National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center is a nonprofit, nonpartisan institution devoted to the United States Constitution. On Independence Mall in Philadelphia, the center is an interactive museum and a national town hall for constitutional dialogue, hosting government leaders, journalists and celebrities for public discussions; the center houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which offers civic learning resources onsite and online. It does not house the original Constitution, stored at the National Archives Building in Washington, D. C; the groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 17, 2000, the 213th anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. The center opened on July 4, 2003, joining other historic sites and attractions in what has been called "America's most historic square mile" because of its proximity to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell; the center was created by the Constitution Heritage Act. Approved on September 16, 1988 and signed by President Ronald Reagan, the act defined the National Constitution Center as "within or in close proximity to the Independence National Historical Park.
The Center shall disseminate information about the United States Constitution on a non-partisan basis in order to increase the awareness and understanding of the Constitution among the American people." The center is at 525 Arch Street, an address chosen because May 25 was the date that the Constitutional Convention began in Philadelphia. The architectural firm of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners designed the center, Leslie E. Robertson Associates were the structural engineers for the project. Witold Rybczynski of The New York Times wrote, "Quiet but assertive, respectful of its surroundings, considerate of its public, this building is destined to take its place among the nation's leading public monuments."Ralph Appelbaum Associates designed the center's visitor experience and exhibition hall. The public space is 160,000 square feet, including galleries; the center has 75,785 square feet of exhibit space. The center is made of American products, including 85,000 square feet of Indiana limestone, 2.6 million pounds of steel, a half-million cubic feet of concrete.
The National Constitution Center board of trustees appointed law professor, legal commentator, former visiting scholar Jeffrey Rosen to serve as president and chief executive officer of the center. The museum's main exhibition features three attractions; the first is Freedom Rising, a 17-minute, 360° theatrical production in the Sidney Kimmel Theater tracing the American quest for freedom. "The Story of We the People" exhibit in the Richard and Helen DeVos Exhibition Hall is an interactive exhibition highlighting the history of the Constitution with over 100 hands-on and multimedia exhibits. The Signers' Hall is a stylized evocation of the Assembly Room in the Pennsylvania State House, where the signers of the Constitution met on September 17, 1787; the room has life-sized, bronze statues. The center's featured exhibit is "Constituting Liberty: From the Declaration to the Bill of Rights", with one of the 12 surviving copies of the Bill of Rights displayed alongside a first-edition stone engraving of the Declaration of Independence and a rare copy of the first public printing of the U.
S. Constitution in the George H. W. Bush Gallery; the exhibit is on display from December 2014 to December 2017."Headed to the White House" was a unique exhibit created to engage students and families with the election season. Starting from the Constitution, the hands-on exhibit took visitors from the campaign trail to Inauguration Day in one visit and was on display from February 12 to December 31, 2016. Through its Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, the center offers onsite and online civic-education programs and a study center which develops and distributes teaching tools, lesson plans and resources. In September 2006 the center helped launch Constitution High School, a college-preparatory, citywide magnet school and "the only Philadelphia School District high school whose theme is Law and History." As a national town hall, the center has welcomed former presidents, Supreme Court justices, pundits and entertainers at political discussions and book events. Guests include Presidents Barack Obama, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
The center has hosted several debates, including a 2008 Democratic presidential primary debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama a town hall meeting with Senator John McCain, a 2006 Pennsylvania Senatorial debate between Republican incumbent Rick Santorum and Democratic challenger Bob Casey. In 2006 the center became home to the Liberty Medal, an annual award established in 1988 to recognize "men and women of courage and conviction who strive to secure the blessings of liberty to people around the globe." Liberty Medal recipients have included Hillary Clinton, Muhammad Ali, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, Steven Spielberg, Tony Blair and Robert Gates. Former President George H. W. Bush became chairman of the center's board of trustees in 2007, his successor as chair, Bill Clinton, served from 2009 to 2012. Jeffrey Rosen has been the center's director since 2013. On March 18, 2008, while campaigning for the presidency, Senator Barack Obama delivered a
Pennsylvania the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a state located in the northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The Appalachian Mountains run through its middle; the Commonwealth is bordered by Delaware to the southeast, Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, Lake Erie and the Canadian province of Ontario to the northwest, New York to the north, New Jersey to the east. Pennsylvania is the 33rd-largest state by area, the 6th-most populous state according to the most recent official U. S. Census count in 2010, it is the 9th-most densely populated of the 50 states. Pennsylvania's two most populous cities are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh; the state capital and its 10th largest city is Harrisburg. Pennsylvania has 140 miles of waterfront along the Delaware Estuary; the state is one of the 13 original founding states of the United States. Part of Pennsylvania, together with the present State of Delaware, had earlier been organized as the Colony of New Sweden.
