TAYLORSVILLE, PENNSYLVANIA
William L. Engstrom - April 30, 2003

Dear friends,

Another beautiful day provided unprecedented photo opportunities, this time across the Delaware River where General Washington loaded up Durham boats and ferried a tired and worn army into New Jersey on a freezing Christmas morning. Today, the site is revered with state parks on both sides, and I selected Pennsylvania for my picture-taking. We often take the bridge on our way to Newtown, and I have had my eye on some scenes that needed recording.

This is a 360-degree panorama, so you must manually scroll to the right. There were 15 frames, and the PhotoStitch program did all the work. The task was a lot easier with a tripod, but I sweated out the terrible lighting contrast. The bridge was the brightest general area, so that began the sequence and locked the exposure.

The moment I entered the park, I fell in love with a pink house with yellow shutters, but it took all afternoon for the sun to move around and make it manageable, and I was also watching another house that had shadows written all over it. Today, I was more interested in art, while a multitude of school children were being led around for history.

In 1776, when General George Washington undertook his momentous crossing, the brownstone McConkey Ferry Inn was the only building on this site.

Shortly thereafter, the Taylor Family purchased the Inn and surrounding land, making way for the development of the 19th-century village of Taylorsville. After expanding the McConkey Ferry Inn, brothers Mahlon and Bernard built homes for themselves: the federal-style Mahlon K. Taylor house and the present-day Washington Crossing Inn. The surrounding homes were built as tenant houses to comprise a self-sufficient community including homes for a blacksmith, wheelwright, tailor, physician, a general store, and a post office.

The 1830s brought the expansion of Taylorsville and construction of a wooden covered bridge across the Delaware. Shortly after its completion, the structure was destroyed by a flood and rebuilt a few years later. The existing steel bridge, opened in 1905, is the third bridge to be built here.

A visitor's center that is part museum and part auditorium is also here at Taylorsville and holds a replica of Leutze's famous painting of Washington standing in a boat. Weekends and during the summer, many tourists pay homage (and a fee) to relive history, and this is always a very busy attraction. Today, the place was filled with high school students being given walking tours every half-hour.

Around 4 o'clock, the sun was just where I wanted it, and I cautiously walked around a group of teenagers waiting for their guide. As I did my little photographer's dance, looking for the perfect perspective, I heard a girl's voice say to her friend, "What's he taking a picture of that for?"

We all send our greetings. Have a beautiful day.



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