No stranger ever comes to Philadelphia without paying a visit to this structure, and no public edifice exists among us, which is cherished so warmly in the feelings of the citizens.
Views of Philadelphia, 1838
The building in front of you was built between 1732 and 1756 as the State House of the Colony of Pennsylvania. Today it is known as Independence Hall, an international symbol of government by the people.
Two great documents took shape here. The Declaration of Independence, adopted by the Continental Congress on July 4, 1776, set forth the founding principles of the new nation. Eleven years later, in 1787, these principles were embodied in the United States Constitution, now the oldest written constitution in the world.
Interest in the preservation of Independence Hall as a symbol of American ideals has grown. In 1816 Philadelphian saved the old State House from impending demolition. In 1948 the U.S. Congress made this building the centerpiece of a new National Historical Park. Finally, in 1980, Independence Hall was designated a World Heritage Site.