320 Chestnut St., 215/925-0167
HOURS: Tues.–Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Georgian-style Carpenters’ Hall has a rich history despite its inconspicuous presence. Designed by Robert Smith, it was built in 1770 to serve as headquarters for the Carpenters’ Company of Philadelphia. The company, founded in 1724, is today the nation’s oldest trade guild.
Carpenters’ Hall is most famous as the site of the meeting of the First Continental Congress in 1774, when 12 men including George Washington, John Adams, Samuel Adams, and Patrick Henry met to discuss their discontent with their ruler, King George. They were particularly disgruntled with the taxes imposed on the colonies without the consent of colonists, which became popularly known as “taxation without representation.”
The meeting resulted in one of the earliest formal acts of rebellion against British rule—a trade embargo—and was the precursor to the Second Continental Congress, which met at the State House  two years later to declare war.
Over its long history Carpenters’ Hall has also been home to Franklin’s Library Company , the American Philosophical Society , the First  and Second Banks of the United States , and a hospital for American forces during the Revolutionary War. Inside, you’ll find a scale model of the building, the original Windsor chairs used by members of the Continental Congress, and a banner carried during the 1788 parade celebrating the ratification of the Constitution.