First major, patriotic gift: DAR donates 76 trees to Independence Mall

USA250 is proud to announce the first major, patriotic gift to the nation announced for the United States Semiquincentennial:

At their 126th annual Continental Congress, the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) announced a $380,000 donation to the National Park Service (NPS), to underwrite the planting of 76 trees at Independence National Historical Park (INHP), a gift made in the spirit of 1776.

The trees will be planted over the next three years and mature as the nation approaches our 250th anniversary, the United States Semiquincentennial. Cynthia MacLeod, NPS’ Acting Northeast Regional Director thanked the DAR, noting that, “The park is a sort of arboretum, comprised of several landscapes. The new trees will significantly enhance the overall character that has defined the park for decades.”

The DAR’s donation is the first component of its new America 250 initiative, to engage the organization’s 185,000 members with the commemoration and celebration of the nation’s Semiquincentennial anniversary. It follows a long list of major DAR contributions over generations to strengthen Independence Hall and its surrounding environs. The group planted 13 trees at Independence Square during the 1926 Sesquicentennial, and it also funded the restoration of Independence Hall’s second floor for the 1976 Bicentennial.

For this donation, MacLeod explained that “some trees will be replacement street trees, others will be individual specimen from smaller flowering trees to larger evergreen and deciduous trees that fit in Washington Square, Independence Square, Independence Mall, and the Second Bank and First Bank blocks, among other locations in the park. Eventually we will have a map that locates each of the 76 trees.”

DAR also announced the appointment of Lynn Forney Young by Speaker Paul Ryan to the United States Semiquincentennial Commission. Mrs. Young serves as DAR Honorary President General and chair of DAR’s America 250 committee. The full list of Commission appointees is available online at

USA250 expresses our deepest appreciation to Daughters of the American Revolution for preserving the national values and historic sites of the American Revolution and honoring the memory of those who served the patriotic cause. The DAR is part of an impressive range of individuals, organizations and foreign nations who, during past national anniversary celebrations, have donated works of public art and other civic contributions that have left a legacy both in Philadelphia and across the United States, ranging from the Statue of Liberty to the restoration of Independence Mall, from the LOVE Statue to the Japanese cherry blossom trees that beautify our public space.

Photos for Public Use

Photos courtesy of Daughters of the American Revolution:

DAR President General Ann T. Dillon, NPS Acting Northeast Regional Director Cynthia MacLeod, and DAR Honorary President General Lynn F. Young
DAR President General Ann T. Dillon and DAR Honorary President General and US Semiquincentennial Commissioner Lynn F. Young present donation to NPS Acting Northeast Regional Director Cynthia MacLeod


Dr. Andrew Hohns, Member of the US Semiquincentennial Commission, Board Chair of USA250
US Semiquincentennial Commissioner and USA250 Board Chair Dr. Andrew Hohns address the DAR Continental Congress to thank the Daughters for their patriotic contribution for 2026.


Dr. Andrew Hohns (USA250, US Semiquincentennial Commission) and Leah Popowich, Cynthia MacLeod (NPS), President General Ann T. Dillon (DAR), Honorary President General Lynn F. Young (DAR, also US Semiquincentennial Commission), Jon Grabelle Herrmann (USA250)
Dr. Andrew Hohns (USA250, US Semiquincentennial Commission) and Leah Popowich, Cynthia MacLeod (NPS), President General Ann T. Dillon (DAR), Honorary President General Lynn F. Young (DAR, also US Semiquincentennial Commission), Jon Grabelle Herrmann (USA250)

Food250 Raffle: Send Travis across the USA!

Travis Rosenbluth wants to hear your story!

Enter the Food250 raffle:
One winner. 5 restaurants!

Enter Now

What is American food?

Do you want to hear where America’s top chefs and food stakeholders believe the future of American Food is heading? Help us find out! This is the start of a ten year plan to improve the quality of our food system from Americans who are passionate about sustainability, accessibility, education and viability.

To do that, we are sending Travis Rosenbluth, a young 25 year old chef, to document what is happening throughout the United States in order to learn what issues matter.

Support Travis’ trip.
Enter to win the Big Philly Dining Package!

For each $25 entry, you get a chance to win a bundle of gift certificates to Philly’s top restaurants, donated to help launch USA250’s new initiative, Food250, including ALL of these great prizes:

  • Fork: $150 dinner for 2
  • Garces Group: $150
  • High Street on  Market: $150 dinner for 2
  • Serpico: $150 dinner for 2 ($150)
  • Zahav: $100
  • plus the V Street Cookbook by Chefs Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby
Enter Now


Proceeds from the raffle will support Travis’ trip as well as our ongoing efforts to plan for Food250. The winning entry will be selected at random. The contest ends April 30, 2017.

