Independence Hall Tower Rehabilitation

Detail of Independence Hall's tower, with scaffolding covered by a decorative fabric scrim made to look like Independence Hall's tower.
The Friends of Independence provided funding for a decorative fabric to cover the scaffolding during the project. The fabric, called a scrim, displayed colored architectural drawings on the north and south sides of the tower so visitors could still experience the splendor of the tower during rehabilitation.

NPS photo

 

From 2010 to 2012, the tower underwent a 14 month rehabilitation project funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The work performed on the Strickland tower stopped, and corrected, the decay of the tower's exterior.

As originally designed and built, Independence Hall had no tower or steeple. These were added around 1750. The original wooden steeple had rotted by 1773 and was removed in 1781. In 1828, the city hired architect William Strickland to restore the original steeple. Strickland deviated from the original design, incorporating a clock and additional ornamentation. A recent restoration of the steeple revealed Strickland's modern engineering principles.

 
Two side-by-side photos showing the scaffolding around the clock tower. The left photo shows repairs being made, and the right photo shows finished repairs.
In the process of removing the tower’s exterior, workers exposed the structural framing for the first time since the wood portion was added in 1828. The image on the right shows the tower following repairs.

NPS photos

 

Workers repointed and replaced damaged brick masonry, and restored and painted window sashes, frames, and doors. Carpentry repairs included painting and caulking on all exposed wood decorative elements over the full height of the tower. This project also required reinforcing the new clock faces, bracing all building elevations, refurbishing the historic urns, and replacing the supporting weathervane structures.

Take a virtual tour through the tower and steeple prior to renovations, and see the park's photo gallery for more images relating to this project.

Last updated: September 10, 2016

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143 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Phone:

(215) 965-2305

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