When the bald eagle was proposed to serve as the national bird of the United States, Benjamin Franklin famously disliked the idea, writing in defense of the turkey instead. He believed that the bald eagle was “a bird of bad moral Character.” However, there was one special bald eagle whose character stood in direct contrast to Franklin’s rather harsh judgment, and his name… was Peter.

Formally dubbed Peter Jefferson, this docile eagle became a notable city figure during the early to mid-1800s. For over 50 years, he made the Philadelphia Mint his home, bringing joy to both visitors and employees of the mint alike. Despite being an eagle, Peter was remarkably tame. During the day, the beloved bird would roam freely indoors, even perching on the coin presses. The workers at the mint grew fond of Peter, even considering him an exceptional employee. Every night, he would venture out to roam the skies of Philadelphia, but always returned by the morning to greet the mint’s workers clocking in for the day.

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Last Update: 07/02/2024