History runs deep throughout the state of Pennsylvania, but there’s one building in particular in the Keystone State that has had a greater role in starting our nation than any other.
Millions of people go to Independence Hall in Old City each year. It’s commonly known as the birthplace of our country, but there’s so much more history that a lot of people don’t know about.
“We get people from all over the country and all over the world, ” says Luke Hopely. He is a Park Ranger with the National Park Service.
Every year, Hopely says millions of people walk into Independence Mall and go on a journey through American history.
“Say you would’ve asked George Washington or Benjamin Franklin what this building was called. They would have known it as the Pennsylvania State House.
However, since it was a grand structure and PA is very centrally located it became a natural meeting point for all these different colonies,” says Hopely.
Like its namesake, it’s inside Independence Hall where the founding fathers declared independence from Great Britain.
“In 1776, the Second Continental Congress had a vote in this building that creates the United States of America.”
Eleven years later, the Constitutional Convention was held in Independence Hall. Hopely says the words on the Declaration of Independence, Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are three words that echo through American history.
“You will hear these words constantly pointed to by all different groups throughout American history who initially aren’t a part of those rights,” said Hopely.
Across from Independence Hall is the Independence mall. It’s an open area lined with historic buildings and artifacts such as the Liberty Bell.
“It probably rang out to celebrate the first public reading of the declaration of independence. Eventually it cracks.”
You can still see that crack today and across from that is Congress Hall the oldest sanding capitol building in the country.
Hopely says he thinks everyone should visit Independence Park once. He thinks history is important because like they say those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it.