Free Quaker Meeting House

Color photo showing wooden pews facing a rocking chair in the front of the room with a balcony above.
Here you can learn more about the "Free" Quakers who wished to serve the Society of Friends AND support the cause of independence.

NPS photo

Located on the corner of 5th and Arch Streets, the Free Quaker Meeting House is an 18th century structure with a story to tell about non-conformists, the intersection of religion and politics, and the power of community. Operating hours for the site vary by season; please consult this visiting information.

At the time of the American Revolution, a rift occurred among Pennsylvania's Quakers, or members of the Society of Friends. As pacifists, the Friends would not take up arms, pay war taxes, or take an oath of allegiance. A group calling themselves "Free" Quakers supported the the Revolution while the majority of Friends contended that there was no justifiable reason for going to war. The Free Quakers came together and established their own place of worship here in 1783, after having been disowned or "read out of meeting" by the mainstream Friends.

Thirty to fifty men and women, including Betsy Ross, regularly attended this meeting. After the war, differences among the Quakers diminished, and by the mid 1830s services stopped and the building no longer served as a place of worship.

Last updated: May 14, 2021

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106



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