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  • Independence HallIndependence Hall Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    The national landmark building that is known as the Independence Hall is found in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on Chestnut Street, between 5th and 6th Streets; and is famous throughout the land as the place where the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were talked about and adopted. The building was finished in 1753 as the Pennsylvania State House for the province of Pennsylvania and was the meeting place for the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783 and also the site of the Constitution Convention in 1787. Today, it is part of the Independence National Historical Park and listed as a World Heritage Site. It is a red brick building, constructed between 1732 and 1753 in the Georgian style of architecture by Andrew Hamilton and Edmund Woolley and built by Woolley. The highest peak is 135 feet and the construction was commissioned by the Pennsylvania colonial legislature and was their state house. There are two smaller buildings that are next to the hall, the Congress Hall on the west and the old City Hall on the east, with all three sitting on a city block called Independence Square, along with Philosophical Hall, the first home of the American Philosophical Society. There is a picture of the hall on the back of the $100 dollar bill and the Kennedy bicentennial half dollar. The Assembly Room is shown on the back side of the $2 dollar bill from an original painting by John Trumbull, titled "Declaration of Independence". The bell tower held the famous bell, called the Liberty Bell, but now holds a Centennial Bell that was made for the country's centennial celebration in 1876. The Liberty Bell and its infamous crack sit across the street in the Liberty Bell center. In 1976, Queen Elizabeth II brought the bell on her visit to the city to give it as a gift to the people of this country, called the Centennial Bell, and was made in the same foundry that the Liberty Bell was made.  From 1775 to 1783, the hall was the main meeting place of the Second Continental Congress, with representatives from all thirteen original colonies. The Declaration of Independence was approved on July 4, 1776, and then read aloud in the square out front; documenting the unification of the colonies in this country that declared their independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain; as well as telling the Brits why. These exciting historical events are celebrated every year, on the fourth of July in every town, city, county, state and district of Columbia in this fantastic nation. The delegates of the Continental Congress elected George Washington as commander of the Continental Army in 1775, on June 14th, in the Assembly Room of this great hall. Benjamin Franklin was appointed the first Postmaster General of the colonies, which was the prelude to the United States Post Office Department. The British army came to the city in September, 1777 and occupied the city, forcing the Congress to move to York, Pennsylvania, where the famous Articles of Confederation were approved in November of 1777. The Congress was able to return to Independence Hall in July, 1778 after the British were pushed out. In 1783, the Congress was forced to flee once more when the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783 occurred.

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  • Edgar Allen Poe National Historic SiteEdgar Allen Poe National Historic Site Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    The Poe site is one of the homes that Edgar lived in while he wrote many of his stories, and this one is located in the Spring Garden area of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and it is the only one that is still standing that he lived in during the period of 1837 to 1844. While Poe lived in Philadelphia, he wrote "The Murders in the Rue Morgue", "The Tell-Tale Heart", and "the Gold Bug". Some believe it was his most prolific period, altogether penning and publishing some 31 stories while he lived there; as well as numerous literary criticism pieces that included a 1841 review of Charles Dickens's novel, "Barnaby Rudge: A Tale of the Riots of 'Eighty". This review and reading caused Poe to write his epic poem; "The Raven", correctly saying that the story wouldn't be received as well as Dickens's other writings. It is also said that it was his happiest time in his life; renting this house in 1843, living here with his wife, Virginia and aunt or mother-in-law, Maria Clemm. The neighborhood was mostly Quaker, but it was Virginia's tuberculosis bout that many believe the couple moved because of. It was said that Poe often had trouble paying his rent, but the landlord, a plumber, didn't seem to mind, since Poe was well known. They moved to New York City in April of 1844, with many families living in the house until it was bought by Richard Gimbel, son of the founder of Gimbel's department store in 1933. He was an avid fan of Poe's and immediately had the home renovated and then opened it as a museum. When he passed on, he left it to the city, and the National Park Service took it over in 1978. The site contains Poe's former house and two adjoining that weren't built until later, and the house contains rooms that are in an arrested decay state, and not furnished as they were during Poe's period.

January 11, 2011