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Located in Independence National Historical Park, the Independence Visitor Center is the official visitor center of Philadelphia and the region, including Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties. Character actors, musicians and story tellers offer free entertainment and education. The Visitor Center is located adjacent to The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
It was in the Assembly Room of this building that George Washington was appointed commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence was adopted on July 4, 1776. In the same room the design of the American flag was agreed upon in 1777, the Articles of Confederation were adopted in 1781, and the U. S. Constitution was drafted in 1787.
To tour Independence Hall, you will need a ticket from March 1 – December 31, except July 4th and Thanksgiving Day when no tickets are required.
Free, timed tickets are available on the day of your visit at the Independence Visitor Center. Tickets can also be reserved in advance at 1-877-444-6777 or www.recreation.gov (there is a $1.50 reservation fee per ticket for tickets reserved in advance). The first tour starts at 9:00 a.m. For free, walk-up tickets, you may request tickets for any available time on the day of the visit only. A limited number of tickets are distributed to tour Independence Hall each day; therefore, ticket availability is best during the first two hours of the day (8:30 – 10:30 a.m.) If all tickets have been distributed by the time you arrive for pick up, please return to the Visitor Center the next morning at 8:30 a.m.
The Liberty Bell
The Liberty Bell’s inscription conveys a message of liberty which goes beyond the words themselves. An earlier bell for the Pennsylvania State House was cast in London, England, however, it cracked soon after it arrived in Philadelphia. Local craftsmen John Pass and John Stow cast a new bell in 1753, using metal from the English bell. The Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly had a Bible verse placed on the bell: “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof”(Leviticus 25:10).
As the official bell of the Pennsylvania State House (today called Independence Hall) it rang many times for public announcements. Since the bell was made, the words of the inscription have meant different things to different people. The old Pennsylvania State House bell was first called the “Liberty Bell” by a group trying to outlaw slavery. These abolitionists remembered the words on the bell and in the 1830s adopted it as a symbol of their cause. Since then, the Liberty Bell has traveled around the country and its message of liberty has been heard around the world.
Today, it silently reminds us of the power of liberty.
On their tour, the Cradle of Liberty was just a rest stop between the Big Apple and the Nation's Capital, an urban Jurassic Park way past its peak, situated some where between Amish Country and the Casinos, a sprawling cauldron of ethnic neighborhoods and stately reminders of Ben Franklin and Billy Penn.
Moreover, they had no idea that the birthplace, and the playground, of the nation, extended to countless sites throughout the tri-state area.
Were it not for the enthusiasm and resourcefulness of their American friends, they would surely have missed the magic of Montgomery County and the surrounding areas. A quick sweep across this attractive and accessible landscape persuaded them to return another day for a much closer look.