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Congress Hall in Philadelphia
6th & Chestnut Street
Old City
Philadelphia, Pa 19106
Cross Street: E.Church Ln
215.844.1683
Hours of Operation
Located on the corner of Chestnut and 6th Streets. The building is open year round, though hours vary by season. Visitors are admitted free of charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Ranger led programs are provided.

This was once the home of the United States Congress.

Independence Hall (seen from the Liberty Bell) is flanked on the right by Congress Hall. The newly formed United States Congress occupied Congress Hall when Philadelphia was the capital of the United States from 1790-1800. Congress Hall has been restored to the way it looked in 1793-1800. The first floor was occupied by the House of Representatives. The upper floor was occupied appropriately, by the upper house, or the Senate. In 1793, President George Washington was inaugurated here for a second term. Four years later, in a precedent-setting ceremony in the House of Representatives chamber, the reins of power were passed from George Washington to John Adams. At the close of the ceremony, John Adams waited for Washington to lead the exit, as everyone had grown accustomed to, but Washington insisted on leaving the room after the new President. Finally, and perhaps most important of all, the Bill of Rights was ratified while Congress met in these rooms.

Constructed in 1787 - 1789 as the Philadelphia County Court House, this building served as the meeting place of the U. S. Congress from 1790 - 1800. The House of Representatives met on the main floor, while the Senate assembled upstairs. Among the historic events that took place here were the presidential inaugurations of George Washington (his second) and John Adams; the establishment of the First Bank of the United States, the Federal Mint, and the Department of the Navy; and the ratification of Jay's Treaty with England. During the 19th century, the building was used by Federal and local courts. The building, inside and out, has been restored as much as possible to the period of time when the building was the U.S. Capitol.

  • Take this tour: after Independence Hall. It gives interesting information on the newly formed Congress of the U.S. and the beginnings of the Senate and House of Representatives. It also talks about Washington's 2nd inauguration which was held there. Building has been beautifully restored.

    Things to know:

  • George Washington was inaugurated here for his second term.
  • John Adams was inaugurated here.
  • Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee were admitted to Union while Congress sat here.
  • The Bill of Rights were ratified.

    bullet Tourism information: See INHP Schedule
  • Facilities: Tour guide, indoor-outdoor benches, tourist information, wheelchair accessible
  • Cell phone tour: 267-519-4295, then press number 15
  • John Jay. Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1789-1795. Co-author of the Federalist Papers (written to defend and explain the Constitution before it was adopted). Negotiated the controversial Jay Treaty in England. Elected governor of New York while he was out of the country. Resigned from the Supreme Court to accept that post.
  • Oliver Ellsworth. Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, 1796-1800. Framer of the Constitution (but not a signer; he went home to attend to business). He resigned as Chief Justice in favor of a diplomatic post.
  • John Marshall. Associate Justice. Admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. Became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., in 1801.
  • John Blair. Associate Justice, 1789-1796. Signer of the Constitution. He did not say one word during the Constitutional Convention.
  • William Paterson. Associate Justice, 1793-1806. Signer of the Constitution.
  • Alexander Hamilton. Admitted to practice before the Supreme Court. Co-author of the Federalist Papers. Resigned as first Secretary of the Treasury in 1795 to practice law.
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