News Release

The Great American Outdoors Act deposits $22 million in the First Bank of the United States

A building with marble facade with six columns and steps leading to front door. A large carved eagle is on the the building's triangular pediment above the columns, the display of an enormous eagle "seals the deal" as a representation of America's power.
The First Bank of the United States

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News Release Date: July 10, 2023

Contact: Andrew McDougall, 215-435-4372

PHILADELPHIA – The First Bank of the United States is receiving a $22.2 million investment from the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) Legacy Restoration Fund. The iconic building in Independence National Historical Park will undergo an extensive rehabilitation in advance of the 250th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence in 2026. Built between 1795-97 when Philadelphia served as the nation’s capital, the bank was the first building designed specifically for the new federal government.   

“Rehabilitating the First Bank will meet a long-held goal for the park,” said acting Superintendent Amnesty Kochanowski. “This national historic landmark was acquired in 1956 when the park was established but has been closed to the public for most of the park’s history. The restoration of the renowned building gives the park the opportunity to showcase aspects of the economy of the early republic and the role of the controversial national bank. I am thrilled to see this project truly underway.”    

The exterior work funded by GAOA will include the replacement of leaking metal roofing, flashings, hatches, and louvers. Marble and brick masonry will be stabilized, cleaned, and repaired. The interior renovations will correct moisture incursion problems, repair damage to walls, replace an elevator, update the electrical and HVAC systems, and add accessible restrooms and a fire suppression system. A new addition will serve as the main visitor entrance. The work will be performed by the Bedwell Company of West Chester, Penn., a small, local contractor.

GAOA’s National Parks and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund is part of a concerted effort to address the extensive maintenance backlog in national parks. Supported by revenue from energy development, the fund provides up to $1.3 billion per year for five years to the National Park Service to make significant enhancements in national parks to ensure their preservation and provide opportunities for recreation, education, and enjoyment for current and future visitors.  

The Independence Historical Trust, the park's philanthropic partner, is supplementing the restoration work funded by GAOA. Thus far, they have raised $4.5 million for essential architectural and construction documents and for the design, fabrication and installation of state-of-the-art interactive and immersive exhibits once the building rehabilitation is complete.   

“The trust is proud to help renovate the First Bank and create a museum about the early American economy and the realization of Alexander Hamilton’s vision for an economically unified nation,” said volunteer Executive Director Tom Caramanico. “We are committed to completing the fundraising goal of $5 million and confident that donors will be further motivated by the commencement of the building's restoration.” 
The upcoming semi quincentennial is expected to increase interest in the places, people, and stories associated with Independence National Historical Park. The renovated First Bank of the United States and its exhibits will provide additional insight to the watershed events of 1776 and the establishment of a new nation. 

Celebrating 75 years: Our history is America's history. 
A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created 75 years ago 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. Events, programs and special exhibits which celebrate our 75th Anniversary will be held throughout the year. For more information on our 75th Anniversary events, visit the park’s website, or follow us on social media by searching @IndependenceNHP. 

Last updated: July 9, 2023

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