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INDG.OSS; c z. d ^e^o o io sg 3 <?///3V^/ CARPENTERS’ HALL by CHARLES E. PETERSON

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IN D G .O SS; c z . d ^ e ^ o o i o s g3 <?///3V^/

C A R P E N T E R S ’H A L L



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R eprin ted w ith perm ission from the Transactions o f the Am erican Philosophical Society

Vol. 43, P a r t I


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In s titu te d jt . IX. /7XX.U In corp orated*?/ IX. 77170 May 20, 1953

WELCOME TO CARPENTERS' HALL 1Our buildings in Carpenters' Court have seen a great deal

of human events, and so it has been our privilege to play host to the First Continental Congress and other notable gatherings of colonial and national importance. Many events basic to the history of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia have also taken place in our Hall. It was the realization of this association with the early forming of our nation and its institutions that led us in 1857 to restore our old Hall, and open it to the public as our contribution toward keeping foremost and vigorous the inspiration of our common heritage.

As Carpenters' Hall approaches the beginning of its second century as an historic shrine, it will become a principle feature of the Independence National Historical Park. This project of the National Park Service will give it the importance and dignity of setting which it so rightly deserves, and will further secure its continuing existence.

We are indebted to the American Philosophical Society for making this publication possible by granting us the privi­lege of reprinting Mr..Peterson's essay, which has just appeared in their Transactions. (Volume *+3, Part I). This study tells much of the rich associations of our Hall with the past and we trust that study will continue and welcome all students to add to our store of knowledge.

We hope that you will enjoy your visit to Carpenters'Hall and will return with your friends.

David Merton Hunt, PresidentThe Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia

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Resident Architect, Independence National Historical Park Project

F ig. 1. North Elevation, 1786. Engraving from the Company’s rule book, probably from the architect’s drawing. Carpen­ters’ Company Library.

F ig. 2. Ground Floor Plan, 1786. Engraving from same work showing central hallway partitions removed soon afterwards. Carpenters’ Company Library.

F or nearly two centuries the neat little brick hall of the Carpenters’ Company has stood in a small court off Chestnut Street [D, IV], not far from the Delaware River. The building has been physically associated with many events and personalities of national, state, and local importance but no satisfactory account of them has ever been assembled. The writer offers this compila­tion as a beginning.1

1 This essay was first published in mimeographed form Janu­ary, 1948 (“Notes on Carpenters’ Hall,” U. S. Natl. Park Service, St. Louis, Mo., 44 pp.). A portion of it, reworked, appeared as “Carpenters’ Shrine” in American Heritage 3 (1) : 43, Fall, 1951, and is used again by courtesy of Editor Earle W. Newton.

The writer wishes to acknowledge special favors and assist­ance given by the staff of the American Philosophical Society, the Carpenters’ Company, including Mr. Charles Jackson, Cus­todian of the Hall, and Miss Louise Hall of Duke University.

The extensive collection of manuscripts, bound and unbound, in the library of the Carpenters’ Company are not organized so this w:riter was unable to make complete use of them in the time so far available.

BUILDING TH E HALLProbably the oldest builders’ organization in the

United States is the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia.2 The year of its founding was 1724. The town was then still young and Ben Franklin—also young—had just come down from Bos­ton to try his fortune as a journeyman printer. It was the beginning of a great era.

The new association was formed “for the purpose of obtaining instruction in the science of architecture and assisting such of their members as should by accident be in need of support, or the widows and minor children of members. . . . ” 3 The names of the ten original asso-

2 At the time of incorporation—in 1790—the founders were referred to as “House Carpenters.” Beyond the maintenance of a library, nothing has been published about the program of the Company for architectural training, although it is known that classes were conducted in the nineteenth century. The dis­bursem*nt of relief funds for disabled members and families of the deceased was an important function and is often detailed in the records.

3 The Act of Incorporation of 1790 by the Pennsylvania96

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VOL. 43 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 97ciators have been preserved 4 but the records of the first forty years were long ago lost. That founder James Portues bequeathed the Company his architectural books in 1734, that the Company itself made an appropriation for this purpose in 1736 and that a second company of carpenters was assimilated in 1752 are the only tradi­tions which have been preserved for this early period.5 Presumably meetings were held in the homes of mem­bers or in taverns, as were those of Franklin’s Junto, or­ganized about the same time.6

The exact professional nature of the association in the earliest years is likewise obscure. Membership in the Company seems always to have tended towards master carpenters rather than journeymen. In this way it was more of a contractors’ organization than a trades union in the modern sense. The Reverend Manasseh Cutler of Ipswich mentioned the Company in 1787 as “a num­ber of wealthy mechanics, principally Carpenters.” 7 In 1818 it was described by the English architect La- trobe as a “rich & numerous Guild.” 8 But the master carpenter, while trained as a mechanic in the use of tools was more than a carpenter. He shared the duties of the architect and the contractor of today. The mem­bers of the Carpenters’ Company and their competitors were thus responsible for much of the design and con-General Assembly states that “. . . in the year one thousand seven hundred and twenty-four, a number of the House Car­penters of the City and County of Philadelphia formed them­selves into a Company.” Charter, By-Laws, Rules and Regu­lations of the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia, 5, Phila., Patterson & White, 1916.

4 The ten original members, with notes by Joseph Jackson, w ere:Joseph (or John) Henmarsh, who died in 1741.James Porteus (or Portis) [Portues], who died in 1737.Samuel Powell, referred to in Watson’s Annals as “The Rich

Carpenter,” who died in 1756.Jacob Usher. There are no records of Usher’s death in Phila­

delphia, and as there later was probated a will of another of the same family, who was reported as having been of this city, but later of Virginia, it is possible that this Usher spent the remainder of his life in the latter province.

Edmund Woolley, who died in 1771, who was the original builder of the State House, now Independence Hall.

Joseph Harrison, w'ho died in 1734.John Nichols (or Nicholas) who died in 1756.John Harrison, who was one of the builders of Christ Church,

and who died in 1760.Benjamin Clark, who died in 1744.Isaac Zane, of whose death there does not appear to be any

record, but that he was living in 1749 is shown by his having been recorded as executor of an estate in that year.5 Joseph Jackson, Early Philadelphia architects and engineers,

39, 40, Philadelphia, 1923. The Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia (CC), n.a., 57, Phila., 1887.

6 Carl Van Doren, Benjamin Franklin, 72, London, Putnam, 1939. Until the building of Carpenters’ Hall, there seems to have been no meeting place in Philadelphia for hire.

7 Life, journals and correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler 1 : 281, Cincinnati, 1888.

8 Latrobe to Jefferson, Baltimore, March 7, 1818, ThomasJefferson and the National Capital, Saul K. Padover, Ed., 493,Washington, U. S. Govt. Print. Off., 1946.

struction of what was growing to be the largest and best- built city in the English colonies. Before the Revolu­tion, hundreds of houses were built annually and it took hundreds of carpenters to do it. Only a relatively few were ever admitted to the Company. There were rival organizations, but none of them achieved the prominence of the original group.

Professor Summerson’s remarks about building de­sign in the London of Sir Christopher W ren’s time ap­ply equally well to Philadelphia a century later:

There was, let us remember, no architectural profession, no definite body of men styling themselves “architect” ; the term had a very special, and highly intellectual, significance. Building was carried on under the supervision of artisans calling themselves masons, bricklayers, or carpenters, and such men worked to a code handed down from the middle ages and merely modified by successive generations of craftsmen. London consisted almost entirely of the work of such men. “A rchitecture” was a very different thing. I t was best understood in Italy, and gentlemen who had been to Italy, and even those who had not, were expected to know something about it.9Although the bricklayers, the stone-cutters, the plas­terers, and other mechanical trades had their own asso­ciations in Philadelphia, none of them became as well established as the Carpenters’ Company.

The Philadelphia organization was undoubtedly fash­ioned after the trade guilds of England of which the Worshipful Company of Carpenters of London is the best known. The latter originated in medieval times and its regulations were codified in a Book of Ordi­nances made September 1, 1333, in the reign of Edward III. Aid to members injured “as by falling down of a house or hurting of an eye or other divers sicknesses” and a decent burial for the dead were main objectives.10 The account books of the present organization go back to the year 1438 and the charter from Edward IV to

9 John Summerson, Heavenly mansions, 62, N. Y., Chas. Scribner’s Sons 1948. The life and opportunities of an eighteenth-century carpenter are described in an anonymous English book, intended to help choose a life’s occupation for a young man:

“CARPENTERS . . . a Lad for this Trade ought to be stout, ingenious, write a tolerable Hand, understand Arithmetic, Geometry, and Architecture, without which Qualifications they are often little better than Labourers.

“Their working Hours are from six to six, and their Wages commonly 15 j a Week, but some make more. With an Appren­tice they take from 10 to 20 l.

“To set up a Sort of a jobbing Master does not require a great deal besides tools; but there are several Degrees of them up to what are termed Master-Builders, who had need have a good deal of Judgement and Money too; and some of these are also Surveyors and Draughtsmen, whose chief Business is todraw Plans, survey and estimate other Men’s Works”-----------(n.a., A general description of all trades, digested in alphabetical order, 55, London, 1747.)

The first real study of the American carpenter-architect evolu­tion is under way by Louise Hall of Duke University.

10 H. Westbury Preston, The Worshipful Company of Car­penters, 25-29, London, Geo. W. Jones 1933.

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1477 when the members were referred to as “the Free­men of the Mystery of Carpentry of our City of London.11

The oldest record book preserved among the manu­scripts of the Philadelphia Company shows that by 1763 the erection of a meeting hall was being contemplated:. . . the following Members was appointed Jos. Fox Jno Thornhill Jno Goodwin, Benjn Loxley & Guning Bedford to fix upon a Propper Lott of Ground to Build a Hall for the Use of the Sd. Compy.12 . . . to meet in as occasion may require, to Transact the Business of Sd. Compy. & to Calculate & Settle their private Accots of measuring & Valueing Carpenters work.13Five years later a site on the south side of Chestnut Street was acquired in the name of three members—

paid. The property ran back 255 feet to Howel’s tan- yard on the south branch of Dock Creek and behind the old public school on Fourth S treet15 (fig. 3).

Plans for development were soon under consideration and at the meeting of April 18, 1768, it was recorded thattakeing into Consideration the Improvement of their Lott Mr. Smith Exhibited Sketch for a Building to be thereon Erected & the Members W are desired to Consider When Will be a proper time to Begin the Building &c.lsWhether or not Robert Smith, who was one of the most influential architects and master carpenters of his period, drew these plans himself is not known. At any rate he was one of the moving spirits of the project.

F ig. 3. Lukens MS Plat, 1785. Carpenters’ Hall was built between two branches of Dock Creek (west to the top). Free Library of Philadelphia.

Benjamin Loxley, Thomas Nevell, and Robert Smith.14 This was a narrow lot with a sixty-six foot frontage on which there were already some buildings, and for which a ground rent of 176 Spanish milled pieces of eight were

11 Edward Basil Jupp, An historical account of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters of the City of London, London. 1848. A more extensive work, not available in Philadelphia, is Bower Marsh, ed., Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, Oxford, 1913-16 (6 v.?).

12 Meeting of April 18, 1763. The Act [of] Incorporation and By-Lazvs of the Carpenters’ Company, (AIBLC C ) MS, CC Library.

13 Warden’s Book, 1769-1781, MS, CC Library. In 1770 a letter mentions “The Carpenters Company that now are Joined and became members of the Old Company, which has subsisted for upwards of thirty years” (CC Library, Minutes of the Friendship Carpenters Company, MS, Robert Smith to FCC, Philadelphia, August 20, 1770).

14 Philadelphia Deed Book 14: 146 (February 3, 1768).

Before the end of the year the Company began to improve the buildings already on their lot. At least one of them was to be rented out for the benefit of the Company’s treasury. Two years later the Company was ready to build their new Hall. On January 20, 1770, title in the lot was tranferred from Gunning Bed­ford et al.17 and at a meeting on the thirtieth it was voted to proceed.18 Twenty-two members subscribed

15 This was the first public school in Philadelphia, founded in 1689 under George Keith. The school house, two stories high, brick, 35' X 60', was built in 1745 and demolished in 1867. The Fourth Street Meeting House, built 1763, stood within the same enclosure (demolished 1859). Watson W. Dewees, Historical Sketch of the William Forrest Estate, The Friend 89: 10, 11, 20.

1«AIBLCC, 17.17 Philadelphia Deed Book L7, 48.18 Act to Incorporate the Carpenters’ Company, etc., n.a.,

Phila., 1873 ed. (A1CC), 39-41.

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VOL. 43 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 99nearly two hundred pounds 19 and a few days later— February 5—construction was begun.20

Progress may be roughly followed by entries in the account books of payments for materials and labor. These are samples:1770

Sept. 18 Cellar excavation and furnishing bricks 21Oct. — CupolaOct. 22 Shingling roofNov. 12 CorniceDec. 20 Vane and ball

1771Oct. 24 Planing floor and fencing alley

1772May 14 Gothic sashes for front windows Dec. 30 Lath

1773Jan. 14 Sash pulleysJan. 20 Stone StepsFeb. 1 DoorsDec. 21 Painting and glazing

1774Apr. 8 Plastering Aug. 7 Stairs

The fact that ¿300 was borrowed of Joseph Fox early in 1773 for the completion of the building provides a check on construction progress.22 On December 22, 1773, the Hall was surveyed for fire insurance and a policy for £750 taken out with the Contributionship for the Assurance of Houses against Loss by Fire, that

19 The original list of subscribers w as:James Pearson ¿16John Goodwin 16Robert Smith 20Joseph Rush 4/5/11James Davis 10John Hitchco*ck 5John Keen 4Silas Engles 6Levi Budd 3Guning Bedford 12Mathew McGlathery 4William Lownes 6James Graisbury 6James Potter 4Isaac Coats 20George Wood 6William Robinson 6Joseph Govett 4Samuel Powell 4Abraham Carlile 12Ezekial Worrell 4Joseph Fox 24

¿196/5/11Committee report of July 18, 1814. ACM.

