Independence - Carpenter's Hall, Philadelphia
The "Lights of Liberty" sound and light show through the historic center of revolutionary Philadelphia is a unique treat. Join your guide who is dressed in colonial garb, for an evening tour through Philadelphia's most revered sites. The story of the revolution is told with pictures, speeches and music. Famous people tell the story as pictures are cast upon the historic facades. You can almost imagine that you are taking part. Note that the program is free to teachers!
The center has up-to-date information on museum exhibits, restaurants, hotels and other attractions. There is a gift shop and an outdoor cafe which is seasonal. Philly Phlash trolley tickets can be purchased here--a day long family pass is only $10!!!!!!!!!
The center opens daily at 8:30 am (closing at 5 pm) and some tour tickets can be purchased here. ** This is where FREE TICKETS to Independence Hall can be obtained.** Call 800-537-7676 for more information.
Independence Hall is the birthplace of not only the Declaration of Independence, but the American constitution as well. You'll see the room where representatives met at risk of death to form a country independent of British rule.
A draft of the historic Declaration of Independence and the actual inkstand used in the signing are displayed at the Hall. When you visit, you can see where each representative sat--the room just exudes history and drama!
There are free tickets at the Independence Visitor Center, but for $1.50 you can get a ticket that allows you to enter at a particular time which may help you avoid a long line. Independence Hall is open daily from 9 am-5 pm. Timed tickets are necessary Mar.-Dec.
Independence Hall is located at the far end of the Independence Mall, directly opposite from the National Constitution Center. It was in this building that the Continental Congress was held in 1778 by representatives of the orignal 13 states to decide on a form of unified federal government. At that time, right after the Revlolution had ended, each of the states were creating their own forms of government and even minting their own money. It had become evident that some unity was needed lest the 13 states would become 13 separate countries. It was out of this famous Congress that the US Constitution was born.
Independece Hall also served as a temporary "White House" as well as from where The US Congress operated until the buildings that are still in use in Washington DC were built.
You must go through a security checkpoint in order to enter the Hall and are allowed in by guided tour only, but admission is free to everyone.
Carpenters Hall, built in 1774, has been owned and operated by the oldest trade guild in America--the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia. The architecture is in the Georgian style.
This building has been the site of the First Continental Congress; formerly housed Benjamin Franklin's Library Company and was the location for the First and Second Banks of America. It is considered part of Independence Hall.
Hours are daily 10 am-4 pm (except Mondays); In January and February it is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. There is no charge.
If you are looking for something to do in Philadelphia and Old City you must come here first. They can customise tours for you and give you so much wonderful help, plus the visitors center has many displays and thing to do here. You will also find people dressed up in costumes of the Old Philadelphia times. This building is located accross from the Liberty Bell Center. Going here and talking with some one at the welcome counter can cut your wandering all over town trying to find thing, they will provide you with maps, tickets, what ever you need.
Free to the public, entry is only through the Liberty Bell pavilion, so you need to pass through security. This is a complex of buildings which are set closely together in Independence Park. The significance of them, is that they formed the first seat of US government while Washington DC was being built. Several important documents were created here, and it was here independence was declared.
The guides here are really good, almost at the level of historians themselves. However, not many historians can interact with children so proficiently.
When you go here, you will be given a tour of several buildings which will include not just the rooms, but also original documents, such as the Declaration of Independence and others. The rooms have been preserved or recreated to as close an approximation of how they would have looked in historical times as is possible.
Trivia: The last official act of the United States government in this building was to authorize the creation of the navy. I joined 205 years later.
Carpenter Company (the oldest trade guild in America, founded back in 1724!) still owns and maintain the Carpenter’s Hall.
It was built in 1770 in Georgian style by Robert Smith and used for various political sessions, the most famous of course was the first Continental Congress that met here in September of 1774.
This two story building was home to Franklin’s Library Company, The American Philosophical Society and the first and second Banks of the United States.
We liked the red brick all over the walls and took some nice pics but we were in a hurry so to catch up some more interesting sites in the city.
