With Independence Day coming up this weekend, I thought I would share a few interesting tidbits about the place where it all began.
The Pennsylvania State House, now known as Independence Hall is where America's freedom was born. The vital debates, the drafting of the documents, and ultimately the vote of in favor of independence took place in this historic building. Independence Hall is now listed a World Heritage site.
The Pennsylvania State House was undertaken in the spring of 1729 with a budget of 2,000 pounds, but it took until October of 1730 for them to begin purchasing lots on Chestnut Street. Andrew Hamilton was intricately involved in the site selection and construction of the building.
Andrew Hamilton and Dr. John Kearsley were the two men charged with the design of the building, but they could not agree on a design. Kearsley had designed other well known structures such as Christ Church and St. Peter's Church, so he was just sure his design was best. Hamilton didn't agree. The disputes escalated to the point that they brought their disagreement before the House of Representatives in 1732. The state house accepted Hamilton's design and location, and granted him full control of the project. Hamilton didn't waste any time. He broke ground on the project shortly after, but it took until 1753 to complete the project.
CC Photo Credit: Antoine Taveneaux
Hamilton designed the structure in the Georgian style. It is a beautiful red brick building with a bell tower and steeple. The highest point of the steeple is almost 170 feet high.
The Pennsylvania State House was the principle meeting place of the Second Continental Congress between 1775 thru 1783. Most of the meetings took place in the Assembly Hall, which was on the main level, but many of the committees met in the upstairs rooms, or the Supreme Court room across from the Assembly Hall.
Independence Hall has been honored on a US postage stamp, as well as on the half-dollar coin.