It was the second state to ratify the United States Constitution, on December 12, 1787. Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were drafted, is located in the state's largest city of Philadelphia. During the American Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg was fought in the south central region of the state. Valley Forge near Philadelphia was General Washington's headquarters during the bitter winter of 1777–78. Pennsylvania is 170 miles north to south and 283 miles east to west. Of a total 46,055 square miles, 44,817 square miles are land, 490 square miles are inland waters, 749 square miles are waters in Lake Erie, it is the 33rd-largest state in the United States. Pennsylvania has 51 miles of coastline along Lake Erie and 57 miles of shoreline along the Delaware Estuary. Of the original Thirteen Colonies, Pennsylvania is the only state that does not border the Atlantic Ocean; the boundaries of the state are the Mason–Dixon line to the south, the Twelve-Mile Circle on the Pennsylvania-Delaware border, the Delaware River to the east, 80° 31' W to the west and the 42° N to the north, with the exception of a short segment on the western end, where a triangle extends north to Lake Erie.
Cities include Philadelphia, Reading and Lancaster in the southeast, Pittsburgh in the southwest, the tri-cities of Allentown and Easton in the central east. The northeast includes the former anthracite coal mining cities of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton. Erie is located in the northwest. State College serves the central region while Williamsport serves the commonwealth's north-central region as does Chambersburg the south-central region, with York and the state capital Harrisburg on the Susquehanna River in the east-central region of the Commonwealth and Altoona and Johnstown in the west-central region; the state has five geographical regions, namely the Allegheny Plateau and Valley, Atlantic Coastal Plain and the Erie Plain. New York Ontario Maryland Delaware West Virginia New Jersey Ohio Pennsylvania's diverse topography produces a variety of climates, though the entire state experiences cold winters and humid summers. Straddling two major zones, the majority of the state, with the exception of the southeastern corner, has a humid continental climate.
The southern portion of the state has a humid subtropical climate. The largest city, has some characteristics of the humid subtropical climate that covers much of Delaware and Maryland to the south. Summers are hot and humid. Moving toward the mountainous interior of the state, the winter climate becomes colder, the number of cloudy days increases, snowfall amounts are greater. Western areas of the state locations near Lake Erie, can receive over 100 inches of snowfall annually, the entire state receives plentiful precipitation throughout the year; the state may be subject to severe weather from spring through summer into fall. Tornadoes occur annually in the state, sometimes in large numbers, such as 30 recorded tornadoes in 2011; as of 1600, the tribes living in Pennsylvania were the Algonquian Lenape, the Iroquoian Susquehannock & Petun and the Siouan Monongahela Culture, who may have been the same as a little known tribe called the Calicua, or Cali. Other tribes who entered the region during the colonial era were the Trockwae, Saponi, Nanticoke, Conoy Piscataway, Iroquois Confederacy—possibly among others.
