Independence National Historical Park

IndependenceMall.jpg
Philadelphia, PA
United States
Independence National Historical Park

Created by an Act of Congress in 1948, this 55-acre park spans twenty urban blocks and commemorates Philadelphia’s role in the American Revolution and as the nation’s first capital. The L-shaped park’s linchpin is Independence Hall, an eighteenth-century Georgian edifice located on a five-acre square in the city’s oldest commercial district. The park also contains Independence Mall and the Liberty Bell; the First and Second Banks of the United States; the site of Benjamin Franklin’s house, and a colonial revival landscape containing historic churches and cemeteries, thematic gardens, and various monuments.

Prior to the park's establishment, the area surrounding the cultural and historical district was in decline. Many buildings that were not of the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries were demolished to create this new colonial-themed park, while other historically significant buildings were restored. Architect Grant Simon oversaw the development of the park’s master plan, while National Park Service landscape architect Charles Peterson focused on retaining more of the historic urban fabric, developing an urban park landscape of city blocks enclosed by brick walls. The resulting landscape references its historical origins while also being modern, knitting together a cityscape of red brick buildings and cobblestone alleys with richly articulated pedestrian spaces, lawn expanses, brick walks, and a comprehensive furnishings palette. Low brick walls outline the footprints of some lost historical buildings and gardens are planted with vegetation common to the eighteenth century. Independence National Historical Park was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1966.