Thank you in advance for your support.

What kind of country will we leave for our children in 2026?

What kind of country will we leave for our children when the United States reaches its 250th anniversary in 2026?

Last night, President Trump posed this question during his address to a joint session of Congress:

“In 9 years, the United States will celebrate the 250th anniversary of our founding — 250 years since the day we declared our Independence.


“It will be one of the great milestones in the history of the world.


“But what will America look like as we reach our 250th year? What kind of country will we leave for our children?

To properly answer that question, we can start by looking at the Declaration of Independence itself, recognizing that we are all created equal, that we enjoy certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

In 1776, the United States of America was organized around these enduring principles. And as our 250th anniversary in 2026 approaches, it is the obligation of all Americans to make sure that our children inherit a nation guided by those same words and values.

The President also remarked on the history made in Philadelphia during the nation’s centennial celebration in 1876:

“Hopefully, the 250th year for America will see a world that is more peaceful, more just and more free.


“On our 100th anniversary, in 1876, citizens from across our Nation came to Philadelphia to celebrate America’s centennial. At that celebration, the country’s builders and artists and inventors showed off their creations.


“Alexander Graham Bell displayed his telephone for the first time.


“Remington unveiled the first typewriter. An early attempt was made at electric light.


“Thomas Edison showed an automatic telegraph and an electric pen.


“Imagine the wonders our country could know in America’s 250th year.


“Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people.”

Each American has an equal and undivided interest in the success of our Great Experiment in republican democracy on the occasion of our 250th anniversary. We’re glad to have your support in making that possible.

Contribute your ideas for 2026 at

On behalf of USA250,

Andrew Hohns, Board Chair
Jon Grabelle Herrmann, Executive Director

Introducing the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission

U.S. 250th Anniversary Commission Act Introduced in Congress with Bipartisan Support


Noting today’s 241st anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, a bipartisan team of legislators introduced the United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act in Congress, led by Senators Robert Casey, Patrick Toomey, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Ron Wyden; and by Representatives Patrick Meehan, Robert Brady, Brendan Boyle, and Ryan Costello. (Bill #: HR. 4875 and S. 2815).

The proposed commission will facilitate national plans leading into America’s 250th anniversary on July 4, 2026. The 32-member body of public officials and private citizens will solicit ideas for the United States Semiquincentennial and develop a report with recommendations to the President and to Congress within two years of its formation.

Senator Casey:

“The United States’ 250th anniversary is a momentous mark in our nation’s history and future. The commission’s purpose is to dedicate time to mapping out the look and feel of this celebration. I am excited to see what they come up with.”

Senator Toomey:

“Americans today owe a debt to our founders who imagined a nation conceived in liberty and who risked everything, including their lives, to make it so. Pennsylvania played a pivotal role in the birth of our country and in the composition of the documents that outline our values and the role of our government.  I am proud to join USA250, Senator Casey, and my Pennsylvania colleagues to begin to plan for our country’s 250th birthday.”

Congressman Meehan:

“Pennsylvania has a rich history in the story of America’s founding as the home of the Continental Congresses and Constitutional Convention. Now, we invite our colleagues from all fifty states to build an anniversary initiative that carries the spirit of our founding era to future generations.”

Congressman Brady:

“Every American has a role to play in this celebration. Our nation’s commitment to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness remains as relevant today as it has been over 250 years.”

Additional Resources:


Philadelphia Should Host The Sports World Again For America’s 250th

Guest column written by Rick Haggerty

Gerald Ford clutched a baseball in each hand. Moments earlier, the 38th President of the United States had received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd at Veterans Stadium and had taken his front-row seat next to soon-to-be-retired home run king Hank Aaron at the 1976 Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

After Phillies pitching great Robin Roberts and former Cleveland Indians star Bob Lemon–both of whom were elected to the Hall of Fame that year and were serving as the honorary all-star captains–handed over the ceremonial first baseballs, Ford stood with a grin on his face.

The starting all-star catchers, Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds and Thurman Munson of the New York Yankees, lined up.  Ford fired a right-handed strike to Bench and followed with a left-handed one to Munson. But the ambidextrous president–one month away from fending off Ronald Reagan at the Republican National Convention and four months shy of ceding the White House to Jimmy Carter–was not the only one with his hands full.

The 1976 Bicentennial sports calendar in Philadelphia was packed to honor the nation’s 200th anniversary.

