This page highlighting the important history of Independence Hall is brought to you by Laffey, Bucci & Kent’s slip and fall attorneys in Center City Philly.Having served as both the building where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were written, Independence Hall in Philadelphia is the highlight and likely the most visited building in the historic Independence Park. Up next, we dive into the history of this building, a history which is inescapably interwoven with the history of the United States of America itself.
Back in 1753…
Construction on the building started in 1732. Built to be the Pennsylvania State House, the building originally housed all three branches of Pennsylvania’s colonial government. The Pennsylvania legislature loaned their Assembly Room out for the meetings of the Second Continental Congress and later, the Constitutional Convention.
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 single document is the oldest federal constitution in existence and was framed by a convention of delegates from 12 of the original 13 colonies.
In 1872, in anticipation of the centennial celebrations, the city of Philadelphia decreed: “Independence Photograph of Independence Hall in the late 19th centuryHall is hereby set apart forever, and appropriated exclusively to receive such furniture and equipments of the room as it originally contained in July 1776, together with the portraits of such men of the revolution as by their presence or action served to give the building its historic renown, and forever endear it to the hearts of patriots.” This decision led to yet another renovation of Independence Hall and, most importantly, “a restoration of the Hall to its original appearance.”
The Assembly Room
The Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were both signed in the Assembly Room. Later, it became a shrine to the founding of the nation, proudly displaying the Liberty Bell and original paintings of the Founding Fathers. That was the scene when President-elect Abraham Lincoln visited the Assembly Room and praised the ideals expressed in the Declaration of Independence. Following his assassination, Lincoln’s body lay in repose in the Assembly Room for two days. Visitors today can ponder their own role in the on-going experiment in self-government.
The Long Gallery
The Long Gallery on the second floor of Independence Hall served as a reception area for visitors meeting with Pennsylvania’s governor. It was also the scene of dinners and celebrations. During the British occupation of Philadelphia, the Long Gallery became a hospital for wounded American prisoners of war. Later visitors to this room marveled at Peale’s Museum, one of the earliest museums in America.
PA Supreme Court Courtroom
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania sat in this room in the 1700s. On the fateful July 8, 1776, an act of defiance occurred within its walls when a group of Pennsylvania militiamen stormed in and tore down British King George III’s coat of arms.
A hundred years later, visitors arrived to this room during the Centennial to experience the National Museum, a collection of artifacts celebrating the founding of the nation.
Council Chamber of the Governor
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Executive Council met in this room in the 18th century. Later use of the room includes U.S. District Court, the scene of fugitive slave trials in the 1850s. Displayed on the table today is the surveyor’s tool used by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon to determine the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.
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