20 A1CC, 31.21 John Harper was paid 2/12/0 for hauling thirteen loads of

ballast stone for the foundations.22 CC. 40. For a life of Joseph Fox (ca. 1710-1779) see

Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog., 32: about 178-196, 1908. Fox got his start as an apprentice to James Portues and was a bene­ficiary of his will.

venerable company, whose records are a treasure house for architectural historians (see Appendix IV ).

The architectural effect, however, was not quite com­plete—even in the spring of 1775—but the Company had extended itself far enough for the time being; “it was now agreed that as their Hall is now so far finished Accomadate the Compy that no More Money be Ex­pended on their premises untill the Sums advanced by the Several members be fully paid—Except it be for necessary Repair. . . .” 23 This was the day after the Battle of Lexington and it was not until well after the W ar was over that the main doorways were finally added.24

The first recorded use of the new Hall was for a meeting of the Carpenters’ Company on January 21, 1771, 25 This meeting, in the dead of winter—with the glass not yet in the windows—does not seem to have been repeated. Probably it was held as an inspection of progress, many of the members having their journey­men at work there. By January of 1774, however, completion was nearing and arrangements were made for furnishing chairs and tables for the ground floor.26 In April it was proposed to appoint a caretaker to keep the Hall and its furniture in order and to tend the fires.27

23 Warden’s Book. 103 (April 20, 1775).24 Architecturally, the building never seems to have attracted

much attention, probably because of its “somewhat retired” location. When it was new, young Solomon Drowne of Rhode Island called it “very pretty” (S. Drowne to Hon’d. Parents, Philadelphia, Oct. 3, 1774, Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 48: 231, 1924), The turret may be seen over the tops of trees in the Charles Willson Peale view of the State House in 1778, and a little more in the Columbian Magazine view of January, 1790, but it was never included as a feature in the collections of William Birch and J. C. Wild, for instance. Except from a few historical writers, the structure seems to have had little popular attention before its restoration in 1857.

The old Northampton County Courthouse at Easton, Pa., built 1765, demolished 1862, has often been compared with it. An old copper plate view of this two-story cruciform building may be seen in Hist. Soc. Penna., Stauffer Collection 4 : 373.

William J. Heller, History of Northampton County, N. Y., Amer. Hist. Soc., 1920 states that the courthouse in the central square at Easton “was modeled after Carpenters’ Hall.” How­ever, the Philadelphia building was built later and it is possible that the reverse was true—that an up-state courthouse design was re-used by the Carpenters’ Company. Certainly the Hall, with four equal gables would be less surprising found in a public square approached from four sides than heading up the narrow courtyard where it was actually built.

Another user of the Hall in this very early period was “The Society of Englishmen and Sons of Englishmen, established at Philadelphia, for the Advice and Assistance of Englishmen in Distress” who held their quarterly meeting there on January 23, 1775. Penna. Gazette, Jan. 18, 1775.

25 AICC, 31, 42.20 Ibid., 42.27 Meeting of April 26, 1774. CC, 40. On March 24, 1773 “a

black woman” was paid four shillings “for cleaning the west chamber,” CCAM. A regular custodial service was apparently not set up until 1776. At a meeting on January 26 it was de­cided to pay a Mrs. Lefever (who had already been working at the Hall) a stipend of ten pounds per year for tending to the building.

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TH E LIBRARY UPSTAIRSWhen Carpenters’ Hall was about half completed, the

Library Company of Philadelphia, a famous institution founded by Benjamin Franklin, was offered the oppor­tunity of renting part of it.28 The Library, then in the State House, was particularly short of space for its “philosophical apparatus.” 29 The use of one room for ¿20 per year was at first considered,30 but by the time arrangements were completed, the whole second floor had been leased for five years at ¿36.

This agreement was reached on October 26, 1772, and the Carpenters’ Company proceeded “to furnish the House ready for the Library Company to move in.31 The latter appointed a committee for fitting up the new quarters and Thomas Nevell of the Carpenters’ Com­pany was engaged to do the joinery. The minute book shows that the new furnishings included carved cabinets and book shelves protected by wire lattice work. The windows were fitted with inside shutters32 and the rooms heated by open fire.33 A dozen Windsor chairs,34 35 six brass sconces,33 and two chandeliers36 were also provided. The Library Company moved in September 6, 1773.37 According to a contemporary letter “The books are kept in one large Room and in another hand­some Appartment the Apparatus is deposited and the Directors meet.” 38

The following year, as the Continental Congress con­vened on the lower floor, the Directors of the Library Company offered “the use of such Books as they may have occasion for during their sitting, taking a receipt

28 AICC, 42 (Jan. 20, 1772).29 Minutes of the Proceedings of the Library Company of

Philadelphia (M PDLC ) MS, Library Company of Philadelphia, Jan. 10, 1772.

30 Ibid., June 29, 1772. In 1769, before the Hall was started, it had been proposed that a building be erected jointly with the Library Company. Wardens Book, April 17, 1769.

31 MPDLC, Oct. 26, 1772.32 Ibid., Apr. 24, 1773.33 Ibid., June 4, 1786. Changed to a stove in 1786. See also ibid., Mar. S, 1789.3*Ibid., Apr. 24, 1773.35 Ibid., Aug. 30, 1773.36 Ibid., Nov. IS, 1773. The chandeliers, made by Gabriel

Valois for £7/10, had carved and gilt roses.37 Pennsylvania Gazette, Sept. 8, 1773.38 MPDLC 2: 93. (Letter of December 28, 1773.) The

West Room was the “Apparatus Room.” A novelty was offeredthe philosophically-minded by Librarian Francis Damon (whoalso taught Latin and French, boarded young gentlemen at hishouse in Laetitia Court opposite the pump and sold instruments and apparatus). “He had also to dispose of a few SKY OPTICBALLS, to be fixed in the shutter of a window, to make aCAMERA OBSCURA, which will represent objects in theirnatural colours on a screen, so that the most exact drawings maybe made of them by any person who can handle a pencil. Ex­periments of this curious machine may be seen every afternoon at the Library Room in Carpenters’ Hall. . . Pennsylvania Packet, July 24, 1774, postscript.

Another organization to use the building at this time was the Tailors’ Company who had a room for 10 shillings a night with a closet and firewood thrown in. AIBLCC, 77 (Dec. IS, 1773).

for them. The Secretary waited upon Peyton Ran­dolph, Chairman of the Congress . . . with this offer and he was pleased to say he was much obliged.” 39

When the Revolutionary War got under way, the Di­rectors became apprehensive for the safety of the library and asked for authority to remove the books “in case any future Event should render that Measure necessary.” 40 The Library stayed, as it turned out, although its opera­tion was embarrassed by the use of the building as a hospital by both the American and British armies.41 High wartime prices added problems, and, after the evacuation of the British in 1778, firewood and candles became so dear as to shorten the hours of opening.42 * * * * *

The Reverend Manasseh Cutler of Ipswich, Massa­chusetts, left us with the best description of the Library just after the w ar:

Soon after dinner, the bell of the Church near Carpen­ter’s Hall rang, which informed us that the Library of the Hall was open, for the purpose of receiving and delivering books. W e immediately repaired to it, as it was a favorable opportunity for viewing every part.In the east room upstairs he found the book collection. . . large and excellent . . . now become the public library of the University and the city. Every modern author of any note, I am told, is to be met with here, and large addi­tions are annually made. The books appeared to be well arranged and in good order. But the number of books, and the arrangem ent, are not so large nor so ornamental as the library a t Cambridge, but approaches nearer to it than any other on the continent. I was pleased with a kind of net­work doors to the book-shelves, which is made of a large wire sufficiently open to read the labels, but no book can be taken out unless the librarian unlocks the door. This is a necessary security from any persons taking books without the knowledge of the librarian. H ere were a large number of gentlemen. I was introduced to a number of the mem­bers of the Philosophical Society.

From the Library we were conducted into the Cabinet, which is a large room on the opposite side of the entry, and over the room where the Mechanical models are de­posited. H ere we had the pleasure of viewing a most ex­cellent collection of natural curiosities from all parts of the globe. They are well arranged, and are contained princi­pally on shelves which are inclosed, having glass casem*nts in front, the panes of which are very large. Here is a tooth of the large animals found in the Ohio Country, which weighs five pounds, and a thigh bone, four feet and some inches in length, and very thick in proportion to its length. The articulations have a fine polish, and the body of the bone is smooth. It is of a dark color, as is also the greater part of the tooth, which is one of the grinders. The thigh bone was on a high shelf, where I could not well make the attempt to lift i t ; but, by the weight of one end, which I raised from the shelf, judged that it would scarcely be in my power to take it up from the ground. There are several botanical volumes in this Museum, lately published. They are folios, and every plant is represented in large copper­plate cuts, colored from nature, very large and finely exe­cuted. The author’s name I can not recollect. They were

39 MPDLC, Aug. 31, Sept. 29, 1774.40 Ibid., May 7, 1776.41 Ibid., March 11, 1777. AICC, 32-45.42 Ibid., Nov. 12, 1778 (? ) .

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VOL. 43 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 101presents, and no person is to be permitted to take them out, but may examine them here as much as they please. For this reason they are in the Museum, and not in the Library.43

Johann David Schopf, a German visitor and perhaps more sophisticated, wrote that “the number of books is not very great” and that the librarians “could not always find books named in the catalogue.” In looking over the collection of minerals he complained that he could find “no indication of name or place of discovery.” 44

As the years passed by, the book collection increased in size and value, and the Directors were not satisfied with the fire safety of the building, the lower floor and basem*nt of which were used for a great variety of purposes.45 By 1784, when the Carpenters’ Company was asking more than double the original rent,46 the Directors of the Library began to look around for a new location. Eventually they decided to build a new build­ing, and on its completion in 1790 they moved out of Carpenters’ Hall and turned in the keys which they had held for seventeen years.47

TH E FIRST CONTINENTAL CONGRESSThe storm clouds of the American Revolution were

gathering fast while the lower floor of the Hall was being finished. News of closing the Port of Boston


43 Cutler 1: 282, 283.44 Johann David Schopf, Travels in the Confederation, 86, 87, Phila., W. J. Campbell, 1911. A bound manuscript in the col­lections of the Library Company, An account of expenses, gives some homely details of these upstairs quarters:Sept. 1, 1787 “Paid for repairing the Lanthorn on the

Stairs —/7/6“A Cord of Hickory Wood 1/8/6Paid for Wharfa*ge and hauling 1/3/4Sawing ditto —/4 /—Carrying ditto up-stairs and piling it —/3/—The Amount of John Weddifield’s Ac­count, for making a Door and procuring Materials for the Chimney in the Library Room —/18/3for S lbs. of Candles at 10“* —/4/2for a Pair of Sconces 9/ and a pair of tin Save-alls 2 / —/9 /—for Sweeping the two Chimneys and cleaning the Stove Pipes —/2 /—Paid for sweeping the two Chimnies and cleaning the Stove-pipes —/2 /—Paid for six Mouse-traps —/4/3”

45 MPDLC , Feb. 1, 1787.46 Ibid., Feb. 20, 1783.47 The moving seems to have taken place on or about October

1. Ibid., Sept. 23, Oct. 7, 1790. The improvements left behind were sold to the Carpenters’ Company for i l l :5 :10—1 /2. Ibid., Nov. 4, 1790, Mar. 3, 1791. These were said a partition and five window shutters. (Affadavit, Jan. S, 1791, Library Co. of Phila., uncatalogued Papers.)

An account by Zachariah Poulson, October 7, 1790 shows that the Library Company washed the windows and whitewashed the “old Apartments” as they left (ibid).

The history of the new building, Charles E. Peterson, Library H a ll: Home of the Library Company of Philadelphia, 1790— 1880, was published in Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 95 (3) : 266- 285, 1951, and is republished in this issue.

Dec. 3

Dec. 22

Aug. 28. Nov. 5Dec. 4Oct. 17, 1789 Nov. 5

reached Philadelphia in May, 1774, and fanned anti- British sentiment to a new pitch.

A “very large and respectable” public meeting was called on June 15 and a committee of forty-three was named to raise a subscription for the relief of Boston. Resolutions were passed condemning the conduct of Parliament, asserting the rights of the colonists, and recommending the organization of a general congress to represent all the provinces.48 Committees of Corre­spondence met up and down the coast and suitable ar­rangements were soon developed for an assembly to sit at Philadelphia in less than three months. Master Car­penter Robert Smith, like some other members of the Carpenters’ Company, was active in this movement and was soon appointed to the Philadelphia “Committee of Correspondence” which met at Carpenters’ Hall on June 27.49 The latter was the only available privately-owned meeting place in the city and anti-government political sessions were held there off and on all summer.

Already there were two well-defined factions. Jo­seph Galloway, conservative Speaker of the Provincial Assembly, controlled the use of the Pennsylvania State House two blocks away. Charles Thomson, staunch revolutionary spirit and Galloway’s open adversary, served as secretary to the rebellious faction at Carpen­ters’ Hall.

There were both social and business implications. Resistance to Britain was being organized on a broad basis and those marshalling public sentiment were court­ing the favor and support of the tradespeople and me­chanics. In Boston the boycott against British goods had been originated and “carried thro’ by the two vener­able orders of men stiled Mechanicks & husbandmen” and the propaganda published on this occasion went on to call them “the strength of every community.” 50 The Philadelphia carpenters were considered to be the most influential and best organized of the industrial bodies and the choice of their Hall was an expression of the growing democratic outlook. Up until then the me­chanic had not been consulted about the affairs of gov­ernment. Their opposite numbers—mechanics of New Y ork51 and Baltimore 52 * * *—were likewise addressed po­litically and organized into the movement. These scat­tered groups kept in touch with each other.

The Philadelphia newspapers took up the contro­versy ; the Royalist papers threatened the Carpenters’

48 John Fanning Watson, Annals of Philadelphia, 279, 1884 ed.49 Pennsylvania Packet, June 15, 27, 1774. The Packet for

July 25 announced another meeting of this Committee at Car­penters’ Hall.50 Ralph Volney Harlow, Samuel Adams, 227, N. Y., Holt, 1923.

