History runs deep throughout the state of Pennsylvania, but there’s one building in particular in the Keystone State that has had a greater role in starting our nation than any other.
Millions of people come to Independence Hall here in Old City each year. It’s commonly known as the birthplace of our country, but there’s so much more history that a lot of people don’t know about.
“We get people from all over the country and all over the world, ” says Luke Hopely, a Park Ranger with the National Park Service.
Every year, Hopely says millions of people walk into Independence Mall and go on a journey through American history.
“Say you would’ve asked George Washington or Benjamin Franklin what this building was called. They would have known it as the Pennsylvania State House. However since it was a grand structure and PA is very centrally located it became a natural meeting point for all these different colonies,” says Hopely.
Like it’s namesake, it’s inside Independence Hall where the founding fathers declared independence from Great Britain.
“In 1776, the second continental congress have a vote in this building that creates the united states of america.”
11 years later, the Constitutional Convention was held in Independence Hall.
And hopely says the words on the constitution, Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are three words that echo through american history.
“You will hear these words constantly pointed to by all different groups throughout American history who initially aren’t a part of those rights. The abolition movement, Frederick Douglass advocating against slavery and women’s suffrage movement.”
Across from independence hall is the independence mall. It’s an open area lined with surrounded by historic buildings and artifacts such as the liberty bell.
“It probably rang out to celebrate the first public reading of the declaration of independence. Eventually it cracks.”
You can still see that crack today and across from that is Congress Hall the oldest sanding capitol building in the country.
“A lot of the famous founding fathers would have worked in this structure and it is also where John adams was inaugurated to eb the second president of the United States.”
Hopely says he thinks everyone should visit independence park once. He thinks history is important because like they say those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it.
*Currently Independence Hall is closed due to COVID-19. The website states they are working to increase access to the park in a phased approach. Most outdoor areas are accessible. Public restrooms and all park buildings remain closed. Updates will be posted to the website and on social media @IndependenceNHP.