The entrance is free. It is open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00-16.00
Independence Hall (pic 1) is by far the most important building in American history. This is the place where the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written.
It was built in 1732 in Georgian style architecture, it’s not impressive in our days but this is an “old” building for the American history. This was the State House of the Province of Pennsylvania. The old man that was our guide in the building was very informative about the place and the facts that took place here.
I have to admit that there’s nothing really special to see here but it was interesting to be in the same room where the representatives met trying to form a new independent country.
There’s no entrance fee but you have to take the timed tickets from the Visitor’s Center and be at the security check 15’ before your tour starts. It’s open daily 9.00-17.00
As you can understand it’s not just an important building but the important moments that took place here. On our way out we saw a statue two blocks to the east (pic 5), it’s called The Signer and the sign reads:
The course of histoy changed with the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and the signing of the Constitution of the United States in 1787. Both events took place at Independence Hall. This 1980 sculpture commemorates the courage of those who affixed their names to these monumental documents
The main street of Philly is Market Street. Everything worth seeing in the downtown area (called "Center City" by residents) is either on this street or described in relation to it (ie, people will say, "It's just two blocks south of Market"). If I don't give a cross street, just think "Market." For instance, the Greyhound Bus Terminal is a half block north of Market.
Most buses stop around Tenth Street; trains and some buses stop at 30th Street. The latter is a HUGE railroad depot next to the Schuylkill (pronounced 'skoo-kill') River.
There is a place to store luggage at the train station, but NOT near the bus stop. If you don't want to haul your baggage on this day, stop at 30th Street Station.
If at 30th Street, follow the signs to the Market Frankford Subway Line (aka "Blue Line"). If at Tenth, get to Market and look for stairways down to this subway.
In either case, buy two tokens at the vending machines ($2.90, cash ONLY), then ride east, towards Frankford. Get off at Fifth Street, then enter the Visitor Center which is on the north side of the street. Get a free, timed ticket for a tour of Independence Hall, BY FAR the most important building in American history.
About 45 minutes before the start of your tour, go through the security check, at which you must give up any weapons, including knives. If you normally carry banned items, best to leave them with your checked luggage, as the guards will NOT store them for you. After this security check, you can get within a couple meters of the Liberty Bell. In its museum you will learn that it was completely irrelevent to the U.S.A. until about 1845. Then take your tour of the place where Americans wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
When done with this tour, you have several choices:
1) Art Museum.
2) other history exhibits and museums near Independence Hall.
3) a walk down to the South Philly neighborhoods.
(1) is my preference, but I recognize some people have no interest in an art museum. You can learn about (2) at the Visitor Center. (3) could be interesting if you prefer non-touristy visits to a city AND have no problem walking around a city that has some rough spots.
Where to get a cheese steak? Ask any two Philly residents, and you'll get a loud argument with lots of profanity. For an eight-hour visit, a trip down to Pat's or Geno's isn't worth the time or trouble. I do recommend that, while you're hear, you get a REAL cheesesteak, a pretzel from a street vendor, and (since this will be July) some water ice.
Construction of the Pennsylvania State House, which came to be known as Independence Hall, began in 1732, and wasn't finished until 1753. The building has undergone many restorations, with the latest in 1950 returning it to its 1776 appearance.
Independence Hall is, by every estimate, the birthplace of the United States. It was within its walls that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, the Articles of Confederation uniting the thirteen (13) colonies were ratified in 1781 and the Constitution setting out the nations's basic laws of the United States was debated, drafted and signed was adopted in 1787.
Visitors are admitted free of charge by tour only, with tours beginning in the East Wing. No reservations are accepted, and all tours are operated on a first come first served basis. All visitors need a free timed ticket for the Independence Hall tours from March through December. To speed things up a timed and dated ticket system is now in place for tours of Independence Hall.
There are two ways to obtain tickets:
1. On the day of your visit, you may get "walk-up" tickets at the Independence Visitor
2. Visitors can reserve tickets as early as twelve months before their visit through the reservation system operated by the Spherix Corporation in Cumberland, Maryland. Spherix operates the National Park Reservation System under contract to the National Park Service.