In addition to baseball, America’s birthplace also hosted the NBA and NHL all-star games.  And in the year in which Congress posthumously promoted George Washington to the highest rank in United States military history, another man known as “The General” – 35-year-old Robert Montgomery Knight – guided Indiana to an 86-68 victory over Michigan in the NCAA men’s basketball championship game at the Spectrum, capping what still stands as the last undefeated season by the men’s Division I champion. The all-star games and the Final Four may have been the highlights, but there was a different event nearly every week of the nation’s 200th birthday year. The first page of the NBA all-star program welcomed fans to

“Philadelphia:  Hub of the Sports World in 1976” – a bold claim considering that Innsbruck and Montreal hosted the Winter and Summer Olympic Games, respectively, that year.  Unlike the quadrennial games, though, there was something unique about what Philadelphia did.


“This is the Bicentennial Year and never in the 200 year history of our country has there been a sports happening as there will be this year in Philadelphia,” the NBA program continued.


“There are more national sporting events scheduled for the city and its environs than any locale in history.”

While that proclamation is impossible to verify, the events that the program went on to list were extensive.  Beyond the major sports, the city played host to events as varied as the World Karate Games, the United States Badminton Championships, and the American Bicentennial Rodeo.  And, of course, it goes without saying that there could have been no better home for the 1976 World Darts Championship.  If only the City Tavern had sported a dartboard in 1776, surely Ben Franklin would have applied his natural organizing skills to start a league.

Eleven years from now, when our nation turns 250 years old, Philadelphia can again become the “Hub of the Sports World.”  

USA250 has started the planning.  At the Toast250 kickoff event on April 30, Phillies chairman David Montgomery announced that the Phillies are on board. They have already submitted their request to host the 2026 All-Star Game to the Major League Baseball commissioner’s office.


Citizens Bank Park is in its 12th year of operation and has never hosted the Midsummer Classic.  Montgomery confirmed that is on purpose.  While most baseball stadiums that have been constructed since 2000 have already hosted or are in line to host in the next few years, Montgomery said the Phillies “are being a little stubborn” and holding out for the 2026 game.

If the rest of the local sports scene follows the Phillies’ lead, the 2026 Philadelphia sports calendar can be even more impressive than the 1976 version. Will the NFL look to Philadelphia for a patriotic Super Bowl in the nation’s birthplace, or perhaps the NFL Draft? Philadelphia should certainly be considered a contender.  On a worldwide scale, there is speculation that the United States is the favorite to land the 2026 World Cup.  While games would be held throughout the country, Philadelphia should be at the top of any list of potential host cities.  

With the necessary facilities already in place and with appropriate planning, all of this is possible without incurring the financial calamities that so frequently befall Olympic host cities that spend billions on new facilities that sit empty and useless after the closing ceremony – a fate that Boston tried to avoid after the U.S. Olympic Committee named it as the nation’s candidate to host the 2024 Summer Games.

The Founding Fathers knew that the nation’s birthday would always be a cause for celebration – even if they could not conceive what that nation would look like after 250 years.  Writing to his wife, Abigail, from the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, John Adams thought that the anniversary of independence “ought to be solemnized with pomp, shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other, from this time forward forever.”

Philadelphia’s sports community met Adams’s expectation in 1976 and has the chance to do so again in 2026. Montgomery told the USA250 crowd that his wish is that every major sporting event in 2026 be held in Philadelphia.  The first steps have been taken.  Now we need to find out if the World Darts Championship has made any plans yet.

Rick Haggerty is an attorney at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and a former sports writer.

It starts now.

Thanks to Sam Katz for producing this introductory video to “get Greater Philadelphia ready” for America’s 250th. Katz is producing an ongoing documentary series, Philadelphia: The Great Experiment, including a look back at past national celebrations in 1876, 1926 and 1876. To watch the whole series, click here.

Calling Ed Bacon…

In addition to his role as father of America’s most-connected actor, Ed Bacon is remembered as a champion of urban planning as head of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission in the 1950s and 60s.

And so it is suitable that the annual design competition in Bacon’s name focused on a vision for a World’s Fair to be held in Philadelphia in 2026.

These student designs mark the very first ideas generated for USA250 in 2010. The winning project was called Confluence: Philadelphia 2026 and designed by a team from Cornell University.

The Cornell team sought a sustainable approach to building out the existing South Philadelphia stadium sites into a campus for an international exposition. Says Taylor, one of the team members:

“Placing urban development in Philadelphia under the framework of a ‘world exposition’ allows one to explore new ways of sustainable urban development. Especially, the project allowed us to attempt to research, analyze and provide solutions for some of the shortcomings of expositions and their aftermaths have experienced in the past.”

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