51 The Pennsylvania Packet, May 30, 1774, announced that the merchants and mechanics of New York had reached an agreement relating to their Committee of Correspondence.

52 “Merchants and respectable mechanics of this town met atthe Court House and appointed a committee to correspond withthe neighboring colonies. . . .” Maryland Journal, May 28,1774.

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Company for letting their hall be used for such subver­sive assemblies 53 and the Pennsylvania Packet main­tained a lively opposition. “Schoolmaster” on June 13, 1774, says, . . as there is no end of oppression, when fairly established in any country, we must expect tax after tax as long as the inhabitants are able to pay any. . . . It will be the same with the Labourer and Me­chanic; for the man who now earns 3s a day, will not receive more than 1/6, and perhaps not so much. . . .” On July 18, 1774, there was a meeting of the Pennsyl­vania Provincial Committee in the Hall.54 But the local movement was soon overshadowed by the rush of na­tional affairs towards the crisis.

As the delegates to the first Continental Congress began to gather early in September, two meeting places were advocated—-Joseph Galloway offered the State House and the Carpenters’ Company again offered their Hall. The State House was overwhelmingly turned down and Carpenters’ Hall was again selected.

The specific process was not without interest as de­scribed in letters of the period. John Adams, delegate from Massachusetts who had arrived in Philadelphia on August 29, took a stroll about the city the following day and noted in his journal that he had seen Carpenters’ Hall “where Congress is to sit.” 56 But the matter had not yet been publicly and officially settled, for on Sep­tember 5 Adams wrote the account often quoted in this connection:

The members met at the City (or Sm ith’s) Tavern, at ten o’clock, and walked to the Carpenters’ Hall, where they took a view of the room, and of the chamber where is an excel­lent lib rary; there is also a long entry where gentlemen may walk, and a convenient chamber opposite to the library. The general cry was, that this was a good room, and the question was put, whether we were satisfied with this room ? and it passed in the affirmative. A very few were for the negative, and they were chiefly from Pennsylvania and New York.56

53 Charles J. Cohen, The origin of Carpenters’ Hall, Phila­delphia, with incidents of the neighborhood, Proc. Numismatic and Antiquarian Soc. Phila. 28: 12S, 1919.

54 AIBLCC, 90.55 Charles Francis Adams, Ed., The works of John Adams 2:

358, Boston, 1865.56 Ibid. 2 : 365.The incident is described more particularly by James Duane:“The Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly having offered

the Congress the use of the State house; and the Carpenters the use of their Hall. It was agreed to take a View of each.“We proceeded to the Carpenter’s Hall. Mr. Lynch proposed the Question whether that was in all respects suitable it ought not to be fixed upon without further Enquiry.“I observed that if the State house was equally convenient it ought to be preferred being a provincial and the Carpenter’s Hall a private House. And besides, as it was tendered by the Speaker it seemed to be a piece of respect which was due to him, at least to enquire whether the State House was not equally convenient. The Question was however called for; and a great Majority fixed upon the Carpenters hall.”Edmund C. Burnett, Ed., Letters of members of the Continental Congress 1: 8, Washington, Carnegie Inst, of Wash. 1921. Ac­cording to Silas Deane the choice was “. . . highly agreeable

A delegate from New Jersey noted that the sentiment was so strong that he and his colleagues did not dare oppose it. Both the selection of the Hall and that of Charles Thomson as secretary were decisions “privately settled by an interest made out of Doors.” 57

On the first day, forty-six delegates presented their credentials, elected a president, selected a secretary, a doorman, and a messenger, and then adjourned for the day.58

These were bold m en; their lives were at stake. On September 7 Charles Carroll wrote home to his father in Annapolis “I believe the Congress will not continue to set long, particularly in this place, should the news brought yesterday by an express prove true.” 59 The Congress, however, sat at Carpenters’ Hall some seven weeks (fig. 4). During those momentous secret ses­sions a manifest of grievances against the British gov­ernment was adopted, addresses were prepared for the King and for the English people, the bold resistance of Massachusetts commended, and a general embargo of British goods adopted. Committees of “safety and in­spection” were authorized to implement these policies,60 which eventually prevailed through years of war and hardship.

Galloway, it will be remembered, subsequently col­laborated with the British as they occupied Philadelphia (he had the titles of “City Administrator” and super­intendent of police and of the port). But afterwards he had to flee to England and his property was confis­cated.01 Thomson, who had cast his lot with the other side, was to serve nearly fifteen years as secretary to the Continental Congress.

Solomon Drowne, a medical student from Providence, Rhode Island, in a letter home gives us an outsider’s view of these proceedings:They assembled at about 9 or 10 Oclock a.m . and break up at about 3 p .m . not meeting but once in a Day . . . Govr. Hopkins went with us into the Hall, which is a very con­venient and somewhat retired Place. H e told us there were 52 Delegates in the Whole, whom I have been since retiring together from Council. My Blood thrilled thro’ my Veins at the agreeable, Pleasant View of so many noble and sage Patriots, met in the great Cause of Liberty.62to the mechanics and citizens in general, but mortifying to the last degree to Mr. Galloway and his party. . . .” Ibid. 1: 11. Bancroft, without citing his source, wrote “from respect for the mechanics, it was accepted by a great majority.” George Bancroft, History of the United States of America 4: 392, Boston, 1879.

57 New Jersey Archives.56 Ibid. 1: 27.59 Maryland Historical Society, Carroll Papers (MS) 3: 69.60 Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard, The rise of American

civilisation, 229, 230, N. Y., Macmillan, 1934 ed.61 Dictionary of American Biography, N. Y., Charles Scrib­

ner’s Sons, 1931.62 S. Drowne to Honour’d Sir, Philadelphia, Oct. 5, 1774,

Pentta. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 48: 232, 1924.While the political debates of this body have been preserved

and published, no account of the building in use seems to be available. On the ground floor at this time there were two simi­

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VOL ¿ 3 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 103

F ig. 4. “The First Prayer in Congress," copyright 1848. T. H. Matteson’s erroneous reconstruction of Carpenters’ Hall interior as of 1774. Independence Hall Collection.

When war finally broke out in the spring of 1775, Congress, returning to Philadelphia, was able to transfer its sessions to the more commodious State House. Car­penters’ Hall continued in use by other groups. Several important political bodies preoccupied with Revolution­ary matters used it that year, various Pennsylvania groups among them. The Congressional Committee of Safety63 and the Committee on American Manufac­tures 64 also met there and as did the main body of Con­gress for the funeral of Peyton Randolph, its first President.65

Had not Philadelphia been so conspicuous in the theater of national politics during the Revolutionary period, another convention held in Carpenters’ Hall would be known as one of the most famous occasions in Pennsylvania history. This was the Provincial Con­vention of Pennsylvania held there June 18-25, 1776.

The decision to secede from England had taken a long time and much promotion to reach. When the North-lar rooms, approximately 18' X 28', on either side of the central hallway, each served by a fireplace. The east-room was used.

63 Richard K. Betts, Carpenters’ Hall and its historic mem­ories, 26, 1893 ed.

64 Jackson, Encyclopedia of Philadelphia 2: 376, Harrisburg,Natl. Hist. Assn. 1931. Marshall, 16.

«» A ICC, 32.

era and Southern colonies were ready, the Middle colo­nies, especially Pennsylvania, were still hesitant. Con­servatism, usually charged to mercantile self-interest and to Quakerism, kept Philadelphia loyal, even though the back country with its German and Scotch-Irish popula­tion was anxious to cooperate with the radicals. By May 15, 1776, the Continental Congress had gone so far as to adopt a resolution urging the colonies “to assume all the powers of Government.” John Adams called it “the most important Resolution that has ever been taken in America . . . an Epoch; a decisive event.” Copies of the resolution were dispatched north and south and one was read to a large crowd in the State House Yard on May 20. The Pennsylvania Assembly was declared incompetent to handle the emergency and quick steps were taken to organize a new government “on the Au­thority of the People only.” The Committee of the City and Liberties of Philadelphia called for a convention to organize a new government for the province.

Many eminent men, including Benjamin Franklin and Dr. Benjamin Rush, were delegates to this convention, which met at Carpenters’ Hall.66 Colonel Thomas Mc-

66 Among the ten members from Berks County were Colonel Henry Haller and Colonel Nicholas Lotz who became Wagon Master General and Commissioner of Forage and Supplies for the Continental Army, Charles Shoemaker, later Solicitor for

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Kean of Philadelphia was chosen president. On the first day it was unanimously agreed to follow the other colonies in seceding from England and to call a constitu­tional convention for the province. The second day the qualifications for franchise were discussed, a petitition from some Philadelphia Germans praying that all who were taxable be allowed to vote. This was a particu­larly important point to the ‘“Associators,” a radical group which included the middle stratum of Philadel­phia and the western settlers who had had little repre­sentation in the old Assembly. The convention went so far as to levy forty-five hundred militia, or six bat­talions, on the province and summonses were sent out for the constitutional convention planned for the follow­ing month. The Continental Congress was notified that Pennsylvania desired independence and the session ended with a dinner at the Indian Queen Tavern.*17

This memorable convention, like most of the states­manship of the times, had “no legal foundation nor any basis at law, yet it was successful in all it undertook.” The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776 which resulted soon afterwards is said to have had more important and far-reaching efifects than any other of the new state constitutions.67 68

As the fighting came closer, the atmosphere of Phila­delphia became more military. The lower floor of the Hall was commandeered as an infirmary for disabled American soldiers under the command of General Gates,69 and the cellar by the Army as office and store­house.70 When Philadelphia was evacuated and occu­pied by the British army in September 1777, the Hall was continued as a hospital.71 It had also to shelter in­mates of the city almshouse turned out for the quartering of British troops.72 The following June the city was re­occupied by the Americans and the Continental Army was back in the Hall. The Barrack-Master had sud­denly called on the Carpenters’ Company for space 73 and the lower floor and cellar were taken over by ColonelContinental Loans, and Joseph Heister, U. S. Senator and Congressman and Governor of Pennsylvania. Captain Benjamin Loxley of Philadelphia, member of the Carpenters’ Company, was also a delegate.

67 James E. Gibson, The Pennsylvania Provincial Conference of 1776, Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 58: (4) : 312-341, 1934.68 J. Paul Selsam, The Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776,

136-145, Phila., Univ. of Penna. Press, 1936. J. Paul Selsam and Joseph G. Rayback, French comment on the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776, Penna. Mag. Hist & Biog. 76: (3) : 311, 1952.

69 MPDLC, Mar. 11, 1777.70 CC, 63. It was later decided (Oct. 23, 1778) that the rent

for Army use in this period would be £60 per annum, CC, 42.71AICC, 32-45. About June 1, 1777 one John Hanlon had

rented a part of the building. His rent was substantially re­adjusted later because the British had interfered with his oc­cupancy. CC, 42.

72 The diary of Robert Morton, Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 1:35, Dec. 8, 1777, says “The poor are very much necessitated, areturned out of the Bettering house, put into Fourth Street meet­ing house, the Lodge and the Carpenters’ Hall.”

?3 Warden's Book, 117. Rent, £110 per annum.

Flower, Commissary-General of Military Stores, and various ordnance shops were set up on the lot.74

The military supplies at the Hall temporarily assumed tactical importance when “Fort Wilson” (the house of James Wilson in an adjoining block) was surrounded by a mob during a local riot of 1779. General Nichols and Daniel Clymer of the defending party “proceeded hastily to the Arsenal at Carpenters’ Hall, and filled their pockets with cartridges: this constituted their whole supply.” 75 The mob was held off.

The Continental Congress returned to Carpenters’ Hall briefly on June 21, 1783, when their usual meeting place—the State House—was besieged by mutinous vet­erans of the Continental Army. After this unhappy oc­casion the body then adjourned to Princeton “grossly insulted by the disorderly and menacing appearance of armed soldiers.” 76

AFTER TH E WARAll through the 1780’s—which saw the end of the

Revolutionary War—-the Commissary-General of the Continental Army occupied the main floor of Carpen­ters’ Hall—and its basem*nt—and the Library Company remained on the second floor. The American Philo­sophical Society for a time used the west, or “apparatus room” of the latter. Just where the Carpenters’ Com­pany itself met is not clear.

The Philosophical Society, founded by Benjamin Franklin and six associates in 1743 (and, therefore, the oldest learned society in this country) had met in vari­ous places. During most of the Revolutionary W ar meetings were suspended, but on April 7, 1780, the “Committee on Room” was directed to apply for joint use of the Library Company’s space.77 This was suc­cessful, for on April 11 the curators were ordered to move the Society’s effects from the University to Car­penters’ Hall.78 The minutes, however, identify only a fewr meetings held there and it was regarded as a tempo­rary measure at best.79

74 CC, 45. The rent was later raised to £180 on January 1, 1779. CC, 43. Jackson, Encyclopedia 2: 376, gives the 1778 occupant as “U. S. Barrackmaster.”

A brass-founder’s and file-cutter’s shop was built on part of the lot for what was probably the Board of War and Ordnance of the Continental Congress. CC, 46. A little later permission to erect a forge was denied. Ibid., 48. Richard Peters of Phila­delphia was Secretary of this board from 1778 to 1781. Benson J. Lossing, Pictorial field book of the Revolution 2: 661, 662, N. Y., 1851.

75 John Fanning Watson, Annals of Philadelphia 1: 425, 1879— 81 ed.

76 Frank Willing Leach, When our Revolutionary troops mutinied, The North American, May 30, 1915. In May of 1784 the Pennsylvania Society of Cincinnati met here while the na­tional body met at the State House and elected George Wash­ington President-General. Joseph Jackson, Washington in Philadelphia, Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 56: 138, 139, 1932.

77 Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 22 (119): 107, 1885. Amer. Philos. Soc. Archives, May 19, 1780. Report of Committee.

