Liberty Bell

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The Liberty Bell is one of the most important symbols of America’s struggle for independence at the end of the eighteenth century. The famously cracked bell occupies a separate pavilion at the Independence Mall and can be visited free of charge.

Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia
Liberty Bell Center

The bell was ordered in 1751 by the Pennsylvania Assembly, the colonial government, reportedly to commemorate the fifty-year anniversary of William Penn’s 1701 Charter of Privileges. The bell was cast by the Whitechapel Bell Foundry in London and arrived in Philadelphia in September 1752.

Liberty Bell, Philadelphia
Liberty Bell
Liberty Bell Center, Philadelphia
Inside Liberty Bell Center


Six months later, in March 1753, the bell was hung in the steeple of the Pennsylvania State House, now the Independence Hall. The bell cracked the first time it rang. It was recast by two foundry workers in Philadelphia, who – in an effort to make the bell less brittle – added additional copper. The bell sounded awful due to the extra copper, so they recast it again. The final bell was put in place in June 1753.

The bell was rung to announce all sorts of events. One of the historically most important events was on July 8, 1776, when the bell summoned the citizens to attend the reading of the Declaration of Independence.

Another Crack

A crack in the bell started to appear again somewhere in the first half of the nineteenth century, but was repaired. The current crack dates from 1846 when the bell rang in honor of the birthday of George Washington. In 1852 the bell was taken down from the steeple and put on display in the Declaration Chamber in the Independence Hall.

Liberty Bell Center

In 2003 the bell moved to the Liberty Bell Center, a modern pavilion at the Independence National Historical Park. The bell is displayed in a glass room with the Independence Hall in the background.

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