Carpenters Hall

Philadelphia City, Philadelphia County, PA

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Carpenters' Hall 320 Chestnut St, Philadelphia 19106 [1]

Although the structure was not entirely completed until after the Revolutionary War, the building was advanced enough in 1773 for the Library Company, founded by Benjamin Franklin, to occupy the upper floor. Carpenters' Hall was also selected for the first meeting of the Continental Congress in 1774. During the war, the building served as a hospital for both British and American forces causing some problems for the Library Company on the upper floor. By 1784, the Carpenters' Company had doubled the rent and the Library Company moved into a new structure. They were replaced by the First Bank of the United States in 1791, which took over both floors. This caused the carpenters to vacate their own building and erect a new structure on the west side of the Court for its own meetings. After the Bank moved to its new building in 1797, the Land Office and then a year later the Bank of Pennsylvania filled the space. From 1801 to 1817, Carpenters' Hall served as the Customs House. Another important institution to use the Hall was the Second Bank of the United States which rented space from 1817 until the new Strickland Greek Revival building was completed in 1826. For the next seven years various tenants filled the rooms, including the newly founded Franklin Institute. The longest tenancy was the last, that of Charles J. and Frederick Wolbert, auctioneers who occupied the building from 1828 to 1857. By this date the growing interest in Carpenters' Hall as an Historic Site had caused the Company to reclaim their building and resolve to renovate the structure to preserve as much as possible of its original appearance. For over a century now the Hall has continued open to the public and been maintained at the expense of the Carpenters' Company of Philadelphia.

  1. National Register of Historic Places, Carpenters' Hall, Nomination Document, National Park Service, 1974, Washington, DC

Nearby Neighborhoods

Street Names
Chestnut Street

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