78 Ibid,, 108, 109.79 In most cases the place is not specified. On one occasion—

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VOL. 43 , P T . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 105For one thing, Carpenters’ Hall was not considered

secure against fire 80 and the Society was concerned for the safety of its scientific collections.81 The cases con­taining the library and books of natural history were put under the care of Librarian David Rittenhouse, who thought it best to move them to his home.82 By 1785 the Society had begun the construction of its own build­ing on Independence Square and it finally transferred there late in 1789, just as the Library Company was moving into its own new hall immediately across Fifth Street.83

Manasseh Cutler again left us a good description of the lower floor of Carpenters’ Hall in this period. He found there a sort of agricultural headquarters:As we entered the Hall, we went into a spacious middle entry, and turned to our right into the part of the Hall where the models of mechanical instruments and various kinds of machines are deposited. The room was very high and large, and contained models of almost every kind of farm ing in­struments, such as plows, harrows, hoes, spades, carts, wagons, etc., constructed in different forms, some in full size, others in m in iature; models of all kinds of mills, ma­chines for cleaning grain, dressing flax, hemp, e tc .; models in the several orders of Architecture, and various other me­chanical instruments, more than I am able to recollect. It is easy to conceive of the great utility of such a cabinet. Every ingenious man has a kind of bounty offered for the exertion of his inventive faculties, for here he may deposit his invention, which he may be assured will be received with particular attention and respect to h im ; and he has the pros­pect, if he is unable himself to carry it into experiment and use, that somebody else will do it, while he secures to him­self the honor of the invention, and satisfaction of rendering service, if it succeeds, to his fellow creatures.84In these surroundings met the local Agricultural So­ciety, founded 1785. General Washington noted in his diary that he attended one of its sessions the same year.85in September 1787—they met at Franklin’s own house. Ibid., 153. See Van Doren, 771, or A. H. Smyth, Writings of Ben­jamin Franklin 11 : 1, N. Y., Macmillan, 1906. Three meetings in December. 1783 were held at the University. Ibid., 120.

8° MPDLC 2 : 44.81 The state of the “natural curiosities” in the museum in the

spring of 1783 is reported on by Curators Samuel Duffield and Eben Hazard : "We find some of them to be absolutely perished: —from others the Spirit has totally evaporated; but we think they may still be preserved:—others stand in need of an Ad­dition of Spirit;—and the Remainder are in good Preservation.” (Amer. Philos. Soc. Archives, Apr. 2, 1783.)

»2Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 22 (119) : 119 (Nov. 21, 1783), 120 (Dec. 5, 1783), 1884.

83 Ibid., 130, 131, 134, 176.84 Cutler 1 : 281, 282.85 Washington’s Diary, July 3, 1787, quoted in Penna. Mag.

Hist. & Biog. 19: 183, 1895, The Columbian Magazine 1: 733,1787, noted a drill designed by Colonel George Morgan dis­played there in the autumn. Jacob Hiltzheimer mentioned a meeting at the Hall February 3, 1789. Mease, 266, described the Society as follows:“This society was formed in the year 1785, by some citizens, only a few of whom were actually engaged in husbandry, but who were convinced of its necessity, and of the assistance whichsuch an association, properly attended to, would afford to the interests of agriculture. The society continued to meet regularly

Passing over to the east room, where the Continental Congress had met, Cutler found a sort of historical and military collection:It is now improved as the depository of the Trophies of W ar which established and crowned that bold and glorious Declaration. These Trophies consist of pieces of Cannon, small-arms, side-arms of officers and men, Colors, standards, tents, military chests, and all the various accouterments of officers and m en; and many complete uniforms of different regiments, from field officers down to privates, collected principally from the two captured armies of Burgoyne and Cornwallis. There are also in this collection several tro ­phies captured by partisans of the American Army, in bold and desperate attempts, displayed in honor to those Heroes who obtained them.86

The first good pictorial record of Carpenters’ Hall appeared when Hall and Sellers of Philadelphia printed the Company’s first rule book in 1786. This is a rare work; only a handful of complete copies are known. Copper plate engravings of the floor plan and front ele­vation of the Hall were included 87 and they are repro­duced here (figs. 1 and 2). They were probably taken from the original working drawings, now lost. The front of the building is now pretty much as shown, ex­cept for some decorative urns on the roof.88 The “frontispiece,” or decorative doorway seen on the copper plate, was not added until four years later and with a somewhat modified design.

The first floor plan as engraved is most important to our understanding of the building. The partitions im­plied by the insurance survey of 1773 (defining a centralfor several years, and published numerous communications from practical men, in the newspapers of the day, on various inter­esting subjects; and thereby contributed to diffuse the knowledge of many improvements in agriculture; the general adoption whereof, has visibly tended to increase the product, and to improve the qualities of the soil of Pennsylvania.”

86 Cutler 1: 282. This is the only mention found of an his­torical museum in the building at that time. One cannot help wondering whether Cutler or his editors got mixed up with Independence Hall. The diary calls this the room where “the Declaration of the Independence of the United States of America was framed, signed, and declared by Congress.” In this he was, of course, mistaken. He may have been told that this was the place where the Province of Pennsylvania approved the Declara­tion of Independence, which could have been true.

87 Articles of the Carpenters Company of Philadelphia and their rules for measuring and valuing house carpenters work, Phila. 1786. The plates were not numbered. Miss Hall has shown that Thomas Nevell made the drawings on which the engravings were based. They were approved at a meeting July 18, 1785 and Nevell was paid $32.00 for them. On July 3, 1786 Thos. Bedwell, “Coper Plate Printer” was paid six pounds and on January 15, 1787, Hall and Sellers, fifteen pounds “for printing the Books of the rules for Measuring and Valueing house Carpenters work.” CCAB.

88 It is doubtful that the urns were ever placed. They are not mentioned in the rather detailed bills for work performed. If used originally, they were removed long ago. In the American climate such features on a shingle roof are likely to cause leaks. An unsuccessful attempt to locate the framing which would have supported these urns was made by the writer when the slate roof was removed in 1951.

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1 -

T r j

F ig. 5. Early Candle Sconces. Drawing by Kennedy of two fixtures preserved at the Hall and believed to be original. Hist. Soc. of Penna.

hallway through the building) are shown as dotted, indi­cating that their removal had either been accomplished, or was planned. As will be seen later, they had been missing at least as far back as 1801 when the ground floor was one large room. In other words, this major change in the first floor plan took place between 1787 and 1801.89

As the new building of the Library Company on Fifth Street [C, IV] was being finished in the summer of 1790, steps were taken to improve Carpenters’ Hall which would soon have its upper floor vacant for the first time. The architectural completion of the exterior was undertaken at this period.90 On July 19, 1790, a committee was appointed “to collect materials for the steps, frontispiece, and windows of Hall” 91 and on the

89 That it took place about 1786, when the copper plate plan was published, is suggested by two items in the Company’s account books :

[October 23, 1787]“By Cash Paid Samuel Pancoast for Columns for the Hall as pr Receipt. 2:1:8.”

[December 10, 1789]“Received of Thoms Shoemaker Esqr three pounds 3/9 for two Red Cedar Logs for Columns for the Carpenters Hall & hauling. Wm Williams 3:3:9” (CCAB).

Partitions in the lower hallway would have been bearing partitions and their removal would have posed a major structural problem. Two trusses were worked into the upstairs partitions so that the second floor is suspended, rather than supported from below. A truss of this type is shown in Appendix II, fig. S. The south end of these trusses rest on two columns evidently added at the time and still in place. It is likely that these are Shoemaker’s “Red Cedar Logs” and the Pancoast columns noted above.

90 The Columbian Magazine, 25, Jan., 1790, called the Hall “a roomy brick building ; fronting on a small avenue or court, lead­ing to it . . . the City Library, before mentioned, is kept here at present, and some of the apartments are occupied for public stores and offices. . . .”

91 CCAB, 53. “FRONTISPIECE . . . a subordinate fea­ture as a porch, [or] a doorway treated more elaborately thanthe rest of the façade, and more or less as a separate composition

following March 27 a decorative wooden doorway with arched head and a pediment over engaged Doric col­umns, was installed on the north or principal entrance.92 Two or three years later the frontispiece of the south entrance was added.93

A new tenant was soon found in the Bank of the United States. This institution had been organized at the suggestion of Alexander Hamilton, Secretary of the Treasury, whose department was housed at old Clark Hall on Chestnut Street in the same block. It had capi-

BANK of the UNITED STATES. Carpenter’* hall in Chefout between Third * F«

St*, on «be iTfci* !..__the 4tfe of July cic*pted)

uflHl 4 jQ aftymoffti »All bill* ae note* offered for difeeam filali be pratese*cd on Mnnday-or Tins rider, and laid before the «HreéL or*, together with the Bate of the food* o f dm Bank,every TaeWay and rH day; 'oh wfaRh day* da* difcoont Sull be let tied, and made known on Ua* inccMding• ÜjifcmiM* are made an perianal feenrity only, w ith at leaft tyro rrfpwfible names, for a terra a w

6b day» s Aree day* of grace are note* payable to tbe Bank, and the fonte. •* r-'. V*rtf . ‘it-

Bilk or note* left at the Bank sfv pcifiiPiitcdl flpP |N5C4S|frt>*' a nee and the money collefted free of eapeoce* Ink in cafe of aoh-payment and prof«#, the ex pence nrafi be paid by the perfon lodging die no*# m bill.time,cd.

Payment* ne, and nno error fa*ggefied afterward* will be correÄ*Thomas Willing, Prefident.Detn’d Sears, Herman l.t Roy, John l.irs'rrnct, Richard Harrifon, John Driffield, Matthrw Ciaakfme, NeW- York. Aiijah H»rum»net, Jofefh Bed!, Maetthrm fit*Cornell, J tfepb Anthony, John fit. Neflntt, Samuel B red , Jeremiah Parker, J/aat Wharton, William Bradford, James C. Fijh*r, 7 hr mas Fining, WUltam Bingham, Jacck Deatmng, Archibald fil‘Ca/1, Heart Ntchtl, lfrae! Whelev, Mattheen Clark fan, Philadel­phia.John Kean, Calhier

( J te r ; e S i m t f i r Affiflant

F ig. 6. Bank of the United States. Notice from the Philadelphia directory of 1794.

tal limited to ten million dollars, and besides the prin­cipal bank at Philadelphia, there were branches in six other cities. Congress granted the charter February 25, 1791, subscriptions were opened July 4 and a lease for quarters was arranged with the Carpenters’ Companyapplied to the front.” Russell Sturgis, Ed.. A dictionary of architecture and building, N. Y., Macmillan, 1901.

92 CCAB, 54.93 On November 14, 1792, William Linnard was ordered to

complete the work and on November 27, 1793 he was paid £12/2/10 for it. AICC, 55.

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VOL. 43 , PT. 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 107on August 19. The indenture, which is preserved in their records, calls for an annual rental of one thousand dollars, payable quarterly. The bank commenced busi­ness in Carpenters’ Hall the latter part of September with Thomas Willing as President94 (fig. 6). Appar­ently it opened in the second story which the Library Company had vacated, and about the following February took over the rest of the building.95

Because the Bank required all of the two main floors, the Carpenters’ Company itself had to move out. The increased rental income 96 made it possible for the Com­pany to build a new building on the west side of the Court for its own meetings (see Appendix IV ).

A great fire which destroyed many buildings just to the east threatened the Hall on May 12, 1793 97 but the danger passed and the Bank remained here until its new building on Third Street was completed [D, IV ], and it moved out on July 27, 1797.98

The dav after the bank moved out the United States Land Office under Francis Johnson, Receiver General, and John Hall, Secretary, moved in,99 but it remained for less than a year.100 In this decade (1790-1800) Philadelphia was the national capital. Congress and the Supreme Court sat in Independence Square, Presi­dent Washington lived on Market Street and there were many other government offices in the vicinity.

The Land Office was followed by the Bank of Pennsylvania.

TH E GREAT BANK ROBBERYThe morning of September 2, 1798, Philadelphia had

something to talk about besides the yellow fever, which was again raging in the city. The back door to the banking room in Carpenters’ Hall had been found open and over one hundred and sixty thousand dollars in bank notes and gold were missing from the cash vault

94 J. T. Scharf and T. Westcott, History of Philadelphia 1609- 1884, 464, 2093, Phila., 1884. At a meeting of the Carpenters’ Company on September 7, 1791, it was announced that the Hall had been rented to the Bank. CC, 51.

95 CC, 63. From a list of occupants of the Hall, “February 22d, 1792. George Eddy, part lately occupied by Commissary- General, and, by arrangement, given up to National Bank.”

aBAICC, 55. The rent had increased to £1000 by 1795. CSM, Nov. 1, 1795.

97 Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, Stauffer Col­lection (Hist. Soc. Penna.) 12: 815. During the occupancy of the Bank a small addition at the northeast corner of the building was made to accommodate a vault and the windows were also rehung with "Iron frame puleys.”—Pursuant to a petition by the directors of the Bank and decided at the June 15, 1796, meet­ing of the Carpenters’ Company. CSM.

98 This fine marble-front structure, designed by Samuel Blod- get and built 1795-1797, still stands just east of Carpenters’ Hall at 120 South Third Street and is an important feature of the Independence National Historical Park Project.

99 CSM, August 2, 1797. By this time the rent was up to ¿1200 per annum. Ibid., July 13, 1797.

100 CC, 63. The dates of occupancy stated here (Oct. 3, 1797—Apr. 3, 1798) do not check with other sources.

F ig. 7. Patrick Lyon by John Neagle. Philadelphia mechanic falsely imprisoned after bank robbery of 1798. Pennsyl­vania Academy of the Fine Arts.

of the Bank of Pennsylvania! The story of the crime and its sequel is a real melodrama.

The Bank, following its chartering in 1793, had first occupied temporary quarters. In the summer of 1798 it was in the Free Masons’ Lodge in Lodge Alley, just west of Second Street [E, IV ]. Arrangements had been made to rent Carpenters’ Hall and for some weeks its refitting had been going ahead under the direction of carpenter Samuel Robinson. Just before the move— on August 4— an attempt was made to burglarize the vault in the lodge building. While unsuccessful, this threat hastened the transfer to the Hall, which was thought perfectly secure because of improvements made there earlier for the Bank of the United States. Among other precautions, the iron doors from the old location were brought down on a dray to the blacksmith shop of Patrick Lyon on Lombard Street for refitting (fig. 7). Various adjustments were made and the locks were re­modelled, requiring several days’ work of Lyon and an assistant.101

101 Lyon had made the doors originally and though at the time he complained that they were not safe, he stated that the im­ported locks, bought from Joseph Simmonds, were “patent spring and tumblerlocks which no man in America could pick.” It was also recorded that Lyon did some other minor smith work for the bank including “altering several lamp irons, mounting lamp posts” and “a guard iron to a glass case.”

