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Philadelphia - Old City: Carpenters' Hall | by wallyg
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Philadelphia - Old City: Carpenters' Hall

Carpenters' Hall, at 320 Chestnut Street, was designed by architect Robert Smith and built by the Carpenters' Company between 1770-1773. The Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia, founded in 1724, is the oldest extant trade guild in the United States. The four-story Georgian-style brick building, set back from the street, was first used as a meeting site by the guild on January 21, 1771. Outside of the 2-year British occupation of Philadelphia, they have held their meetings in the hall ever since.


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 was being used by the 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. Over the course of three nights in 1775, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and Francis Daymon met here with French emissary Julien Achard de Bonvouloir to negotiate French support. During the Revolutionary War, the hall served as a hospital for both British and American troops.


Over the years, Carpenters' Hall was occupied by the Library Company of Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, Bank of North America, First Bank of the United States, Bank of Pennsylvania, Second Bank of the United States, and Franlin Institute. It during the Bank of Pennsylvania's residency that, on September 2, 1798, America's first bank robbery took place. Carpenters' Company member, Isaac Davis, with the help of porter Thomas Cunningham, robbed $162,821.61 from the Bank in the midst of the yellow fever epidemic.


Independence National Historical Park preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution. Administered by the National Park Service, the 45-acre park was authorized in 1948, and established on July 4, 1956.


National Register #70000552 (1970)

Independence National Park Historic District National Register #66000675 (1966)

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Taken on June 1, 2008