Liberty Bell, Independence Hall: Philadelphia PA
500 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106
The Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were signed at Independence Hall in Philadelphia, PA, in 1776. On July 8, 1776, the Liberty Bell, made by John Pass & John Stow (Pass and Stow) was rung to summon people for the reading of the Declaration of Independence.
It was cast in London, England. It cracked soon after it arrived in Philadelphia. Pass and Stow cast a new bell in 1753, using metal from the English bell. Their names appear on the front of the bell, along with the city and the date. By 1846 a thin crack began to affect the sound of the bell. The bell was repaired in 1846 and rang for a George Washington birthday celebration, but the bell cracked again and has not been rung since.
The bell weighs about 2000 pounds. It is made of 70% copper, 25% tin, and small amounts of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver. It hangs from what is believed to be its original yoke, made from American elm, also known as slippery elm.
The Liberty Bell’s inscription conveys a message of liberty. In 1751, the Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly ordered a new bell for the State House. He asked that a Bible verse to be 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.
The old 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. Beginning in the late 1800s, the Liberty Bell traveled around the country to expositions and fairs to help heal the divisions of the Civil War.
Visiting the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall
The Liberty Bell Center is located on Market Street between 5th and 6th Streets, in Philadelphia, PA. The building is open year round, though hours vary by season. The Liberty Bell itself is displayed in a magnificent glass chamber with Independence Hall in the background.