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UW Election Eye 2012

Campaign 2012 through the eyes of UW faculty and students

Topic: Carpenters’ Hall

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April 29, 2012 at 6:30 AM

A Philadelphia docent builds memories at historic Carpenters’ Hall

Historic Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia on April 15, 2012.

Historic Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia on April 15, 2012. (Photo by Elizabeth Wiley/UW Election Eye)

Historic Carpenters’ Hall docent reflects on 9/11 and why he does what he does. 

PHILADELPHIA —  Al Evans was working his morning shift at a Philadelphia branch of PNC Bank on September 11, 2001, when two commercial jetliners flew into New York City’s World Trade Center 100 miles to the northeast. Car traffic was permanently shut down close to any number of Philadelphia’s historical sites around the Liberty Bell, and Evans was hesitant to go in for his four-hour shift as a volunteer tour guide at nearby Carpenters’ Hall on September 23, 2001.

“Independence Hall was all roped off and there was this incredible eerie feeling in here,” Evans said of the meeting place of the First Continental Congress in 1774. “A lot of folks were afraid to go anywhere, but I was determined to be here for people who want to learn more about what this country is all about.”

At age 72, Evans is in his 11th year at Carpenters’ Hall. He points to his Volunteer of the Year award from the Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce eight years ago as the turning point for his post-9/11 fears. His warm sense of humor often disarms those who don’t see it coming.

“Somebody who’s never been here will tell me how the oldest building in their town was built in 1875, and I’ll say ‘Hey, I can top that.'”

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