To contact Spherix for advance tickets:
Call 1-800-967-2283 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (Eastern Time). You may also go to the web site: http://reservations.nps.gov to reserve tickets. Individuals may reserve up to six tickets
We only had a few hours in Philadelphia on our way to New York City so our visit was limited to the historic area and in particular the guided tour of Independence Hall.
The tour commenced in the visitor Centre with a 28 minute film Independence, followed by our guide introducing himself and then taking us through the various rooms of Independence House. We enjoyed the tour and it was not an overkill of American history, just enough to keep my interest and when the tour finished to feel I had enjoyed my time in Independence Hall.
With little time remaining we quickly made our way to the Bourse for lunch before rejoining our coach.
Independence Hall is, by every estimate, the birthplace of the United States. It was within its walls that the Declaration of Independence was adopted. It was here that the Constitution of the United States was debated, drafted and signed. That document is the oldest federal constitution in existence and was framed by a convention of delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies. Rhode Island did not send a delegate. George Washington presided over the debate which ran from May to September 1787. The draft comprising a preamble and seven Articles, was submitted to all thirteen states and was to take effect when ratified by nine states. On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire, the ninth state, approved it and it became effective in March 1789.
Construction of the Pennsylvania State House, which came to be known as Independence Hall, began in 1732. It was a symbol of the nation to come. At the time it was the most ambitious public building in the thirteen colonies. The Provincial government paid for construction as they went along, so it was finished piecemeal. It wasn't until 1753, 21 years after the groundbreaking, before it was completed.
Some interesting facts:
* The basement once served as the city's
* The second floor was once home to
Charles Willson Peale's museum of
* Some historians note that Ben Franklin
would occasionally trip other delegates
from his aisle seat.
* George Washington, knowing that his
opinion would carry undue weight,
contributed little to the debate over the
* Even though the days were very hot in the
summer of 1787, windows were kept
closed so others could not overhear their
Timed tickets for Independence Hall tours are available free on the day of visit, or in advance by calling 1-800-967-2283 from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily (Eastern Time). Tickets can be reserved online at the web site http://reservations.nps.gov
Set back from Chestnut Street, Carpenters' Hall is one of the great treasures of historic Philadelphia. The Hall has been owned and operated by the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia, the oldest trade guild in America, since 1770.
Located in the hub of colonial and capital Philadelphia, the Carpenters often found themselves in the center of political activity. This building housed the seven-week session of the First Continental Congress that met in 1774. Why, one might ask, did they not meet at the State House (Independence Hall) just a block away? The State House was perceived to be a hive of Tory sympathizers. In fact, some members of the Royalist press even suggested that the necks of the Revolutionary insurgents "might be inconveniently lengthened" if they did not desist in their activities.
Architecturally, the building is in the form of a Greek cross. The pedimented doorway with Doric detail is gracious and welcoming. Three Palladian windows line the second floor under which is stone balustrades. The belt course (band separating the floors) is unusual in that it is outlined in wood instead of brick.
Today Carpenters' Hall is kept open free to the public. Over 150,000 visitors from around the world come each year to see this beautiful and historic building. Inside the Hall eight Windsor chairs used by members of the First Continental Congress are on display. Also displayed are early carpentry tools. Don't miss an opportunity to see a remarkable confluence of history and architecture.
The most historic building in the US, and one of the most historic in the world, this is the one thing that everyone should see first in Philadelphia. Here, on July 4, 1776, delegates from the thirteen American colonies met and signed the Declaration of Independence. Its eloquent words speak to all people, and will endure as long as humanity does.
In 1787, delegates met here again. This time, it was to create a new nation. When someone inquired of Benjamin Franklin what they were up to, he replied "A republic, if you can keep it." The Constitution, which they wrote here, has served us well. Ever since, it has served as a model for countries around the world. So far, we haven't done too badly with it.
The building itself is a fine example of 18th century Georgian-style architecture. In its day, it was one of the most elegant structures in America.
To visit, contact the toll-free number below or visit the web site to reserve a place on a tour. It's free, but there is a processing $1.50 fee.