Lyon was considered one of Philadelphia's most diligent and

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On August 11 the Bank started the move to Carpen­ters’ Hall and on the fourteenth the work on the vault door was completed. The two vaults—one for cash and one for books—were located in a small brick addition on the first floor in the northeast corner. Unusual pre­cautions were taken after the cash was moved in. Two night watchmen guarded the outside of the building and they had with them two dogs “which would not allow any body to go near the Bank.” When the guards were not walking their beat, one sat in front of the hall and one in the rear. The porters slept upstairs.102

Intense excitement followed the burglary and Gover­nor Mifflin announced a reward of one thousand dollars for the capture of the felons. Then the inside porter who had spent the night in the Hall—a fellow named Cunningham, who kept the large key to the vault on a garter around his neck—died suddenly of the yellow fever. The Bank directors were wild to blame some­one besides themselves and suspicion fell on the black­smith Lyon, who, it was pointed out, could have pro­vided himself with an unauthorized key while working on the doors. He was promptly thrown into the Wal­nut Street jail, which was then infected with the yellow fever, and held incommunicado for over three months, with barely enough provisions to keep him alive.

But the robbers were eventually identified. A per­sonable young house carpenter named Isaac Davis 103 began to deposit suspiciously large amounts of money in the very bank that had been robbed. That led to close questioning and a confession that he and the porter Cunningham had made off with the very same money and had divided the loot between them. Then Davis disappeared.

Samuel M. Fox, president of the bank, and others— it was contended in a lawsuit which followed—-had un­justly continued to keep suspicion focused on Lyon, whose health and business were damaged by imprison­ment. In the trial Joseph Hopkinson, chief counsel for Patrick Lyon, plaintiff, contended that it was through carelessness and stupidity that the bank was robbed from the inside and through malice that Lyon’s reputa­tion had continued to suffer. There was a great display of eloquence by the prosecution. The jury finally brought in a verdict of $12,000 damages in favor ofcompetent mechanics and he customarily employed four or five journeymen. About 1790 he demonstrated a superior type of fire engine of his own design, which drew favorable comment.

102 On the night of the robbery the guard “heard nothing but the hostlers who I thought drunk at Israel’s stable.” This was the stable on Whalebone Alley operated in connection with Israel Israel’s Cross Keys Inn at the corner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets. Testimony revealed that there was no lock to the back (or south) door of Carpenters’ Hall which was se­cured by an iron bar with a latch on the inside. The cellar door, also on that side, was locked and the window shutters were fas­tened from within. There was a door between the front stair- hall and the main room (as now) also with a lock.

103 Probably the Isaac Davis admitted to the Carpenters’ Com­pany in 1794 and expelled in 1799.

Lyon, with wild applause in the crowded courtroom.104 Although steps were later taken towards a new trial, the case was compromised for $9,000, bringing to an end the cause of the poor blacksmith Patrick Lyon against the rich and respectable bankers. It was one of the most celebrated Philadelphia trials of the period.105 The bank officers were probably very happy to move to their handsome new marble temple on Second Street [E, IV], completed in 1801.106

Seeking the Port of Philadelphia’s custom office as a new tenant, President George Ingels of the Carpenters’ Company wrote to an unnamed official describing the Hall as50 feet in front the depth the same. The principal story Comprises One large room, two fire proofs and the Stair­case. The Second Story is divided by a passage of eight feet wide into two large well lighted rooms and two Smaller (one the South side). The Cellar floor, well lighted and dry and of easy Access for Storeing goods.The Court front of the Hall is well paved and will be used in common by the Carpenters Company and their Tenants occupying the Several buildings.107The offer was accepted and the building used until 1817 as a Customs House 108 * * * * * (fig. 8).

The Customs collectorships in this period were lucra­tive political plums. President Jefferson appointed three at Philadelphia. The first, who arranged the move into Carpenters’ Hall, was none other than Major- General John Peter Gabriel Muhlenberg, one of the most popular heroes of the Revolutionary War. He was the “Fighting Parson,” who, in the pulpit, threw off his ministerial gown and revealed the uniform of a colonel of the Continental Army. After a long career in politics he was elected to the United States Senate, where he sat only two days and then resigned for the

104 William Garrigues, “insurance surveyor” and member of the Carpenters’ Company, 1786-1832, was foreman of the jury.

105 This account is drawn from Patrick Lyon, The narrative of Patrick Lyon, Phila., 1799; Robbery of the Bank of Pennsyl­vania in 1798, n.a., Phila., 1802; Robbery of the Bank of Penn­sylvania in 1798. The Trial in the Supreme Court, n.a., Phila., 1808.

106 In the Carpenters’ Company library there is an unbound MS letter from Bank President Fox dated at Philadelphia April 1, 1801, stating that his new building is nearly completed and that the space at the Hall will be released by July 1 or sooner. The new bank, designed by B. H. Latrobe, was built in the years 1799-1801.

107 Antiques, curiosities and memoranda (A C M ), (M S) CC Library, Phila., Sept. 18, 1801. The plat which accompanied this letter has not been found. The present Philadelphia Col­lector of Customs has no records before 1876. The National Archives in Washington and the Historical Society of Penn­sylvania each have preserved a quantity from the early days.

108AICC, 32. Mease wrote (p. 268) in 1811, “This societyowns a hall where the custom house is now kept, in a courtsouth of Chestnut Street, between Third and Fourth Streets,and a range of buildings in the same court.” The dates of theCustoms House tenancy are given in CC, 63, as Apr. 1, 1802- Jan. 1, 1811 and Apr. 1, 1811-Jan. 1, 1817. Scharf and Westcott(pp. 1803-1806) give the dates as 1802-1819.

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VOL. 43 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 109Philadelphia appointment. His statue stands in the Capitol at Washington.109 General John Shee, another Revolutionary figure, succeeded Muhlenberg on the latter’s death in 1807 and Shee, dying in 1809, was suc­ceeded by John Steele.110 The Surveyors of the Cus­toms in this period were Dr. William Bache (1803) and James Glentworth (1814-1829).111

Port o f Philadelphia.CUSTOM -HOUSE,

C A R F E M T E r ’s B U IL D IN G S , « E X T 116, C H E S N U T S T R E E T .Peter Muhlenberg, Collector. John Graff, Deputy-Col­

lector V W eigher. Henry Graff, D eputy W eigher. W il­liam M acphenon, Hicval-Officer. A . G Claypoole, De­p u ty M aval’O fficer. W m . Milnor, Guager. W m . Bache, Surveyor. John Cooper, D eputy Surveyor. W m . Thack- ara, M easurer. John Henderson 8c Charles Fleming, D eputies. Samuel Young, Harbour-M aster.

I nspecto rs. Jpnas Simonds, Andrew Burkhard, Pe­te r Ozeas, Andrew Jackson, Mathew Hale, David Rose, Isaac Milnor, Jam es Smith, Isaac Roach, Robert Hop­kins, Benjamin Lawrence, Frederick Shull, Alexander Boyd, Thomas Cash, John Cress, Beniamin Ashmead, Benjamin Thom as, Robert Jackson, Thomas Procter, John Musser, Joseph Piper, {(.Alexander Moore.

H ours o f transacting business, fro m 9 A . M . to 3 P . M .

F ig . 8. Port of Philadelphia Custom House. Notice from the Philadelphia directory of 1805.

The great line of wharves along the Delaware River then made up, as before and since, one of the great ports of the world. In the year 1807, just before the Jeffer­sonian Embargo, there were 699 ship arrivals and 712 clearances.112 Letters from Washington to the Col­lector touch on the Philadelphia problems, which in­cluded the operation of revenue cutters along the coast (the smuggling of lace, silks, gloves, watches and jew­elry from France in 1804, for instance, was considered serious), marine hospitals, the registry of ships, the Embargo of 1808, the inspection station at Marcus Hook and the Lazaretto or quarantine station on Tinicum Island.113

The office in 1819 was moved to the new Custom House on South Second Street [E, V] especially de­signed for it by architect William Strickland.114

109 Paul A. W. Wallace, The Muhlenbergs of Pennsylvania, Phila., Univ. of Pa. Press, 303, 1950, has a short chapter on the General’s brief term as Supervisor of U. S. Customs in the Dis­trict of Pennsylvania.110 Ralph Wesley Wescott, The Customs service in Philadel­phia, 1789-1934, 12, 13, Phila., Haddon Craftsmen, 1934, gives some interesting biographical data on these men.

111 Scharf and Westcott, 1805.112 Mease, 53.113 Washington, National Archives, Treasury Department

Records, Letters to the Collector, Philadelphia, Pa. (M S), 1 (1790-1816).

114 A new Customs House was authorized in 1810 and an appropriation made about 1816 but it was not built and

COMMUNITY CENTERThere were other users of Carpenters’ Hall and its

dependencies which probably took only a single room occasionally. The Company’s account book 115 lists the following between the years 1806-1839:

Captains’ Society Harmony Fire Company 116 Caledonian Company 117 Bricklayers’ Company 118 Hatters Company Coopers’ Company Pilots’ Company 119 Philadelphia Hose Company 120 Magdalen Society 121 Cabinet Makers’ Company- Prison Society 122 * * * * Philadelphia Beneficial Society- Master Mechanics’ Society

occupied until July 12, 1819. This structure, which stood on Second Street below Dock, was demolished many years ago.

115 Treasurer’s Book, 1794-1839, MS, CC Library. The minutes of a meeting held December 23, 1795, record a rate of twenty shillings per night “except those who meet upon Char­itable Causes such as Fire Compy, Sea Captains Club, Colodo- nian Society. . . .” Committee of Seven’s Minutes, MS, CC Library.

116 The Harmony Fire Company was founded in 1784 and made up of Quakers. In 1793 the company moved from the Negro schoolhouse on Willings Alley to the Carpenters’ Com­pany building on the west side of Carpenters’ Court. Thompson Westcott, History of the Philadelphia Fire Department (Hist. Soc. Penna., book of clippings published 1849-1851, Articles 19-21).

117 “Instituted 1790. All the members must be Scotchmen, or their offspring; at least thirty years of age, and not above forty years . . . these visitors attend to the sick. . . .” Mease, 234.

118 “Incorporated, 1809. It was instituted upon the plan of the Stone Cutters’ Society; as a benefit association, and to measure work. Besides the usual officers, there are twelve measurers of work.” Mease, 271, 272. The organization ex­isted as early as 1801 when it was testified that Benjamin Tay­lor was “worthy President of our honorable Company of Brick­layers.” Robbery of the Bank of Pennsylvania in 1798, 66, Phila., 1802. The organization is still in existence.

119 “A Society for the benefit of ‘decayed pilots, their widows and children,’ was formed in the year 1788, and incorporated in the year 1789. Its affairs are managed by twelve members, chosen from Philadelphia, Cape Henlopen, and Cape May. . . .” Mease, 270.

120 The Philadelphia Hose Company was founded in 1803, had a hose carriage designed by Patrick Lyon and performed its first conspicuous service at the fire which burned Israel Israel’s stable in Hudson’s Alley. (Westcott, Articles No. 49-54.)

121 “Was instituted in the year 1800. Its objects are ‘to aid in restoring to the paths of virtue; to be instrumental in recovering to honest rank in life, those unhappy females, who have been robbed of their innocence and are desirous of returning to a life of rectitude.’ ” Mease, 245.

122 “Society for Alleviating the Miseries of Public Prisons.. . . This Society was formed in the year 1787 and was proposedby an active citizen in the cause of the reformation of the penalcode, in order to alleviate some of the miseries attendant thereon.. . . President—William White, D.D.” Mease, 243, 244.

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Fame Fire Company 123First Marine Bible AssociationVaccine Society 124New England SocietyHibernian Society 125Plasterers’ Society-Fire AssociationPennsylvania Peace SocietyBoard of Managers of the House of RefugeDirectors of Public Schools

The present writer has not yet ascertained how many of the above met in the old Hall and how many in the later structures built by the Company on the same lot.

Early in the spring of 1809, during excavation for a new brick warehouse building on Hudson’s Alley, the made ground on the east side of Carpenters’ Court caved away and for a time threatened the Hall itself. Twenty to forty cartloads of earth, reaching back to within two feet of the old building, slid into the hole. The masons rushed their work and completed a stout wall just before a tremendous rain broke. “Mercy preserved it,” wrote the owner of the new building.126

Various minutes of the Managing Committee give details about the Hall in this period. Protection was provided by the customary fire buckets, probably of the familiar leather type, of which eleven were repaired (1812). The roof had leaky gutters and spouts need­ing cleaning (1812). These were repaired, but in 1817 Jacob Carman was paid $555 for replacing the shingles with slate. The new roof had copper gutters (1818). Wood was ordered by the cord for the fireplaces, one of which was fitted with a set of “back & jambs” (1812). There was also an old “open stove” (1815). Fees were paid chimney sweeps for keeping the flues clean. The interior was painted and whitewashed (1815) as was usual. Candles were still used to light the interior, though a patent lamp was purchased to light the front entry (1813).

Another important institution to use Carpenters’ Hall was the Second Bank of the United States. This bank, for which a plan had been submitted by Secretary of

123 The Fame Fire Company was originally “Queen Char­lotte’s Fire Company” organized 1764. The name was changed in 1782, the first being “too royalist.” (Westcott, Articles 83-85.)

124 “Society for Promoting Vaccination among the Poor. On the 10th of March, 1809, a number of persons had a meeting . . . to consider the expediency of establishing a society. . . . The association is encouraged to persevere in its labours, having already had about three thousand persons vaccinated.” Mease, 343, 344.

125 “Was instituted about the year 1792, for the purpose of protecting Irish emigrants from the cruelty and tyrannical con­duct of masters and owners of vessels employed in the passenger trade.” Mease, 281, 282.

