This is where it all happened – the Pennsylvania State House on Chestnut Street in Philadelphia, now called Independence Hall. It’s where delegates to the Second Continental Congress nominated George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army on June 14, 1775. It’s where they drafted, debated and adopted the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring the American colonies free and independent states.
The first Fourth of July celebration took place in Philadelphia in 1777. It included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks. Here are five facts about Independence Hall:
- The Declaration of Independence was read aloud to the public in the area outside now known as Independence Square.
- The hall still has the original inkstand used to sign the Declaration of Independence.
- Independence Hall is also the birthplace of the Constitution. The Constitutional Convention also took place here from May 25 to September 17, 1787. An original draft of the Constitution is on display.
- During the stifling hot and humid summer of 1787, delegates closed and draped windows and kept doors shut so discussions would be private and not overheard.
- The basement of Independence Hall was once used as Philadelphia’s city dog pound.
This 11-inch cast iron bank depicting Independence Hall was made by the Enterprise Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia for the Centennial Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. It sold at a recent RSL auction in New Jersey auction for $1,680. Find prices of other banks here and in Kovels' Antiques and Collectibles Price Guide 2014.
Have a happy and safe fourth of July!