Other tribes, like the Erie, may have once held some land in Pennsylvania, but no longer did so by the year 1600. Both the Dutch and the English claimed both sides of the Delaware River as part of their colonial lands in America; the Dutch were the first to take possession. By June 3, 1631, the Dutch had begun settling the Delmarva Peninsula by establishing the Zwaanendael Colony on the site of present-day Lewes, Delaware. In 1638, Sweden established the New Sweden Colony, in the region of Fort Christina, on the site of present-day Wilmington, Delaware. New Sweden claimed and, for the most part, controlled the lower Delaware River region (parts of present-day Delaware, New Jersey, Pe
Benjamin Franklin Bridge
The Benjamin Franklin Bridge – named the Delaware River Bridge, now informally called the Ben Franklin Bridge – is a suspension bridge across the Delaware River connecting Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. Owned and operated by the Delaware River Port Authority, it is one of four primary vehicular bridges between Philadelphia and southern New Jersey, along with the Betsy Ross, Walt Whitman, Tacony-Palmyra bridges, it carries Interstate 676/U. S. Route 30, the PATCO Speedline; the bridge was dedicated as part of the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. From 1926 to 1929, it had the longest single span of any suspension bridge in the world. Plans for a bridge to augment the ferries across the Delaware River began as early as 1818, when one plan envisioned using Smith/Windmill Island, a narrow island off the Philadelphia shore, but it was only in the 1910s. The Delaware River Bridge Joint Commission was created in 1919.
The chief engineer of the bridge was Polish-born Ralph Modjeski, the design engineer was Leon Moisseiff, the supervising architect was Paul Philippe Cret. Work began on January 6, 1922. At the peak of construction, 1,300 people worked on the bridge, 15 died during its construction; the bridge was painted by a commercial painting company owned by David A. Salkind, of Philadelphia, which painted the Golden Gate Bridge; the bridge opened to traffic on July 1, 1926, three days ahead of its scheduled opening on the nation’s 150th anniversary. At completion, its 1,750-foot span was the world's longest for a suspension bridge, a distinction it held until the opening of the Ambassador Bridge in 1929; the name was changed to "Benjamin Franklin Bridge" in 1955, as a second Delaware River suspension bridge connecting Philadelphia and New Jersey was under construction. The bridge was closed to vehicles on July 1, 2001, to allow pedestrians to celebrate its 75th anniversary; the bridge included six vehicle lanes and two streetcar tracks on the main deck, with provision for a rapid transit track in each direction outboard of the deck's stiffening trusses, which rise above the deck rather than lie beneath it.
The tracks were built to the nonstandard broad gauge of the Public Service Company of New Jersey's Camden streetcar system. Streetcar stations were built in the bridge's anchorages. None of the streetcar facilities were placed in service, as Public Service ran no cars across the bridge from its opening until the company abandoned its Camden streetcar system in 1932; the outer pair of rapid transit tracks went into service in 1936 with the opening of the Bridge Line subway connecting Broadway and City Hall in Camden with 8th and Market Streets in Philadelphia. Today, it carries the PATCO Speedline. Both, the Eastbound and Westbound railroad tracks and support structure were reconstructed from June 2014 and finished October 2014; the bridge carries highways I-676 and US 30, but only the New Jersey section of the bridge carries I-676, as the section of the bridge approaches on the Pennsylvania side are not up to interstate highway standards, including at-grade traffic crossings. The Pennsylvania section of I-676 ends at the ramps to I-95.
I-676 is signed across the bridge from both sides, however. Before the 1953 New Jersey state highway renumbering, New Jersey Route 25, Route 43, Route 45 ended in the middle of the bridge, I-76 was signed on the bridge until 1972, when it switched routings with I-676, which until ran across the Walt Whitman Bridge; the seven vehicular lanes are divided by a concrete "zipper" barrier, which can be mechanically moved to configure the lanes for traffic volume or construction. Red and green signals mounted on overhead gantries indicate which lanes are open or closed to traffic in each direction; the lights indicate closures for construction, accidents or breakdown as well as traffic separation. During the morning rush hour, there are four lanes open westbound and three eastbound, with the situation reversed during the evening rush hour. Before the zipper barrier was installed in 2000-01, one lane of the bridge was kept closed at peak times to reduce the risk of head-on collisions as there was no physical barrier separating east and westbound traffic.
