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Independence National Historical Park

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Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

© Anna Fox via Flickr

Overview:

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

Independence Hall echoes these words. Nearby the old cracked Bell proclaims liberty. The spirit of Benjamin Franklin is alive in his adopted city. Become part of America's journey in discovering its past in this park.

History:

On July 4, 1776, church bells rang out over Philadelphia, signaling that the Declaration of Independence was approved and officially adopted by the Second Continental Congress.

The First Continental Congress had convened in Philadelphia nearly two years earlier to address a declaration of rights and grievances to King George III. By the time the Second Continental Congress had convened on May 10, 1775, the situation had grown worse. England done nothing to resolve the American complaints, and armed conflict had broken out at Lexington and Concord.

In June of 1776, Henry Lee of Virginia offered a resolution declaring that the colonies should be "free and independent states" and called for the establishment of foreign alliances and a plan of confederation. Congress appointed a committee to draft a statement to the world presenting the colonies' case for independence. The committee included John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York, and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson was chosen to write the first draft which was presented to the congress on June 28th. After various edits, a vote was taken late in the afternoon of July 4th. Of the 13 colonies, 9 voted in favor of the Declaration, 2 voted against it (Pennsylvania and South Carolina), Delaware was undecided, and New York abstained.

Although the signing of the Declaration was not completed until August, the 4th of July has been accepted as the official anniversary of U.S. independence. The first Independence Day celebration took place the on July 4th of 1777. By the early 1800s, the traditions of parades, pageants, patriotic speeches, and fireworks were established as the way to celebrate America's birthday. In 1941, it became a legal holiday and we have been celebrating it ever since.

When to Visit:

The Visitor Center is open 8:30 am-6 pm while Independence Hall is open Monday through Friday from 9am - 5pm and Saturday/Sunday from 9am - 6pm.

Getting There:

The Independence Visitor Center is located at the corner of 6th and Market Streets in Old City, Philadelphia. Philadelphia is a large city and street parking can be expensive and quite hard to find. It is best to park at the Independence Visitor Center underground parking garage, located on the east (left) side of 6th Street between Arch and Market Streets.

Taking public transportation, is always a great option. SEPTA (Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority)—Subway, trolley, and bus service throughout the city and area. The Market-Frankford subway line stops one block from the Independence Visitors' Center at 5th and Market Streets. Multiple bus routes run along Market Street as well.

Or use your GPS Navigation systems to find directions to the following park buildings:

  • Independence Visitor Center - 525 Market Street
  • Independence Hall - 520 Chestnut Street
  • Liberty Bell Center - 526 Market Street
  • Franklin Court - 314-321 Market Street
  • Carpenters' Hall - 320 Chestnut Street
  • City Tavern - 138 S. 2nd Street
  • 2nd Street Parking Garage - 137 S. 2nd Street
  • Park Headquarters - 143 S. 3rd Street

Fees/Permits:

Only the National Constitution Center charges admission. All other park sites are free. It should be noted that tickets are required for tours of Independence Hall (except in January and February)

During March-December, Independence Hall timed tour tickets are required. Independence Hall timed tour tickets for March through December can be reserved in advance, online and by phone. Tickets may be reserved up to one year in advance through the National Park Reservation website. There is a $1.50 per ticket surcharge charge when you order online or by phone. You may call the following number from 10am - 10 pm EST:

  • 1-877-444-6777 Individuals and families
  • Call 1-877-559-6777 Group sales
  • Call 1-518-885-3639 International Calls

Note, the Golden Eagle or National Park Pass does not cover this fee.

Things To Do:

Visitor Center: Located at 3rd and Walnut Street. You'll be able to watch the 28-minute film "Independence," obtain park maps (in 12 languages), or have park rangers answer your questions.

Independence Hall: The centerpiece of Independence National Historical Park is where both the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. Tours of Independence Hall are given approximately every 15 minutes throughout the day.

Liberty Bell: The Liberty Bell Center offers a video presentation and exhibits about the Liberty Bell, focusing on its origins and its modern day role as an international icon of freedom. Taped presentations about the history of the Liberty Bell are offered in a dozen languages for the convenience of foreign visitors.

Dolley Todd House: The 18th century period house is part of Independence National Historical Park, and daily tours are available by ticket from the park's visitor center. The tour also includes the Bishop White House.

Become a Junior Ranger: Stop by the information desk at the Independence Visitor Center and complete the publications to earn your free junior ranger badge. If you are visiting on Saturday or Sunday, junior ranger induction ceremonies are held at the Independence Visitor Center at 4:00pm.

Accommodations:

Try the Thomas Bond House and check out a listing of accommodations in the Philadelphia area online or call 215-925-6101.

Pets:

Pets are not permitted in any park buildings. Pets are permitted on park grounds providing they are leashed.

Areas of Interest Outside the Park:

Spanning over 55 acres on 20 city blocks within the historic district of the City of Philadelphia, the park preserves and interprets many of our country's most important resources associated with the establishment of our country. But located nearby are plenty of national sites to visit:

Contact Info:

By Mail:
Independence National Historical Park
143 South Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone:
Visitor Information
(215) 965-2305

Visitor Information
(215) 597-1785

Park Headquarters
(215) 597-8787

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