1903 Melita Lodge No. 295 Commemorative Plate

Picturing Independence Hall, Philadelphia, PA

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This beautiful flow blue plate pictures Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pa.  It was made in 1903 for Melita Lodge No. 295 F. & A.M.  It names the five principal officers of the Lodge on the reverse, the trustees, and the representative to the Grand Lodge of Pa.  It is in wonderful condition with some light crazing.

Independence Hall is a U.S. national landmark located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets. Known primarily as the location where the Declaration of Independence was debated and adopted, the building was completed in 1753 as the Pennsylvania State House for the Province of Pennsylvania. It became the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress from 1775 to 1783. The United States Declaration of Independence and United States Constitution were both signed at Independence Hall. The building is now part of the larger Independence National Historical Park and listed as a World Heritage Site.

Independence Hall is a red brick building, built between 1732 and 1753, designed in the Georgian style by Edmund Woolley and Andrew Hamilton, and built by Woolley. Its highest point is 135 feet (41 m) above the ground. Its construction was commissioned by the Pennsylvania colonial legislature and it was initially inhabited by the colonial government of Pennsylvania as their State House. Two smaller buildings adjoin Independence Hall: Old City Hall to the east, and Congress Hall to the west. These three buildings are together on a city block known as Independence Square, along with Philosophical Hall, the original home of the American Philosophical Society.

Independence Hall is pictured on the back of the U.S. $100 bill, as well as the bicentennial Kennedy half dollar. The Assembly Room is pictured on the reverse of the U.S. two dollar bill, from the original painting by John Trumbull entitled Declaration of Independence.

The bell tower steeple of Independence Hall was the original home of the "Liberty Bell" and today it holds a "Centennial Bell" that was created for the United States Centennial Exposition in 1876. The original Liberty Bell, with its distinctive crack, is now on display across the street in the Liberty Bell Center. In 1976 Queen Elizabeth II visited Philadelphia and presented a gift to the American people of a replica Bicentennial Bell, which was cast in the same British foundry as the original. This 1976 bell hangs in the modern bell tower located on 3rd Street near Independence Hall.

From 1775 to 1783, Independence Hall served as the principal meeting place of the Second Continental Congress, a body of representatives from each of the thirteen British North American colonies. The United States Declaration of Independence was approved there on July 4, 1776, and the Declaration was read aloud to the public in the area now known as Independence Square. This document unified the colonies in North America who declared themselves independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain and explained their justifications for doing so. These historic events are celebrated annually with a national holiday for U.S. Independence Day.

On June 14, 1775, delegates of the Continental Congress nominated George Washington as commander of the Continental Army in the Assembly Room of Independence Hall. The Congress appointed Benjamin Franklin to be the first Postmaster General of what would later become the United States Post Office Department on July 26.


a National Park Service Ranger describes Independence Hall's Assembly Room, in which both the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted and signed.  In September 1777, British Army arrived to occupy Philadelphia, forcing the Continental Congress to abandon the State House and flee to York, Pennsylvania, where the Articles of Confederation were approved in November 1777. The Congress returned on July 2, 1778, after the end of the British occupation. However, as a result of the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, Congress again moved from Philadelphia in June 1783.

In September 1786, commissioners from five states met in the Annapolis Convention to discuss adjustments to the Articles of Confederation that would improve commerce. They invited state representatives to convene in Philadelphia to discuss improvements to the federal government. After debate, the Congress of the Confederation endorsed the plan to revise the Articles of Confederation on February 21, 1787. Twelve states, Rhode Island being the exception, accepted this invitation and sent delegates to convene in June 1787 at Independence Hall.

The resolution calling the Convention specified its purpose as proposing amendments to the Articles, but the Convention decided to propose a rewritten Constitution. The Philadelphia Convention voted to keep deliberations secret, and to keep the Hall's windows shut throughout the hot summer. The result was the drafting of a new fundamental government design. On September 17, 1787, the Constitution was completed, and took effect on March 4, 1789, when the new Congress met for the first time in New York's Federal Hall.

Article One, Section Eight, of the United States Constitution granted Congress the authority to create of a federal district to serve as the national capital. Following the ratification of the Constitution, the Congress, while meeting in New York, passed the Residence Act of 1790, which established the District of Columbia as the new federal capital. However, a representative from Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, did manage to convince Congress to return to Philadelphia while the new permanent capital was being built. As a result, the Residence Act also declared Philadelphia to be the temporary capital for a period of ten years. The Congress moved back into Philadelphia on December 6, 1790 and met at Congress Hall, adjacent to Independence Hall.
 

 

         

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