126 Diary of Arthur Howell, MS in possession of Mrs. Francis D. Brinton, West Chester, Pa. The building, meant for the storage of hides, three stories high, was built by Daniel Groves, mason, and James Widdowfield, carpenter.

the Treasury Dallas in 1814, was meant to stabilize finances of the country in chaos following the War of 1812. It was established by Congress in 1816 and Cap­tain William Jones, the naval hero, was the President of the new institution, which was capitalized at 35 million dollars, and opened for business in January of 1817.127 Until 1821 the bank rented space here, waiting for the completion of its new Greek temple on Chestnut Street a block west [C, IV ].128

After the bank moved out the Hall was rented for many purposes. On February 23, 1821, the Philadel­phia College of Pharmacy was organized here,129 the first institution of its kind in the world.130 Such diverse groups as the Fuel Saving Society and the Society for the Education of Female Children were in the Hall in 1822.131 The first floor had the Musical Fund Society for over three years.132 The Hicksite Friends 133 fol­lowed with Sunday meetings and for most of ten years Johnny Willetts “the peculiar and well-remembered schoolmaster” held his classes on the second floor.134 The Apprentice’s Library shared this space with him for over seven years.135 The cellar was rented to Jedediah Allen 136 and then to Gillen and Hill.137 * *

Another notable institution here was the Franklin In­stitute, chartered for “the promotion and encouragement of manufactures and the mechanic and useful arts.” The new society needed a place to meet and install its library, cabinet of minerals, and models of architectural and mechanical interest. Carpenters’ Hall was rented

127 Scharf and Westcott, 2094.128AICC, 32, 33. Oct. 1, 1816-Feb. 9, 1821 are elsewhere

given as the dates of occupancy. CC, 63. The rent paid the Carpenters’ Company was $1600 per annum.

The new bank building, still standing at 420 Chestnut Street, usually called “the Old Custom House,” has been preserved as an historic monument under the care of the National Park Service since 1938.

120 James J. Levick, Daniel B. Smith, Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 7 : 310n., 1883.

130 A. Margaretta Archambault, A guide book of art, architec­ture and historic interests in Pennsylvania, Phila., Winston, 17, 1924.

131 CC, 60.432 Mar. 12, 1821-Dec. 12, 1824. Ibid,, 63.“The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia was established

February 29, 1820. It embraced professors of music and ama­teur members . . . the Society finding the room first selected . . . too small, took the Carpenters’ Company Hall. . . . The practicings were held regularly on the first and third Thursdays of the month, and on the intervening Thursday evenings there were private vocal rehearsals, to which performing members only were admitted.

“The objects of the Society were, first, to cultivate and diffuse a musical taste; and secondly, to afford relief to its necessitous professional members and their families.” William L. Mactier, A sketch of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, 7, 8, Phila., 1885.

433 June 1, 1827-Mar. 1, 1828. CC.434 Dec. 26, 1822-Dec. 16, 1824, and Mar. 16, 1826-Dec. 31,

1832. Ibid. Watson 1: 419; 3 : 280.433 Mar. 12, 1821-Sept. 12, 1828. CC, 63.436 Nov. 15, 1824-Feb. IS, 1826. Ibid.437 Nov. 9, 1826-Aug. 9, 1828. Ibid.

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VOL. 4 3 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 111for five hundred dollars per annum and here was held the first exhibition of American manufactures in October of 1824.

It was quite successful. Three hundred exhibits from manufacturers as far away as Maine and Ohio were shown and medals were awarded for such diverse prod­ucts as blister steel and grass bonnets, japanned goods and broad cloths, camel’s hair brushes, a base drum, and a printing of Wilson’s Ornithology. The Institute was not content with merely showing what was casually brought in ; it offered premiums as a challenge to the inventors of the new Industrial Age. In 1825, for in­stance, gold medals were held out for new and improved processes and products of the coal and iron industries. Silver medals for chemicals, paint pigments, cut glass, cheap broadcloth, pianos, vegetable oil, and other things. Bronzed medals for pottery, carpeting, buckskin gloves, a substitute for copper ships’ sheathing and the largest quantity of Pennsylvania firebrick equal to imported makes and burned during the year.

Some of the meetings of the Institute were held at Carpenters’ Hall before their new building on Seventh Street was occupied in 1826 [A, II I ] .138

The longest tenancy of record was the last one—that of Charles J. and Frederick Wolbert who occupied a part of the building in 1828 as auction rooms—and all of it in 1838 (fig. 9). An advertisem*nt in the Public Ledger gives an idea of their business:

C. J. W O L B E R T & CO.. Auctioneers.A U C TIO N M ART

C A R P E N T E R ’S COURT, C H E S N U T ST R E ET , between Third and Fourth

FA N C Y GOODSCARD.— Our sale of Fancy Goods at the Auction Mart,

will be continued on Friday evening, commencing at 7 o’clock.

FA N C Y GOODSClosing Sales for the Season

T H IS AN D TO M O R RO W E V EN IN G S.The 27th and 28th insts., at the Auction Mart, in Carpenters’ Court, commencing at 7 o’clock, a large and general assort­ment of Fancy Goods, London fine gold Jewelry, Pain t­

ings, &c.May be examined all to-day.180

The Wolberts seemed to have caused the Company and the other tenants of Carpenters’ Court much unhappi-

138 Thomas Coulson, The Franklin Institute from 1824 to 1949, Jour. Franklin Institute, 1-8, Jan., 1950. First annual re­port of the proceedings of the Franklin Institute, Phila., 1825.

139 Public Ledger, Dec. 27, 1850.

F ig. 9. Interior, 1848. Drawn by Benjamin Lossing while the Hall served as an auction house.

ness.140 They were finally evicted in 1857 with difficulty.141

A NATIONAL SHRINEFrom an early date Carpenters’ Hall was set apart

from its contemporaries. The Columbian Magazine for January, 1790, in describing the leading Philadelphia structures of that day, thought thatThis edifice, though more humble in its architecture and less conspicuous in its situation, than some of the others, is, nevertheless, rendered famous, by being the place in which that august body,—the first general Congress of America, assembled and held their councils.The Hall thus had a special status (to writers at least) because of its historic associations. An unnamed but eloquent reporter from Virginia in 1829 felt its utili­tarian uses highly improper.I write this from the celebrated Carpenters’ Hall, a structure that will ever be deemed sacred while national liberty is cherished on earth. . . . Above are the committee rooms, now occupied by a very polite schoolmaster, who kindly gave me permission to inspect them. Yes! These sublime apart­ments, which first resounded with the indignant murmur of our immortal ancestors, sitting in secret consultation upon the wrongs of their countrymen, now ring with the din of urchins conning over their ta sk s; and the hallowed hall be­low, in which the august assembly to which they belonged daily convened, is now devoted to the use of an auctioneer! Even now, while I am penning these lines at his desk, his voice stuns my ear and distracts my brain, crying “how much for these rush-bottom chairs ? I am offered $5—nobody more ?—going ! going !! gone ! ! !” In fact the hall is lum­bered up with beds, looking glasses, chairs, tables, pictures, ready made clothes, and all the trash and trumpery which usually grace the premises of a knight of the hammer. I must do him the justice, however, to say, that he very read­ily granted me the privilege I am now enjoying when he

140 The Minutes of the Managing Committee for July 29, 1830, record tha t: “Complaints having been received from some of the tenants in the Court that C. J. Wolbert makes use of the Court & yard back for the purpose of selling horses & carriages—It was on motion Resolved that Jesse Williamson & C. Stevenson be appointed to wait on him & inform him he must discontinue it in future—141T/CC, 35. Watson 3: 278; CC, 60. A Wolbert auction handbill of 1852 is reproduced in Jackson, Encyclopedia, 377.

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F ig. 10. Interior of Hall after Restoration. Central heating, tile floor, gas­light chandeliers and a frescoed ceiling are included. Carpenters’ Com­pany Library.

F ig. 11. Exterior of Hall after Restoration. The landscape background is an imaginary work by the artist of this “photocollotype.” Carpenters’ Company Library.

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VOL. 4 3 , PT. 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 113understood my purpose. The building, it is gratifying to add, still belongs to the Society of Carpenters, who will by no means part with it, or consent to any alteration.142The historian Benson J. Lossing, visiting the sites made famous by the Revolution, indulged in some fine Vic­torian eloquence. On November 27, 1848, he wrote:On Monday morning I visited Carpenters’ Hall, the building in which the first Continental Congress held its brief session. H aving had no intimation concerning its appearance, condi­tion, and present use, and informed that it was situated in “Carpenters’ Court,” imagination had invested its exterior with dignity, its interior with solemn grandeur, and its loca­tion a spacious area, where nothing common or unclean was permitted to dwell. How often the hoof of Pegasus touches the leafless tree-tops of sober prose when his rider supposes him to be at his highest a ltitude! How often the rainbow of imagination fades, and leaves to the eye nothing but the forbidding aspect of a cloud of plain rea lity ! So a t this time. The spacious court was but a short narrow alley ; and the Hall, consecrated by the holiest associations which cluster around the birthtime of our republic, was a small two-story building, of somber aspect, with a short steeple, and all of a dingy hue. I tried hard to conceive the appari­tion upon its front to be a classic frieze, with rich historic trig lyphs; but it would not do. Vision was too “lynx-eyed,” and I could make nothing more poetic of it than an array of impudent letters spelling the words,



H O R SES, V E H IC L E S, AN D H A R N ESS.W hat a desecration ! Covering the facade of the very Tem­ple of Freedom, with placards of groveling mammon ! If sensibility is shocked with this outward pollution, it is over­whelmed with indignant shame on entering the hall where that august asseembly of men—the godfathers of our repub­lic—convened to stand as sponsors at the baptism of infant American Liberty, to find it filled with every species of merchandise, and the walls which once echoed the eloquent words of Henry, Lee and the Adamses, reverberating with the clatter of the auctioneer’s voice and hammer. Is there not patriotism strong enough and bold enough in Philadel­phia to enter this temple and “cast out all them that buy and sell and overthrow the table of the money-changers ?”The hall in which Congress met is upon the lower floor, and comprehends the whole area of the building. I t is about forty-five feet square, with a recess in the rear twenty-five feet wide eighteen feet high. The second story contains smaller apartments which were used by Congress, and occu­pied by the society as committee rooms. In one of these, emptied of all merchandise except a wash-tub and a rush- bottomed chair, let us sit down and consider the events con­nected with the first great Continental Council.143

Within the Company, however, there seems to have been a growing appreciation of the historical importance of the building and several attempts were made to get back into the Hall, which had been rented to others since

142 Watson 1 : 419.143 Lossing 2 : 57, 58.

1791.144 Action finally came at the meeting of January 21, 1856, when it wasResolved that the M anaging Committee be directed to in­quire into the expediency of removing to the Old Hall and of renting of the premises now occupied by the Company and the difference of the rental. . . ,145On March 26 a favorable report was made 146 and on April 28 the Company resolved to renovate the building, “especial care to be taken to preserve, as much as pos­sible, every feature in said Hall as it now exists indica­tive of its original finish.” 147 On October 15 a special committee was appointed “to take into Consideration the Best Mode of Fitting up the Old Hall.” 148

After considerable negotiation possession of the build­ing was gained from auctioneer Wolbert. The work­men began the refurbishment on May 25, 1857. On the first floor a partition was run across the columns on the south side of the main room to provide space for the Warden’s use (fig. 10). On the second floor several partitions were added to make living quarters for a cus­todian. These included three “chambers,” a parlour, and a kitchen. The west room was left undivided to serve as a committee room and library, and for the latter purpose was fitted up with shelves. A “gravel mortar” floor, a well, and a new furnace were planned for the basem*nt. The stairway repaired and the treads protected by cast iron plates, but the remainder was to be untouched “except such patches as may be positively necessary.” 149

On the exterior of the building gutters were added to the roof, the woodwork painted and sanded and gas “candelabras or lamps” placed flanking the entrance steps. The backyard was laid out as a garden and the walks paved (fig. 11). Work progressed quickly. By July 25 the caretaker’s family had moved in and on the twenty-ninth the Managing Committee met in the build­ing—the first Carpenters’ Company meeting in the Hall for about sixty-six years.

Considerable pains were spent on furnishing the meet­ing rooms. The large downstairs room was papered and lighted with three pendant gaslight fixtures. A painted motto, executed by Collins West, recalled the historic meeting of the Continental Congress.W ithin these walls, Henry, Hanco*ck and Adams inspired the Delegates of the Colonies with nerve & sinew for the toils of W ar resulting in our National Independence.Six new settees were ordered from William Sanderson and, after agreeing to purchase two umbrella stands, an

l i4 MSC, Preliminary statement.143 MCC.143 MMCCC.147 AICC, 35.143 MMCCC.149 MSC, May 21, 25, 1857. The well was abandoned before


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ice cooler, and a dozen spittons, the subcommittee for “refitting the Old Hall’’ requested to be discharged.150 At a general meeting on September 5, 1857, the building as repaired and restored was delivered up to the Com­pany and “an Elaborate Historical Reminiscence,” spe­cially prepared for the occasion, was read.151

The opening of Carpenters’ Hall as an historic shrine seems to have attracted public attention and provoked the City into an attempt to buy the building. The fol­lowing exchange of letters indicates the feeling of the times.

Department of City Property Office, Second Story, Girard Bank north side Phila Jan 17 1859

To the Carpenters Association of the City of Philadelphia Owning Carpenters Hall

GentlemenI have been instructed by the Committee on City Property

through councils to ask of your body wether or no you would be willing to convey to the City your proud Monu­ment of Revolutionary memory, or in other words Carpen­ters Hall, and, if so to state the price or remuneration you would require for the same. That it is now in worthy hands and while so will be held sacred to the memory of those who were so signally instrumental in acheving American Independence none I presume would have the hardihood to question. Yet there are those who think Carpenters like Independence Hall should be vested in the City, hence this communication. He pleased therefor to foreward to this office at an early day Consistent with your convenience the information thus respectfully desired and oblige.