A $5.00 one-way toll is charged to westbound passenger vehicles. Trucks, commercial vehicles, mobile homes, recreation vehicles, pay $7.50 per axle. Seniors aged 65 and older can use a discount program to pay $2.50 per trip. There are proposals for a Camden-Philadelphia BRT, a bus rapid transit system between the two cities extending into Camden and Gloucester which would use the bridge. Pedestrian walkways run along both sides of the bridge, elevated over and separated from the vehicular lanes; the DRPA temporarily closed the walkways to the public the day after the 7 July 2005 London bombings, citing security concerns. The DRPA closes the walkway after
Philadelphia, sometimes known colloquially as Philly, is the largest city in the U. S. state and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the sixth-most populous U. S. city, with a 2017 census-estimated population of 1,580,863. Since 1854, the city has been coterminous with Philadelphia County, the most populous county in Pennsylvania and the urban core of the eighth-largest U. S. metropolitan statistical area, with over 6 million residents as of 2017. Philadelphia is the economic and cultural anchor of the greater Delaware Valley, located along the lower Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, within the Northeast megalopolis; the Delaware Valley's population of 7.2 million ranks it as the eighth-largest combined statistical area in the United States. William Penn, an English Quaker, founded the city in 1682 to serve as capital of the Pennsylvania Colony. Philadelphia played an instrumental role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States, who signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 at the Second Continental Congress, the Constitution at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787.
Several other key events occurred in Philadelphia during the Revolutionary War including the First Continental Congress, the preservation of the Liberty Bell, the Battle of Germantown, the Siege of Fort Mifflin. Philadelphia was one of the nation's capitals during the revolution, served as temporary U. S. capital while Washington, D. C. was under construction. In the 19th century, Philadelphia became a railroad hub; the city grew from an influx of European immigrants, most of whom came from Ireland and Germany—the three largest reported ancestry groups in the city as of 2015. In the early 20th century, Philadelphia became a prime destination for African Americans during the Great Migration after the Civil War, as well as Puerto Ricans; the city's population doubled from one million to two million people between 1890 and 1950. The Philadelphia area's many universities and colleges make it a top study destination, as the city has evolved into an educational and economic hub. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Philadelphia area had a gross domestic product of US$445 billion in 2017, the eighth-largest metropolitan economy in the United States.
Philadelphia is the center of economic activity in Pennsylvania and is home to five Fortune 1000 companies. The Philadelphia skyline is expanding, with a market of 81,900 commercial properties in 2016, including several nationally prominent skyscrapers. Philadelphia has more outdoor murals than any other American city. Fairmount Park, when combined with the adjacent Wissahickon Valley Park in the same watershed, is one of the largest contiguous urban park areas in the United States; the city is known for its arts, culture and colonial history, attracting 42 million domestic tourists in 2016 who spent US$6.8 billion, generating an estimated $11 billion in total economic impact in the city and surrounding four counties of Pennsylvania. Philadelphia has emerged as a biotechnology hub. Philadelphia is the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps, is the home of many U. S. firsts, including the first library, medical school, national capital, stock exchange and business school. Philadelphia contains 67 National Historic Landmarks and the World Heritage Site of Independence Hall.
The city became a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities in 2015, as the first World Heritage City in the United States. Although Philadelphia is undergoing gentrification, the city maintains mitigation strategies to minimize displacement of homeowners in gentrifying neighborhoods. Before Europeans arrived, the Philadelphia area was home to the Lenape Indians in the village of Shackamaxon; the Lenape are a Native American tribe and First Nations band government. They are called Delaware Indians, their historical territory was along the Delaware River watershed, western Long Island, the Lower Hudson Valley. Most Lenape were pushed out of their Delaware homeland during the 18th century by expanding European colonies, exacerbated by losses from intertribal conflicts. Lenape communities were weakened by newly introduced diseases smallpox, violent conflict with Europeans. Iroquois people fought the Lenape. Surviving Lenape moved west into the upper Ohio River basin; the American Revolutionary War and United States' independence pushed them further west.
