshow act called the Human Balloon; and the body of the Soap Lady, whose corpse turned itself into a soapy substance called adipocere better known as grave wax.
Just a mile from the hotel, a hot site for those with a behavioral health interest is Eastern State Penitentiary. Opened in 1829, it set the standard for penal reform, with its soaring, castle-like Gothic architecture and its founders’ Quaker-inspired belief that solitary confinement could reform criminals. The 11-acre prison even had central heat, running water and flush toilets before the White House! Make sure you bring your camera, you might be lucky enough to capture the spirit of bank robber Willie Sutton, who staged a breakout in 1945, or Al Capone, who furnished his cell with antiques, rugs and oil paintings— they both served time here. Combine this with a tour of the Edgar Allen Poe house and you’ll round out your need for prose and prisons.
Want more? Stop at the hospitality booth where you’ll find some helpful Philly natives with an updated list of city events and venues that will keep you entertained and engaged with all that our city has to offer.