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Carpenters' Hall
U.S. National Register of Historic Places
U.S. National Historic Landmark
Carpenters' Hall north (front) façade
Location: 320 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Built/Founded: 1770
Architect: Smith, Robert
Architectural style(s): Georgian
Governing body: Private
Added to NRHP: April 15, 1970[1]
Designated NHL: April 15, 1970[2]
NRHP Reference#: 70000552

Carpenters' Hall is a two-story brick building in the Center City neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, that was a key meeting place in the early history of the United States. Completed in 1773 and set back from Chestnut Street, the meeting hall was built for and is still owned by the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, the country's oldest extant trade guild. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places on 15 April 1970 (# 70000552)[3] and part of Independence National Historical Park.

Within these Walls Henry, Hancock, & Adams inspired the Delegates of the Colonies With Verve and Sinew for the Toils of War

—Inscription over south doorway of Assembly Room, Historic American Buildings Survey [4]


Carpenters' Hall was designed by architect Robert Smith (1722-1777) in the Georgian style[5] and built as a two-story brick building between 1770 and 1773 by the Carpenters' Company. It would be first used as a meeting site by the guild on January 21, 1771, and would continue to hold annual meetings there until 1777 when the British would capture Philadelphia.[6] On April 23, 1773 (St. George's Day), it would be used by the Society of Englishmen and Sons of Englishmen.[6]

The First Continental Congress of the United Colonies of North America met here from September 5 to October 26, 1774, since the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) was being used by the moderate Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania. It was here that Congress resolved to ban further imports of slaves and to discontinue the slave trade within the colonies, a step toward phasing out slavery in British North America.[7] The building has a long history as an assembly place and has been the home to numerous tenants in the arts, sciences and commerce. The meeting hall served as a hospital for both British and American troops in the Revolutionary War, and other institutions in Philadelphia have held meetings in Carpenters' Hall, including Franklin's Library Company of Philadelphia, the American Philosophical Society, the First and Second Banks of the United States.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1970.[2][8]

Numerous dignitaries have visited Carpenters' Hall, including United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren Burger, King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, President Václav Havel of the Czech Republic, President Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia, and Texas Governor (later U.S. President) George W. Bush with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge.[6]

Today, Carpenters' Hall is free to the public, visited annually by more than 150,000 tourists from around the world.[9] The structure still serves the purpose for which it was built: a meeting place for the Carpenters' Company.

Elevations plans and details by C. L. Hillman and John McClintlock ca. 1898 HABS PA,51-PHILA,229-8.jpg
Carpenters' Company frontispiece HABS PA,51-PHILA,229D-2.jpg


External links

Coordinates: 39°56′53″N 75°08′50″W / 39.94814°N 75.14722°W / 39.94814; -75.14722



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