Constructed in 1770, the hall was the location of the First Continental Congress in 1774.

Photo by Xiquinho Silva

Carpenter’s Hall is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in an area known today as the U.S. Historic District. Not only is the house important on its own, it also is part of the reason the area of Philadelphia is considered to be so historic. The Carpenter’s House started construction in 1770 and wasn’t finished for five years. It was built to be the Meeting Hall for the Carpenter’s Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, which is the oldest craft guild in the United States. A guild is a group of workers who all do the same job who come together to work towards a common goal. But, Carpenter’s Hall was also the location of the First Continental Congress in 1774, where British Colonial citizens first met to discuss the potential of becoming an independent nation.

The First Continental Congress met in Carpenter’s Hall starting on September 5th in 1774 until October 26th of 1774. The reason the group could not meet in Independence Hall at the time was because more moderate members of the Pennsylvania colonial government were meeting. It was in Carpenter’s Hall that the First Continental Congress decided to bar the import of slaves to the colonies, and to discontinue the slave trade within the colonies. During the Revolutionary War, Carpenter’s Hall was used as a hospital by both British and American soldiers, and weapons and equipment were stored in the basement. After the war, in 1791, the first floor of the building was used as the First Bank of the United States under Treasury Secretary, Alexander Hamilton.

Today, Carpenter’s Hall is one of the many historic sites that make up Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia.

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