The Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is not a building but it is a plaza where American history can be appreciated. It is an area within the Independence National Historical Park that accommodates most of the park?s historic buildings and land, making it a great tourist attraction to explore.
In 1945, the area north of Independence Hall was designated as Independence Mall State Park and was to be created a plaza which will become the setting for historic 18th century buildings. Soon after, this name was shortened to Independence Mall. A year later, in 1946, the then Pennsylvania Governor Ed Martin provided the fund to make the plan a reality. Five years later, the construction began.
The plan was to design an open space in the heart of historic Philadelphia, just in front of the Independence Hall. The fund also was used to acquire the buildings, mostly of Victorian architecture, that occupy the land. During the construction, the acquired buildings there were demolished as they were in contrast with the historic nature of the area and with the blueprint of the Independence Mall.
By 1959, only the Free Quaker Meetinghouse remained in the area, and was used as warehouse for plumbing materials needed in the construction. The building was kept and restored to become part of the project, but was relocated 38 feet west and 8 feet south from its previous location to give way for the widening of the Fifth Street, one of the borders of the Mall. The construction of the Independence Mall was completed in 1967 and its management was taken over by the National Park Service who made the Mall part of the larger Independence National Historical Park.
The buildings that surround the Independence Mall are the Philadelphia Mint, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the James A. Byrne Courthouse (home to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania), and the main studio of WHYY-TV.
Marking the four sides of the Independence Mall are: on the north is the National Constitution Center opened on July 4, 2003 to provide information and education about the U.S. Constitution to Americans as well as its guests through its contemporary museum; on the south is the Independence Hall (for which the Mall was created), where the founding fathers of America drafted and adopted the Declaration of Independence; on the east are the Fifth Street and the Philadelphia Bourse Building, modeled after the great bourse which means ?place of exchange? in Germany, where a number of Philadelphia company offices, shops and food courts are housed; and on the west is the Sixth Street.
One of the most famous independence icons of America, the Liberty Bell, which used to hang in the tower of Independence Hall, is now housed in the Liberty Bell Center, a glass pavilion built in 2003 that is also set in the Independence Mall.
Aside from the historical buildings, locals and tourists can also participate and enjoy food festivals, musical performances and other special events organized by the city of Philadelphia in the grounds of the Independence Mall. But most of all, the Mall is a place where everyone can sit, relax and enjoy the sights and allures of American history.