Independence National Historical Park | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Independence National Historical Park

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

Peta Stamper

04 May 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Independence National Historical Park

Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is home to a plethora of significant national landmarks in the US. From Independence Hall which was the site where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were signed and Congress Hall, seat of Congress from 1790 to 1800, to the home of Benjamin Franklin, Independence Park offers visitors in-depth insight into the founding of the United States of America.

Independence National Historical Park is spread over 55 acres within the City of Philadelphia and offers visitors a variety of ranger-guided walking tours as well as various indoor and outdoor activities.

Independence National Historical Park history

After the Boston Tea Party as the British Crown punished the Americans with the Intolerable Acts, the First Continental Congress met at carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia between September and October 1774. The meeting organised a pact among the colonies to boycott British goods starting in December that year.

On May 10, 1775, the Second Continental Congress met at the Pennsylvania State House after the Battles of Lexington and Concord marked the start of the American Revolutionary War. Congress soon after adopted the Olive Branch Petition in July 1775, affirming American loyalty to King George and asking him to prevent further conflict. However, the petition was rejected and the king formally declared the colonies to be in rebellion.

In February of 1776, the revolutionaries discovered the British had established a blockade of American ports and declared all American ships to be enemies. Each colony had to declare their vote for independence and thus, war with Britain.

From 1790, the President George Washington established a capital along the Potomac River in Philadelphia, and Congress Hall served as the seat of the United State Congress. The President’s House served as official working and living place of George Washington and John Adams, and the Supreme Court met at the Old City Hall.

It was not until 1915 that there was a proposal for some form of park around Independence Hall. The idea of a park became popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and World War Two heightened patriotism and the urge to protect national monuments. In June 1948, Congress authorised the creation of Independence National Historical Park.

Independence National Historical Park today

Today, the Independence National Historical Park is home to a mammoth wealth of American Revolutionary locations. Sites to visit include: Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the historic house museum of Benjamin Franklin and the open-air site of President’s House, which details room by room how the house functioned and from the President to household slaves.

For free you can enjoy a tour of Independence Hall, where the meeting places of the early American independent government have been recreated. Beyond touring these fantastically preserved buildings, you can pause along your historical journey in either Washington Square or the Magnolia Garden.

Getting to Independence National Historical Park

Stretching across several blocks of central Philadelphia, the easiest way to reach Independence National Historical Park is via public transport. Ride the MFL to 5th St Independence Hall Station. Otherwise, buses 17, 33, 38 and 57 all stop within the park.

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