Carpenters’ Hall

Meeting place of the First Continental Congress

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Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia
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Before the Constitution, before the Declaration of Independence, there was the First Continental Congress.

In 1774, delegates from 12 colonies (Georgia abstained), gathered at Carpenters’ Hall and voted to support a trade embargo against England, one of the first unified acts of defiance against the King.

The delegates’ chairs and the original banner carried during the 1788 Constitutional parade are also displayed.

Carpenters’ Hall is still owned by members of the Carpenters’ Company.

The History

In 1774, delegates from 12 colonies gathered here and voted to support a trade embargo against England.

The cry for independence was hardly unanimous.

The First Continental Congress, held at Carpenters’ Hall, was the first and only time that Americans across the political spectrum gathered to debate issues. Fiery patriots such as Patrick Henry addressed the 1774 meeting and never spoke nationally again.

By 1776, extremely conservative and extraordinarily radical Americans became suspicious of national gatherings and refused to participate.

Don’t Miss

The building itself deserves recognition all on its own. Built by craftsmen for craftsmen, the Flemish bond brick pattern, cupola and windows are almost flawless examples of Georgian architecture. Inside, a scale model shows 18th-century methods used in the building’s construction.

Kids can have a treasure hunt to find how many Carpenters’ Company’s emblems are included in the building’s interior. (Answer: Five)

Floor tiles were a 19th-century addition. Ironically, the supplier, a British firm, also supplied tiles for the U.S. Capitol.

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