For 75 years, Independence National Historical Park has preserved and interpreted the buildings, grounds, and museum collections of outstanding national significance associated with the American Revolution and growth of the country.
A National Park in Philadelphia
Signed into law by President Harry S. Truman on June 28, 1948, Independence National Historical Park covers over 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the nation. The park's crown jewel, Independence Hall, is universally regarded as the birthplace of the United States. The creation of the park had a tremendous impact on the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood and continues to drive the tourism industry in the city.
An Enduring Legacy
Independence National Historical Park is many things to many people. For many, it is a national shrine—a place to remind oneself of the ideals that formed the basis for the creation of the United States. While visiting the park, we are reminded that the formation of this nation was the work of imperfect people, who transcended their faults and created an enduring democracy and a model for free people everywhere. Independence National Historical Park is a place of reflection and of protest. It is a place where people can peacefully assemble to redress grievances, petition leaders, and call for a more inclusive vision of a nation than originally intended by the founders.
The Park at a Glance
As an urban park, Independence National Historical Park is a green oasis in the middle of a busy city. It serves as a steward to some of Philadelphia's greatest outdoor public spaces:
Independence Mall runs between 5th and 6th Streets and from Chestnut to Race Streets. It provides spaces for buildings such as the Liberty Bell Center, Independence Visitor Center, and the National Constitution Center. Independence Mall also includes the open-air museum, the President's House Site, which highlights the paradox of slavery and freedom in the new nation. The house was demolished in 1832, but remnants of the original cellar are still visible. The site contains a memorial dedicated to the enslaved who lived and worked here during President George Washington's administration.
The block now known as Independence Square has always included walks and green spaces for public enjoyment. The block was last redesigned in 1915 and is designated an historic landscape.
Washington Square is one of the original squares in the 1682 plan for the City of Philadelphia as designed for William Penn. It became a potter's field in 1706 and served as a burial ground for many of the town's free and enslaved Black population. During the Revolutionary War it doubled as a military cemetery. More than 2,000 soldiers, both British and American, are interred in Washington Square alongside the anonymous soldier who rests in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the American Revolution.
Franklin Court contains an outdoor archeology exhibit of the foundations where Benjamin Franklin's house originally stood. Franklin Court also includes the interactive Benjamin Franklin Museum and the Franklin Court Printing Office.
Welcome Park, a lesser-known area within Independence National Historical Park, provides visitors with an overview of the city layout and a brief history of William Penn. Plans are underway to redesign the area to incorporate the stories of the Lenni-Lenape and other native people who resided in the area for thousands of years prior to European settlement.
The park's greatest resource has always been the people who work as gardeners, museum curators, park rangers, law enforcement officers, painters, mechanics, and the park's administrative teams. They are a skilled workforce who believe in the National Park Service mission and take pride in their role as stewards.