In the 1860s, the United States government sent most Lenape remaining in the eastern United States to the Indian Territory under the Indian removal policy. In the 21st century, most Lenape reside in Oklahoma, with some communities living in Wisconsin, in their traditional homelands. Europeans came to the Delaware Valley in the early 17th century, with the first settlements founded by the Dutch, who in 1623 built Fort Nassau on the Delaware River opposite the Schuylkill River in what is now Brooklawn, New Jersey; the Dutch considered the entire Delaware River valley to be part of their New Netherland colony. In 1638, Swedish settlers led by renegade Dutch established the colony of New Sweden at Fort Christina and spread out in the valley. In 1644, New Sweden supported the Susquehannocks in their military defeat of the English colony of Maryland. In 1648, the Dutch built Fort Beversreede on the west bank of the Delaware, south of the Schuylkill near the present-day Eastwick neighborhood, to reassert their dominion over the area.
The Swedes responded by building Fort Nya Korsholm, or New Korsholm, named after a town in Finland with a Swedish majority. In 1655, a
Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; the building was completed in 1753 as the Pennsylvania State House, served as the capitol for the Province and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania until the state capital moved to Lancaster in 1799. It became the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783 and was the site of the Constitutional Convention in the summer of 1787. A convention held in Independence Hall in 1915, presided over by former US president William Howard Taft, marked the formal announcement of the formation of the League to Enforce Peace, which led to the League of Nations and the United Nations; the building is part of Independence National Historical Park and is listed as a World Heritage Site. By the spring of 1729, the citizens of Philadelphia were petitioning to be allowed to build a state house.
2,000 pounds were committed to the endeavor. A committee composed of Thomas Lawrence, Dr. John Kearsley, Andrew Hamilton was charged with the responsibility of selecting a site for construction, acquiring plans for the building, contracting a company for construction of the building. Hamilton and William Allen were named trustees of the purchasing and building fund and authorized to buy the land that would be the site of the state house. By October 1730 they had begun purchasing lots on Chestnut Street. By 1732 though Hamilton had acquired the deed for Lot no. 2 from surveyor David Powell, paid for his work with the lot, tensions were rising among the committee members. Dr. John Kearsley and Hamilton disagreed on a number of issues concerning the state house. Kearsley, credited with the designs of both Christ Church and St. Peter's Church, had plans for the structure of the building, but so did Hamilton; the two men disagreed on the building's site. Lawrence said nothing on the matter. Matters reached a point.
On August 8, 1733, Hamilton brought the matter before the House of Representatives. He explained that Kearsley did not approve of Hamilton's plans for the location and architecture of the state house and went on to insist the House had not agreed to these decisions. In response to this, Hamilton, on August 11, showed his plans for the state house to the House, who accepted them. On August 14, the House sided with Hamilton, granting him full control over the project, the site on the south side of Chestnut Street between Fifth and Sixth Streets was chosen for the location of the state house. Ground was broken for construction soon after. Independence Hall touts a red brick facade, designed in Georgian style, it consists of a central building with belltower and steeple, attached to two smaller wings via arcaded hyphens. The highest point to the tip of the steeple spire is 7 1⁄4 inches above the ground; the State House was built between 1732 and 1751, designed by Edmund Woolley and Andrew Hamilton, built by Woolley.
Its construction was commissioned by the Pennsylvania colonial legislature which paid for construction as funds were available, so it was finished piecemeal. It was inhabited by the colonial government of Pennsylvania as its State House, from 1732 to 1799. In 1752, when Isaac Norris was selecting a man to build the first clock for the State House, today known as Independence Hall, he chose Thomas Stretch, the son of Peter Stretch his old friend and fellow council member, to do the job. In 1753 Thomas Stretch erected a giant clock at the building's west end; the 40-foot-tall limestone base was capped with a 14-foot wooden case surrounding the clock's face, carved by Samuel Harding. The giant clock was removed about 1830; the clock's dials were mounted at the east and west ends of the main building connected by rods to the clock movement in the middle of the building. The acquisition of the original clock and bell by the Pennsylvania Colonial Assembly is related to the acquisition of the Liberty Bell.
