...The said ground shall be enclosed and remain a public open green and walks forever.
Act of Pennsylvania Assembly 1735
The State House Yard, now known as Independence Square, was the scene of both turmoil and tranquility in the late 1700s.
On the eve of the American Revolution, Philadelphia citizens gathered here for mass meetings to protest British policies. As protests turned to war, soldiers drilled and drums echoed, disturbing the deliberations of the Continental Congress inside the State House. The most important result of those deliberations was the Declaration of Independence which was first read in public here in the State House Yard on July 8, 1776.
The scene was quite different when the Constitutional Convention convened in 1787. The sounds of war had faded and the courtyard had become a peaceful garden. Winding walkways, grassy mounds, and a rich variety of trees and bushes provided a tranquil setting for the founding of the new government.