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Independence Hall

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)


Independence Hall is considered the birthplace of the United States. It was here that both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed. It served as the first capitol building for the United States but was originally built to serve as the state house for Pennsylvania. It is a part of Independence National Historical Park which also includes the Liberty Bell Center and the Benjamin Franklin Museum, along with a visitors center that includes theaters, exhibits, and a gift shop. Independence National Historical Park is a great place to spend a day learning all about the roots of American history. Admission is by tour only.

In the Assembly Room, visitors can witness the very place where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed
From 1790 to 1800 Philadelphia was the Capital of the United States.
Independence Hall as viewed from the South entrance. Wikimedia Commons.
This painting, entitled The Congress Voting Independence, circa 1780s-1790s, was used as a reference for restoring the Assembly Room to its early American appearance. Courtesy of ExplorePAHistory and Atwater Kent Museum.


"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal..."

Construction on Independence Hall began in 1732, originally designed to be the Pennsylvania State House and house all three branches of its colonial government; the legislative, the judicial, and the executive branches. During the Second Continental Congress, which later became the Constitutional Convention, the state of Pennsylvania loaned out their assembly room for the convention to meet.  It was there at Independence Hall in 1776 that George Washington was named Commander in Chief of the Continental Army.  In 1781, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in Independence Hall. And in 1787, our founding fathers and statesmen from the newly independent country signed the U.S. Constitution, the same constitution that is in place today.  The living document has been amended but the ideals of the founding fathers still live on.  

In Independence Hall, visitors can explore the building by taking a guided tour.  The guided tour takes the visitors through a number of rooms that are set up in the way that they would have appeared during the Revolution. The Assembly Room, which is the most famous, visitors can see the exact room where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed. Across the hall from the Assembly Room is the Courtroom of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.  

The second floor of the building houses the Long Gallery, Governor's Council Chamber, and the Committee of the Assembly Chamber. The Long Gallery originally served as a reception area for visitors waiting to see the Governor. It also was the host of parties and dinners hosted by the Governor.  During the British occupation, the Long Gallery was used as a hospital to care for wounded American prisoners of war. The Governor's Council Chamber was where Pennsylvania's Supreme Executive Council met during the 1700's. The Committee of the Assembly Chamber was used as a room for meetings and military storage during the 1700's and was the office of the U.S. Marshal during the 1800's. 


National Park Service. "History and Culture." Independence National Historical Park. Accessed December 2017.

Toogood, Anne C. "Independence Hall." National Parks Service - National Register of Historic Places.

520 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Phone Number
(215) 965-2305
Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Extended hours in summer- until 7 p.m. from June 28 - September 1.
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Political and Diplomatic History
User Created Tours That Include This Entry
This location was created on 2013-11-19 by Melissa Canfield .   It was last updated on 2018-01-21 by Ben M. .

This entry has been viewed 3641 times within the past year


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