Independence Hall is the centerpiece of Philadelphia’s National Historic Park. The building was constructed in 1753 and was designed to serve as the home for the colonial legislature. Later, it became the Pennsylvania State House (at least until 1799 when it moved to Lancaster). Between 1775 and 1783, this was the principle meeting place for the Second Continental Congress and site of the Constitutional Convention during the summer of 1787. During the Second Continental Congress, George Washington was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and Benjamin Franklin as the first Postmaster General. America’s Declartion of Independence was approved in this building on July 4, 1776 and read aloud to the public in the area that became known as “Independence Square.” Congress continued to meet in this building until December of 1776 after which they evacuated the city because of pending British occupation. In the interim, congress met in Baltimore, Maryland until their return to Philadelphia in March of 1777. By September of that year, they had to evacuate again because of a second British occupation. They finally returned to Philadelphia in July of 1778. During 1915, I n this building, former U.S. President, William Howard Taft, first announced the creation of the League to Enforce Peace. This organization led to the creation of the League of Nations and, eventually, the United Nations. The Liberty Bell at first hung on a tree behind Independence Hall before making its way to the lower chamber of the original wooden steeple. Today, Independence Hall is featured on the back of the U.S. one hundred dollar bill.
Independence Hall not only serves as the centerpiece of Philadelphia’s Independence National Historic Park, but also as a symbol of America’s creation.
From December of 1790 until May of 1800, the U.S. Congress met in another building on the complex (now known as Congress Hall). Here, three new states (Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee) were admitted to the Union, and the Inaugurations of George Washington (his second) and John Adams were held.
Also located on the property is Philosophical Hall (built between 1786 and 1789), home of the oldest “...learned society” in America, The American Philosophical Society. The society was originally founded in1743 by Benjamin Franklin