Franklin disguised as Washington Last week, I visited Charleston, South Carolina.  The city is saturated with history and I’d recommend a visit, especially if you have school-age kids.  When I travel, my favorite things are sampling the local foods and touring historical homes.  This is how I ended up eating a fried green tomato egg McMuffinesque sandwich for breakfast, three different versions of pulled-pork, and some deep-fried peanuts.  Also deep-fried escargot dim sum, but I don’t think that’s native to Charleston.

I love it when I encounter something I’ve never heard of and Charleston had several goodies.  One was the wine glass rinser.  See the beaker-looking thing with the wine glass in it?  Charlestonians ate dinner at 2:00 and it lasted several hours.  Because glass was rare and expensive, they would rinse their glasses in the beaker when they changed wines with the different courses. rinser

But the funniest thing was the figurine of Benjamin Franklin labeled George Washington that’s in the Heyward-Washington house.  Washington rented it for a few days when he was making his tour of the states as president.  At that time, he and Ben Franklin were like movie stars and figurines were the posters of the day.  Capitalizing on their popularity, Staffordshire potteries in England made a ton of Ben Franklin statues and apparently saturated the market.  So at least one company relabeled the overstock as Washington and sold them, banking on the fact that unless they’d met the gentleman or seen a portrait, people didn’t know what they looked like.  One of the Heywards wanted to commemorate their famous renter and bought the figurine.  I have no idea if Washington saw it, but I’ll bet if Franklin did, he laughed.  The picture is from the Milwaukee curator’s article on it.  I notice she doesn’t say that the Staffordshire folks mislabeled the figurine on purpose, but she probably didn’t want to call them frauds in print.  Not that I am, either.  Just repeating the story.

I love stuff like this.  Have you found anything strange/unusual/interesting/surprising on your travels?  Tell!

12 Responses to “Washington Slept Here”
  1. katie says:

    When I first saw the picture, I thought, “Wait, that’s Ben Franklin” and it was. That’s so funny.

    No funny things on my travels.

  2. Patsy L Roberts says:

    No interesting tails here but the figurine story is funny. I’m sure they thought they were being cleaver and that no one would ever know the difference. LOL

  3. Mary Preston says:

    I wonder if one day someone will say “Mary slept here!” Maybe I should have a sign or something made just in case.

  4. Kaelee says:

    I love going to visit small museums in small towns. Usually find something different in each one.

    I think the statue is hilarious. On the other hand a few famous people nowadays would welcome some of that obliviousness.

  5. Laurie G says:

    This past summer we visited a museum which had a piece of the Russian Sputnik rocket ship ( Rahr West Museum- Manitowoc , Wisconsin) complete with the newspaper articles and the hoopla of the day it was confirmed to be part of the space craft.

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