Independence Hall

THE SPOT

Independence Hall

WHY BIG SIL DIGS IT

The basement once served as the city’s dog pound in 1830.

A NUGGET OF HISTORY

Independence Hall was originally the Pennsylvania State House located on the outskirts of Philadelphia. It was the scene of some of the most important events in American history. In May 1775, patriots met as the Second Continental Congress in the Hall and chose George Washington as the Commander in chief of the Continental Army. On July 4, 1776, John Hancock signed the Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell proclaimed the news on July 8 from the tower of the Hall.

One of the east rooms is where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were agreed upon. Independence Hall evolved from a workplace of government to a treasured shrine, tourist attraction, and World Heritage Site. Its history encompasses more than 275 years of struggles for freedom and public participation in creating, preserving, and debating the founding principles of the United States.

Over the years, many rallies and demonstrations for the abolition of slavery, women’s rights, Vietnam War and civil rights were held outside Independence Hall .

Today: You will see surviving copies of the following documents:

It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This Georgian style building, built 1732-1753, was designed by Alexander Hamilton and Edmund Wooley. While the shell of the central portion of the building is original, the side wings, steeple and much of the interior are reconstructions.

Visit It:

Chestnut Street between 5th & 6th Streets Philadelphia, PA

Tours of Independence Hall are organized by means of timed tickets. You can get free tickets at the Independence Visitor Center on the day of your visit, or reserve them in advance for $1.50 per ticket. Tickets can be purchased on line or by phone: 877-444-6777

The Full Scoop

1729

Pennsylvania Assembly decides to build a “house for the Assembly to meet in.”

 

1732-1751

Construction of State House. Assembly Speaker Andrew Hamilton led the committee to select the site and is credited with the building’s design, which closely resembled architectural pattern-book plans for English country houses. It took over 20 years to build because of lack of money.

 

1751-1753

Tower and wooden steeple added.  The Liberty Bell – with inscription “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof”, was ordered (1751) and hung in the steeple (1753).

 

1773

Ringing of the Liberty Bell was suspended due to the rotting of wooden steeple.  The steeple was then demolished in 1781 and the Liberty Bell was installed in a brick tower in 1828.

 

1776

Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston were appointed to a committee to draft a “declaration of independence”.

Congress adopted and printed the Declaration of Independence on a bright, sunny July 4th Philadelphia morning.

 

1777

The Continental Congress adopted the Articles of Confederation, the first constitution of the United States, on November 15, 1777. However, ratification of the Articles of Confederation by all thirteen states took some time and did not officially occur until March 1, 1781.

 

1787

The Articles of Confederation created a nation of pre-existing states rather than a government over individuals, so from May 25 to September 17, 1787 delegates from the states gathered together for the Constitutional Convention.  Originally intended to revise the Articles of Confederation, the fruit of the convention was instead The United States Constitution.

The Constitution is the most extensive documentation of the powers of government and the rights of the people that the world had ever witnessed.

 

1896-1898

Independence Hall’s second floor and exterior arcades were restored.

 

1920

The ratification of Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the vote, was celebrated in Independence Square.

 

1942

The Independence Hall Association was founded.  National Freedom Day was initiated to commemorate the Thirteenth Amendment (1865), which ended slavery in the United States.

 

1948

Congress authorizes Independence National Historical Park, which transformed an aging commercial district into a series of plazas and landscaped squares and enhanced Philadelphia as a tourist destination. Its purpose was “preserving historic structures and properties associated with the American Revolution and the founding and growth of the United States.”

 

1950

The National Park Service began extensive restoration of Independence hall.

 

1976

A new Independence Visitor Center was built for the Bicentennial of Declaration of Independence. The Liberty Bell was moved to separate pavilion.

 

1987

The Constitution Bicentennial was celebrated with a Congress meeting at Independence Hall. Former Chief Justice Warren Burger spoke.

 

 

Today

The historic Independence Hall remains one of the buildings at Independence National Historical Park, “America’s most historic square mile”.   This 18th century brick building with its many windows and wooden steeple is a tribute to the artisans and men who built it.  In this building you have an overview of over 200 years of historical events that took place from the birth of our nation to today.

The Liberty Bell Center and Constitution Center as well as many other historical buildings are also within walking distance of Independence Hall.