V erry truly & Respcty Your Obedient Servant

Signed P. M. ChristopherThe offer may have been expected, for at the annual meeting of the Company, held the same day, the subject

15° The sub-committee consisted of L. R. Knight, James Hutch­inson and Michael Errickson. The whole program is summed up in MSC as follows:

Amount of Expcnces in fitting up and Furnishing Carpenters Hall—Sepr 1858

Fitting up Carpenter work $ 400.00

Furnishings Carpenter work $ 78.13

Lumber 152.69 New Tables (Hall) 67.81Laboring work &c 88.26 Laboring work 29.42Hardware 46.54 Painting Bookcases 8.50Blacksmith work 6.00 Painting Banner 24.50Painting inside & out 562.74 Painting Motto 16.60Iron plates on stairs 44.04 Carpets & Matting 281.75Repairs to Slate roof 35.98 putting down ditto 39.71Plastering 104.00 Gas fixtures 261.25Tin work 54.72 Iron safe 200.00Papering 294.24 Settees & chairs 87.50Repairing locks &c Marble Mantal shelf

17.316.62 $1095.17

2887.92Granite steps back door 46.00Plumbing Wright, Total $3983.09Hunter & Co. Furnace &c Brick & work

151MCC, Sept. 5, 1



F ig. 12. North Front Today. The Hall still heads Carpenters’ Court flanked by other structures. Photo by Peterson, U. S. Natl. Park Service.

was brought up for discussion and the following resolu­tion was passed :That while this Company fully appreciate the patriotic mo­tives that have induced the City Councils to make the en­quiry presented in the communication just read, yet we cannot under any circ*mstances receive favourably any propositions involving the sale of Carpenters Hall. W e in common with our fellow citizens venerate it not only for its associations with the stirring events of the Revolution “But we also hold it as a sacred trust committed to us by our predecessors, which nothing shall ever induce us to part with” Also that having fitted up the Room Occupied by the first Congress as near as possible as it was originally fin­ished we intend as heretofore to keep it open for the inspec­tion of all who may wish to visit it.W hen on motion it was unanimously resolved that a coppv of the foregoing Resolution signed by the President and Secretary be forwarded to the Commissioner of City prop­erty and the same adopted.The subject did not come up again.

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VOL. 43 , PT. 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 115In its later years the Hall was the scene of several

special occasions. Three days after Fort Sumter was fired on, the Carpenters’ Company resolved to erect a flagstaff on the front pediment to display a Union Flag “so long as the present exciting times continue.” At a special meeting April 24, 1861, the flag was unfurled and a chorus of young ladies sang the Star Spangled Ban­ner.152 153 A call for volunteers was made, as the record shows:Resolved, T hat those of us who are able and willing do form ourselves into a volunteer Company to be known as the “Carpenters Company” to be attached to the Home Guard of the City of Philadelphia, and to be used in such service, either mechanical or military as may be deemed we can be made the most useful, and that the names of such members be entered upon the minutes of the Company,Resolved, That suitable persons of the trade (outside of this Company) be invited to join with us in a sufficient number to make not exceeding in all one hundred, and that the free use and privilege of this our venerated Hall be granted as an arm ory.133

On September 5, 1874, the one hundredth anniversary of the first Continental Congress was held. A ceremony attended by U. S. Vice-President Wilson, several mem­bers of Congress and other notables featured an eloquent address by a Henry A. Brown as “Orator of the Day.” The Hall proved to be a great attraction to Philadelphia visitors during the Centennial Exposition of 1876. Seventy thousand copies of the booklet Carpenters’ Hall and Its Historic Memories by Richard K. Betts were given away at that time.154

The two hundredth anniversary of the founding of the Carpenters’ Company and the one hundred and fif­tieth of the first Continental Congress were recognized by a two-day celebration held at Philadelphia and Valley Forge on September 25-26, 1924.155

For nearly a century now the Hall has continued open to the public and maintained at the expense of the Car­penters’ Company, a pioneer work of preservation in this country (fig. 12). While it is difficult to set up priorities, it may be that Carpenters’ Hall was the second building in the United States to be set aside as an “his­toric shrine.” Washington’s headquarters (the Has- brouck House) at Newburgh, New York, was so desig­nated by the State of New York in 1850 and is generally considered the first example. It would appear that the dedication of Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia came a few years later than Carpenters’ Hall.

Plans for the improvement of the neighborhood are of fairly recent date. In 1933 there was considered a project called the “Curtis Mall” which would have con­

152 Scharf and Westcott 1 : 762.153 Forty-four men volunteered at this meeting.134 Watson 3 : 281.156 Recording the celebration of the two-hundredth anniver­

sary of the institution of the Carpenters’ Company, etc., n.a.,Phila., Carpenters’ Co., 1925.

nected Carpenters’ Hall to Independence Square on the west and to the first Bank of the United States on the east, but this did not mature.156 Again, in 1935, a bill was introduced in the House of Representatives which, if enacted, would have set up the Carpenters’ Hall Na­tional Monument under the United States National Park Service. This was intended to clear and “park” the land between Carpenters’ Court and Fourth Street.157 While neither of these projects eventuated, they prob­ably encouraged the beginnings of the current project, which will accomplish these objectives on a much larger scale.

Congress in 1948 created the Independence National Historical Park Project and the following year appro­priated funds for the beginning of land acquisition. The principal area—known as “Project A”—extends from Fifth to Second and Chestnut to Walnut Streets, thereby including Carpenters’ Hall. Two years later a contract between the Carpenters’ Company and the United States Department of the Interior was approved. Under the terms of this instrument the Company keeps its Hall but certain cooperative measures are authorized, which, it is hoped, will guarantee its future as a public shrine of first-rate historical importance.

CARPENTERS’ COURTThe lot on Chestnut Street acquired by the Carpen­

ters’ Company for building their Hall had originally been patented by David Breintnall as early as 1688.158 Of the “several buildings and other improvements” on it at the time of purchase only the “front house”—prob­ably a residence on the street built by the Breintnalls or the Emlens—and an old well159 are identified in the rec­ords. The house was immediately repaired and im­proved for the rent it would bring.

Soon after acquisition the Company voted to dispose of a third of the Chestnut Street frontage—a building site 26' X 140' on the east side of the lo t160—and sold it to Joseph Pemberton in 1775.161 It would appear from this and subsequent developments that the Hall was always planned to head up a narrow court with flanking buildings as rent-payers. At any rate, it was not conceived of as a conspicuous free-standing architec­tural landmark.

The placing of buildings in the heart of a city block— more or less secluded from view and the noise and dust of the streets—was a common enough practice in Phila-

156 Preliminary sketches were prepared by Thalheimer and Weitz, Philadelphia architects.

137 H. R. 8268, 74th Congress, 1st Session. Introduced by Mr. Daley, May 29, 1935, and referred to the Committee on Public Lands.

138 CC, 55.133 AICC, 6.160 CC, 37.161 Ibid., 41.

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delphia, as in London. The size of the original blocks or squares of the city was so great that owners found that the only way of fully exploiting their lots was to open small streets, “courts” and footways to develop the interior areas. The practical Dr. Franklin was doing this at the time on his own property just across Chestnut Street. Something similar had been done in the case of St. Joseph’s Church in the block to the south. Be­cause of the uncompromising uniformity and rigidity of the original checkerboard layout of Philadelphia streets, and the plainness of the private house fronts, the in­formal development of courtyards and interior passages provided welcome touches of the picturesque. The lane back to the Hall was soon developed with other build­ings and it is shown on contemporary maps. The Lu- kens Survey (1785) has it designated as “Carpenters’ Hall Alley,” the Hexamer and Locher Atlas (1860) (fig. 13), “Congress Place.” Mostly it is called simply “Carpenters’ Court.”

Of the number of structures built on the lot at dif­ferent times by the Carpenters’ Company, the writer has not been able to identify all completely. It will prob­ably not be possible to untangle the matter until the Company manuscripts have been transcribed and the welter of detailed information rearranged systematically. The few notes included here will serve to provide a gen­eral idea of the layout in different periods.Building A (“The Front House” ) Remodeled 1768, 69

As mentioned above, this was built on the lot by a previous owner. Work of remodeling and repairing was begun on this building soon after purchase and be­

fore the Hall itself was started.162 There is no descrip­tion of its appearance, but we know that nine double- hung windows were installed at the time, probably re­placing old-fashioned casem*nts. An antiquarian sketch (fig. 14) shows it as a two-story frame house.

The building was used for a Company meeting on January 30, 1770 163 but for the most part it was rented out for income. One William Jones lived in it in the period 1778-1780 and paid a rental of £54 yearly.164 It was finally pulled down in 1810 to make room for a new four-story structure.165 *

162 Specific mentions a re :William Anderson, Cr.

Nov. 21 “By work done in the front House” 10:10:01768

James Graisbury, Cr.Jan. “By Carpenters work at the front House 4 :12 :01771 By 10 days work at the Hall” 2:10:0Other items which probably refer to this building a re :

Benjamin Randolph, Cr.Feb. 22 “By Boards Scantline &c” 12:10:1-1/21769

James Pearson, Cr.April 6 “To the remainder of his Acct for work1769 and Materials at the Hall” 36:18:0

James Potter, Cr.1769 “By hanging 9 Windows double with

boxed pullies & parting Strips 4:12:3These sheets (CCAM ) are bound in the back of an old volume in the CC Library.

163 Warden’s Book, 12.Warden’s Book, 117, 137, 152.

165 There was an accounting of funds for this on April 16,1812. ACM.

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VOL. 43, PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 117

F ig. 14. The “Front House’’ on Chestnut Street in 1809. Re­construction by Evans shows (left) frame house built on Carpenters’ Court before 1768. Hist. Soc. of Penna.

Buildings BThese buildings must have been dependencies to the

Front House. The first Warden’s Book shows that on April 30,1781, that Company authorized the “Committee of rents to do or cause such repairs to be done to the back houses in the tenure of John Lort and Ann Ander­son as is necessary to preserve the houses from Damage and to make them Tenable. . . .” 166 One set of ac­counts shows that William Anderson rented space from 1768 to 1782.167 He was not a member of the Com­pany. but was possibly the Philadelphia plasterer of that name. John Lort, Jr., was a member elected in 1773 and who died in 1794. On October 8, 1781, Bedford & Lort billed the Company for “4 Dormer window cheeks Shingled” and for "18 days work at the 3d. Tenement.” 168Building C (Storehouse)

On April 16, 1770, the Carpenters’ Company met “at the Store House on their own Lott” 169 and the same year they were billed £6/4 /0 for work by William Rob­inson “at the Storehouse.” 170 This may have been a temporary building for the storage of tools and construc­tion materials.Building D (A Necessary)

Abraham Carlile built a vaulted “necessary” and sub­mitted a bill in January or February of 1771.171 There are many references to privies during later years; doubt­less there were a number of them.Building E (A Kitchen)

On February 11, 1771, there are two items from James Worrell’s accounts that refer to a kitchen:

1116 Warden's Book, 162.i«7 CCAM, 9.168 CCAM, 13.16» Warden’s Book, 1769-1781, 18.770 CCAM.i ' 1ACM, Accounts of James Worrell.

to 8 Days work my Self at work in the Kechen 3 :0 :0 24 Sash Lights 9 by 11 painting & glasing the

Seller windows in ye Kechen 1: 4 :2 172It is likely that the kitchen was identical with one of the structures listed here as “Buildings B.”Building F (Second Meeting Hall) Built 1791When the original Hall was rented to the United States Bank in 1791 the Company decided to put up a new headquarters on the west side of the court.173 This structure was completed and occupied the same year. An insurance survey (see Appendix IV) describes the new building as 19'-8" deep and running 61' along the court, two stories high, with three rooms to a floor. The whole was valued at £200. In 1801 it was de­scribed as “a convenient Brick building” with a fireplace in each of the first floor rooms and a cellar 18' X 35'.174 In 1833 the building was raised from two to three stories.175

General Henry Knox, renting space for the new United States W ar Department, was one of the first oc­cupants of “the new apartments.” Just which meetings were held in this structure and which ones in the older Hall the writer has not yet been able to work out. It is possible that parts of this structure may survive in the brick walls of the present building.176Building G (Before 1801)

Described as “a Brick Tenement 22 feet in front by 13 feet deep Two stories high, a good Garret and Cellar, with a fire place therein.” This was probably the small house shown on the east side of the court in early photographs.Building H ( “The Front Store” ) Built 1810-1811 (still

existing?)About 1810-1811 the old “Front House” (Building A)

was taken down and a new one erected at the corner of Chestnut Street and Carpenters’ Court at a total cost of $9,213.19-1/2.177 The new structure was described in an insurance survey of April, 1811, when it was valued at two thousand dollars. The front part was four stories high with “a neat arch head Venetian door with fan and Side lights” on Chestnut Street. A large room finished with bookshelves occupied the whole area and opened into a sort of mezzanine at the second level. The third and fourth floors were in one room each, 26' X 44", evidently intended as meeting rooms.

172 ibid.ns AICC. 55, 63.174 George Ingels, President, to ........, Philadelphia, Sept. 18,

1801. ACM.175 For the resurvey by John C. Evans, see Appendix IV.176 CCAM, 27. It appears that the Department was in the

old Hall July 1-Nov. 19, 1791, and in the new building until the end of the year.177 ACM , “Examination of the accounts of the Building Com­mittee, etc.” There is also a small MS minute book for 1810— 1811 kept by this committee in the CC Library.

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C a y 'fitu fTr-s Ce>tir/-

F ig. IS. West Building, 1861. Within its outlines are contained remnants of several earlier structures.

In 1812 the “front store,” as it was called in the Com­pany’s records, was leased to Professor Nicholas G. Dufief,178 proprietor of “The Universal Bookstore” listed at No. 118 Chesnut Street in the city directories. Du­fief sublet other parts of the building, and among his tenants he secured the young Athenaeum of Philadel­phia, which moved in late in April, 1817, and remained for a year. The Athenaeum was a popular literary and social organization which maintained reading rooms, especially for periodicals.179 There were other rooms in this or the next building let for offices 180 and the base­ment was used as a paint shop.181

The Chestnut Street “panoramas” published by Julio Rae illustrate this building in 1850 as No. 118 occupied by Hart, Montgomery & Co., dealers in paperhangings. The ground floor front had by then been modernized. The whole complex, further remodelled, is probably what was surveyed for insurance in 1861 by D. R. Knight. The three buildings then lining the west side of the court had reached a length of over 150 feet, ap­proximately what they are today (fig. 15).

