Celebrate Founders Day with a Special Tour of Washington Square

Release Date: August 20, 2012
Contacts: Jane Cowley, e-mail us, 215-597-0060

Independence NHP Celebrates the 96th Anniversary of the National Park Service

Philadelphia - Independence National Historical Park will celebrate the 96th birthday of the National Park Service with a variety of programs, including a special walking tour of Washington Square, on August 25. Members of the public and media are invited to join a preview of the Washington Square program on August 23 at 10:00 a.m. The preview event will include remarks from Deputy Superintendent BJ Dunn and Steve Weixler, President of the Society Hill Civic Association, as well as a walking tour that brings to life the history of the square and the two historic guard boxes. The program will include a costumed African American Revolutionary War Soldier and a National Park Ranger.

Independence NHP will offer a variety of programs and tours on August 25 in honor of the 96th Birthday of the National Park Service, including another chance for visitors to take the Washington Square tour. A full list of activities is available at https://www.nps.gov/inde.

"Birthdays are a time to celebrate and we invite all of our visitors to join one of the many programs we will offer on August 25," said Independence NHP Deputy Superintendent Dunn. "National parks belong to all Americans and offer something for everyone - so visit the park, take in the beauty of our historic buildings and artifacts, or watch a living history demonstration."

The Washington Square event will highlight the recent rehabilitation of one of the Washington Square Guard boxes, which was completed by the Fairmount Park Historic Preservation Trust through a partnership between the Trust, the National Park Service, and the Society Hill Civic Association. The project included structural repairs and replacement, rehabilitation of the tongue and groove moldings and woodwork, and door and window rehabilitation, retaining as much of the original joinery as possible and using new or salvaged material to match the original profile.

One of five original squares in the 1682 plan for William Penn's city, Washington Square was named in honor of George Washington in 1825. The square has, over its lifetime, served as a potter's field, Revolutionary War burial ground, pasture, market place, site of congregation and burial for free and enslaved Africans. It is a public square, a commemorative landscape and an urban park. A statue of Washington marks the site of the memorial tomb, reminding visitors of the words of President Washington, still inspirational today: "The independence and liberty you possess are the work of joint councils and joint efforts - of common dangers, sufferings, and success."

Washington Square has been part of the National Park Service since 2005. The National Park Service was established on August 25, 1916. The United States was the first country in the world to set aside its most significant places as national parks so that they could be enjoyed by all. Today, we care for 397 national parks throughout the country - each one an important part of our collective identity. Some parks commemorate notable people and achievements, others conserve magnificent landscapes and natural wonders, and all provide a place to have fun and learn something.

The mission of the National Park Service extends beyond parks into communities across the country where we work with partners to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities that revitalize neighborhoods and enhance the quality of life. To see what we do here in Pennsylvania, go to www.nps.gov/PA.


A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets. Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall. For more information visit the park's website, https://www.nps.gov/inde or follow us at www.facebook.com/independencenhp or on twitter @independencenhp.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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