AMP | Kids is proud to announce an ongoing partnership with The Mini Page, now in its 50th year of providing engaging and fun learning opportunities to young readers across the country. This feature was originally syndicated in newspapers the week of June 29 – July 5, 2019. It is distributed digitally here with permission from Andrews McMeel Syndication. Enjoy and share with the young learners in your life!
Independence Hall in Philadelphia is often called the birthplace of our country. This famous building, which was built between 1732 and 1751 to be the Pennsylvania State House, is in very good shape after standing for more than 260 years.
Many important events happened there, including:
- The Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776.
- The Constitution, a plan for governing our country, was adopted in 1787.
Today, this site is a National Historical Park managed by the National Park Service. In honor of Independence Day on July 4, let’s visit Independence Hall.
A historic building
Independence Hall is a two-story building with a tower and cellar. It has two wings. Visitors enter in the East Wing. An exhibit displays copies of the first printed Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
The Pennsylvania legislature loaned its Assembly Room to the Second Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention. It is where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.
The Rising Sun chair
When George Washington served as president of the convention to write the Constitution, he sat in a chair at the front of the Assembly Room. A sun design was on the back of the chair. (You can see the chair behind George Washington in the painting above.)
At the close of the convention, Ben Franklin made a remark about that design, which he had often wondered about.
“I have often looked at that design on the chair behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting. But now, at length, I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.”
Ben Franklin meant that he expected that the Constitution written by the convention would last and last.
The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell was originally made to hang in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House. It was made in 1752 by a British Foundry.
When the bell arrived in Philadelphia, officials mounted it on a stand to test the sound, but the rim of the bell cracked when it was first struck. Two local metal casters, John Pass and John Stow, melted the original bell down and made a new bell, which was ready in 1753. However, the sound of the new bell was not good. Pass and Stow again removed the bell and recast it, and three months later it was hung in the steeple.
Almost a century later, in the 1840s, a narrow crack developed in the bell. Metal workers tried to repair it, but another crack appeared, and it has not been rung since.
Today, the bell hangs in the Liberty Bell Center near Independence Hall.
On the Web:
At the library:
- Exploring Independence Hall by Emma Huddleston