By mid-1753, the clock had been installed in the State House attic, but six years were to elapse before Thomas Stretch received any pay for it. While the shell of the central portion of the building is original, the side wings and much of the interior were reconstructed. In 1781, the Pennsylvania Assembly had the wooden steeple removed from the main building; the steeple had rotted and weakened to a dangerous extent by 1773, but it wasn't until 1781 that the Assembly had it removed and had the brick tower covered with a hipped roof. The original steeple was demolished due to structural problems in 1781. A more elaborate steeple, designed by William Strickland, was added in 1828; the original wings and hyphens were demolished and replaced in 1812. In 1898, these were in turn replaced with reconstructions of the original wings; the building was renovated numerous times in the 20th century. The current interior is a mid-20th century reconstruction by the National Park Service with the public rooms restored to their 18th century appearance.
During the summer of 1973 a replica of the Thomas Stretch clock was restored to Independence Hall. The second floor Governor's Council Chamber, furnished with important examples of the era by the National Park Service, includes a musical tall case clock made by Peter Stretch, c 1740, one of the most prominent clockmakers in early America and father of Thomas Stretch. Two smaller buildings adjoin the wings of Independence Hall: Old City Hall to the east, Congress Hall to the west; these three buildings are togeth
Free Quaker Meetinghouse
The Free Quaker Meetinghouse is a historic Free Quaker meeting house at the southeast corner of 5th and Arch Streets in the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was built in 1783, is a plain 2 1/2-story brick building with a gable roof; the second floor was added in 1788. The building was moved about 30 feet to its present site in 1961, to allow for the widening of Fifth Street. Quaker meetings were held in the building until 1836, after which it was occupied by the Apprentices' Library Company of Philadelphia until 1897; the meetinghouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971. Notes Visiting information Historic American Buildings Survey No. PA-1120, "Free Quakers Meetinghouse, 500 Arch Street, Philadelphia County, PA", 11 photos, 23 measured drawings, 3 data pages, 2 photo caption pages
National Museum of American Jewish History
The National Museum of American Jewish History is a Smithsonian-affiliated museum at 101 South Independence Mall East at Market Street in Center City Philadelphia. It was founded in 1976. With its founding in 1976, the then–15,000-square-foot museum shared a building with the Congregation Mikveh Israel. In 2005, it was announced that the museum would be moved to a new building to be built at Fifth Street and Market Street on the Independence Mall; the site was owned by CBS' KYW radio and KYW-TV. The project broke ground on September 30, 2007; the 100,000-square-foot glass and terra-cotta building was designed by James Polshek and includes an atrium, a 25,000-square-foot area for exhibits, a Center for Jewish Education, a theater. The structural engineer was Leslie E. Robertson Associates; the project, including endowment, cost $150 million. The opening ceremony was held November 14, 2010 and was attended by over 1,000 people, including Vice President Joe Biden, Mayor Michael Nutter, Governor Ed Rendell, Rabbi Irving Greenberg.
The building opened to the public November 26, 2010. Exhibits use pieces from the museum's collection which includes over 20,000 objects and ranges from the Colonial period to the present day. Exhibits focus on Jews in America. Professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University led the development of the core exhibit for the museum. To Bigotry No Sanction: George Washington and Religious Freedom From June 29 through September 30, 2012, the NMAJH held a special exhibition that featured one of the most important documents pertaining to religious freedom in the United States; the letter was written in 1790 to the Hebrew Congregation in Newport, Rhode Island, addressing the new country's religious freedom. The letter expressed the new government's commitment for religious freedom and equality for all faiths; the exhibition included numerous artifacts as well as early printings of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. National Museum of American Jewish Military History Notes Official website