The present building is in need of archaeological study to see how much of the older buildings are contained within the fabric. It is a very interesting fact that the inside wall of the basem*nt on Chestnut Street shows the lower part of a doorway well below the sidewalk level

178 Minutes of the Managing Committee (M M C ) MS, CC Library, June 29, 1812.

179 The Athenaeum of Philadelphia, founded in 1813, incorpo­rated 1815 and still active today. It had occupied the second floor rooms of bookseller Anthony Finley at the southwest cor­ner of Fourth and Chestnut Streets, but was asked to move when the building was taken over by publisher Mathew Carey in 1817. John Bunting was paid $56.5— for carpenter work in preparing the new quarters over the Front Store. Rent was $200 per year, payable quarterly. When the Athenaeum even­tually moved, it was to quarters in Philosophical Hall. Minutes of the Athenaeum/Philadelphia, MS, The Athenaeum, 156, 172, 177, 178, 201. The Charter, By-Laws and Seventy-Fifth Annual Report of the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, n.a., Philadelphia, 3-18, 1890.

iso For instance, “Bonsall John, conveyancer, office 13 Car­penters Court.” In 1837 insurance surveyor Phillip Justus re­ported that the third floor and part of the fourth were used as a jewelry manufactory.

484 MMC, Oct. 18, 1815.

indicating that Chestnut Street (it once descended to Dock Creek east of the Hall) has been filled in some six feet.Building 1 (“The Back Building,” ) Built 1810-1811

Somewhat smaller (19'-6" X 27') and three stories high, this building joined “Building H ” immediately to the south, and it, in turn, communicated with “Building E.” It was entered by another Venetian door and its stairway gave access to one office each on the upper floors.

Further search and analysis of data from various sources may make possible a complete picture of the development of this property. We know that it was fenced in 1771 182 and that there was still a fence there in 1796.183 The court or alley was paved before 1793,184 and used as a service driveway. Gravel was spread about the Hall in 1807 185 and flagstones and brick pav­ing in 1843.186

The supply of water in the court is referred to on many occasions. The old well on the property when purchased was fitted with a new pump with an iron chamber.187 This was apparently so successful that by August 1, 1774, it was in general used by the neighbors and the Company planned to charge six shillings per year “water money” for each family able to pay.188 By

182 “to 4-1/2 [days] Scott 4-1/2 Do. Garrot 4-1/2 Nelson working and puting up Fencing a Long the Hall Alley with Sundry other Jobing work at that time.” ACM. Accounts of James Worrell, Oct. 24, 1771.183 “This Committee being apprehensive that the late rain may have damaged the Fence round the Yard belonging to the Hall request Joseph Morris to attend thereto and have any repairs done that may appear needful.” CSM, August 9, 1797.

184 It appears that Chestnut Street was paved or repaired in 1796 and the grades changed enough so that part of the pavement in Carpenters’ Court had to be taken up to make a new connec­tion. CSM, June 15, 22, and 29. 1796.

485 MMC, MS, CC Library. July 15, 1807-February 10, 1808.180 Ibid., Oct. 25, Nov. 8, 1843.487 CC, 39.488 Ibid., 41. In 1714 Councils took steps to encourage the

erection of pumps by permitting the person putting in the pump to charge water rent to his neighbors, provided he kept the pump in repair. A. A. Cairns, The development of public health work in Philadelphia, Laws, Ordinances and Regulations of the

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VOL. 43 , PT . 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 1191811 there was a cistern and log pipes were led to it.189 Evidently the pump became too popular for the next year it wasResolved that a Notice be put on the pump that no person except those occupying the Carpenters Building can be per­mitted to take water from the pump in Buckets or tubs and that a chain & Lock be put on at N ight.190

By the year 1818 there was a hydrant apparently for “Schuylkill water” under pressure.191

The “back yard” was laid out with walks and shrub­bery when the building became a shrine in 1857 and this landscape treatment is indicated in the views of the period. It long ago was paved over with concrete.


Architect of Carpenters’ H all1The life of Robert Smith is obscure at many points,

but it can be reconstructed in outline from various sources.2 According to one account he was born about 1722 in Glasgow, Scotland.3 The circ*mstances of his immigration to America are not known.4

The building projects with which Smith was associ-Department of Public Health, 3, City of Phila. Public Health Service, 1928.

189 MMC, Mar. 6-May 1, 1811. The remains of a bricked well or cistern may still be seen below grade in the rear base­ment of the present “back building.”

In January, 19S3, during excavations for a manhole on the new federal steam distribution line, a circular brick structure was found in the southeast corner of the yard of the Hall. This was 6' in diameter and only one brick or 4" thick, laid without mortar. It is not known whether this indicates a well or a privy vault. A similar structure was found under the old Bank of the Republic (Clearing House) at 311-13 Chestnut Street in June, 1952, with a deposit of broken eighteenth-century earthenware and other objects.

The fill around the structure uncovered at Carpenters’ Hall was some seven feet deep, slanting away to the south towards the former Dock Creek. There was a scattering of animal bones and teeth (suggesting the eighteenth-century abattoirs along the creek) and fragments of early earthenware at the original ground surface.

190 Ibid., June 10, 1812.11 am indebted to Robert C. Smith, University of Pennsyl­

vania, A. Lawrence Kocher, Williamsburg Restoration, EdwardM. Riley, U. S. Natl. Park Service, Louise Hall, Duke Univer­sity, Bruce M. Bigelow, Brown University, and Henry L. Savage, Princeton University, for additions to this section.

2 Previous essays on Smith may be found in Joseph Jackson, Early Philadelphia architects and engineers, 66-69. C. P. Sta­cey, “SMITH, ROBERT,” Dictionary of American Biography,N. Y., Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1935. Carl and Jessica Briden- baugh, Rebels and gentlemen, N. Y., Reynal & Hitchco*ck, 1942, also provided some valuable leads.

3 Scharf and Westcott, 1068, sources not cited. At the time of his death in 1777 Smith was fifty-five years old. (Depart­ment of Friends’ Records (Arch Street Office). The Record of Births and Burials for the Southern District (M S), Vol. I, “1777 2 Mo. 11 Robert Smith 55 years.”) Joseph Jackson, Early Philadelphia architects and engineers, 66-69, gives his birth as “about 1710.”

4 There is some reason to suspect that our Smith originated in Chester County, Pennsylvania, to which his son returned. Miss Hall points out that a Quaker Robert Smith of the Falls Monthly Meeting in Bucks County was disowned December 7, 1749, for marrying contrary to discipline and that an Esther Smith (late Jones) of the Philadelphia Monthly Meeting was reported December 23, 1749, married contrary to discipline. This may be our man, but the number of contemporary Robert Smiths in the province makes necessary a further check.

ated in one capacity or another make an impressive list.5 It certainly entitles him to be known as one of the most successful architects of eighteenth-century America. A rough chronology follows:1752-1754. Smith received eight payments for work

on the construction of Christ Church steeple, Phila­delphia, a brick and frame structure 190' high.6 His friend Owen Biddle, gave him the credit for its design.7

1753, Jan. 14. Edward Shippen, member of the Board of Trustees, brought up from Philadelphia Smith’s plan for a building for the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University.8

1754—1756. Smith supervised the construction of Nas­sau Hall at Princeton.9 * * *191 Ibid., March 18, 1818.5 One of his first jobs may have been a church. On February

19, 1749, it was agreed that the managers of the new Second Presbyterian Church at Third and Arch Streets should invite “Messrs. Smith and Bedford to undertake the Carpenters Work of the sd. House.” It is not unlikely that this was Robert Smith and and Gunning Bedford, another member of the Car­penters’ Company. (Structure put up 1750-52. John Palmer built the steeple 1754, 5, one of the first three in Philadelphia.)

6 D. J. Crownover, 18th century churches in Philadelphia, thesis, Fine Arts Dept., Univ. of Penna., May, 1952 (typescript, unpaged). The author’s data were largely drawn from manu­script sources.

7 Owen Biddle, The young carpenter’s assistant, 56, Phila.,1810. “. . . for the justness of its proportions, simplicity andsymmetry of its parts is allowed by good judges to be equal if not superior in beauty to any Steeple of the spire kind, either in Europe or America. It was erected in the year 1755 by Robert Smith, who some time after took out the sills of the wooden part which had begun to decay, and replaced them by others. . . .” Biddle’s book includes an engraved elevation of the tower and steeple (pi. 44).

8 Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker, Princeton, 1746-1896, 37, Princeton, Princeton Univ. Press, 1946. The trustees approved on July 22, 1754, “the Plan drawn by Doct. W. Shippen & Mr. Robt. Smith.” Princeton, Minutes of the Trustees (M S), 40. Hugh Morrison, Early American architecture, 555, 556, N. Y., Oxford Univ. Press, 1952, remarks that Nassau Hall “seems to have set the pattern for later college buildings such as Harvard’s Hollis Hall (1762-3), University Hall at Brown (1770-71) and Dartmouth Hall (1784-91).”

9 Wertenbaker, 38. John B. Landis, The Old Stone MeetingHouse, 1757-1832, Carlisle, Pa., The Cornman Press, 1904 (31pp., illus.) attributes the First Presbyterian Church of Carlisleto Robert Smith without making a very clear case.

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1758, Aug. 5. Contract signed with building committee of the Vestry of Christ Church for the building of St. Peter’s Church at Third and Pine Streets. Specifi­cations call for a brick structure 60' X90' with walls 37' high and a cupola, interior finish not included. The whole to be completed by November 1, 1759, for £2310.10

1761, Nov. 28. Trustees of Pennsylvania College ap­prove for construction, part of Smith’s plan for the “New College.” The brick structure 30' X 70', was put up the following year on the Fourth Street prop­erty, below Arch Street.11

1763, Jan. 1. Contract with Mary Maddox, widow, to build two three-story brick houses on her Third Street property. The houses were to have 21' front and 40' depth; in the rear, piazzas and two-story kitchens. Also necessaries, enclosures and incidental paving. To be completed June 30, 1764, all for £2250.12

1764—1765. Built house for Benjamin Franklin, south side of High Street between Third and Fourth Streets. House was of brick, 34' X 34', three stories high, richly finished inside, with kitchen in basem*nt. Smith claimed that the structure was worth up to £780 al­though “the House has not yet been measured.” 13

1766, Jan. 16. Appointed architect of Third Presby­terian Church, south side of Pine Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets. Structure was of brick 60' X 80', with galleries. Built 1766-68 and still standing, though much altered.14

1766-1767. Served as master carpenter on the Phila­delphia “Bettering House,” Tenth to Eleventh and Spruce to Pine Streets. This was a very large U- shaped brick structure. The east end was an alms­house and west a “house of employment,” both two10 Christ Church Archives, Drawer 26. St. Peter’s was fin­

ished in 1763, except for the pulpit and chancel, at a cost of £4765/19/6-1/2. Smith apparently executed the interior wood­work for an additional fee and was not finally paid until 1771. (C. P. B. Jefferys, The provincial and revolutionary history of St. Peter’s Church, Philadelphia, Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 48 (1) : 42-47, 1924.)

11 Thomas Harrison Montgomery, A history of the Univer­sity of Pennsylvania from its foundation to A. D. 1770, 356, Phila., Geo. W. Jacobs & Co., 1900. “We are therefore of the Opinion that Workmen should now be agreed to go on in the ensuing Summer with one half of the Buildings contained in the Plan formerly given to us by Mr. Robert Smith, which will be 70 feet long by 30 wide and will have on the Ground Floor two Charity Schools, with a Kitchen and a Dining Room, and in the upper Stories Sixteen Lodging Rooms, with cellar beneath the whole, which, by an Estimate given to us may be executed for £1500. . . .”

12 Hist. Soc. Penna., Wallace Papers (M S) 5: 30.13 Smith to Samuel Rhoads, Philadelphia, March 30, 1767.

Amer. Philos. Soc., Franklin Papers (M S). The insurance survey by Gunning Bedford dated August 5, 1766, is reproduced in “Franklin & Fires,” n.a., 14, Phila., 1906. The whole was insured for £500.

See Edward M. Riley, The Deborah Franklin correspondence, Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 95 (3) : 240-242, 1951.

14 Crownover.

stories high with an arcaded piazza on the inside. In the center of this unusual layout was a three- story block with a cupola; at the angles, four-story pavilions.15

1767, Jan. Employed as architect on Zion Lutheran Church, Fourth and Cherry Streets (built 1766-69), called by Samuel Hazard the “largest and finest in North America.” Brick wall, 70' X 108', enriched with considerable decoration. Burned 1794, rebuilt 1796.16

1767, Mar. 21. Order to pay nine shillings to William Warner, another carpenter, for boring the columns of a frontispiece, probably for the house of John Law­rence, recently mayor of Philadelphia.17

1768, Apr. 18. Plans submitted for Carpenters’ Hall (built 1770-74). A two-story cross-shaped brick building with four pediments, 50' each way. The windows are unusually enriched and the whole is crowned by a turret or cupola.

1769, Jan. 31. Presented to the Pennsylvania Assem­bly a memorial proposing a multiple-span wooden- arch covered bridge on stone piers for the Schuylkill River. Certain original features with purported economies were demonstrated in plan and elevation and in a detailed model of one span. The Assembly, however, was not prepared for such a project and the matter was tabled.18

1769, Feb. 17. Appointed member of an American Philosophical Society committee to erect an observa­tory for the transit of Venus.19

1770, Apr. 7. The Corporation of Rhode Island Col­lege (now Brown University, Providence) received mail from “the architect of Philadelphia,” believed to be Robert Smith.20 The “College Edifice” (now University Hall built 1770-72) was “to be the same plan as that of Princeton [Nassau Hall] built of brick, four stories high, and one hundred and fifty feet long.” 21

1770, April 9. “A Description of the Plan and Eleva­tion of a Hospital . . . for the Reception of mad Peo­ple” signed by Smith. The plan called for a two15 Bridenbaugh, 201. The present writer has been unable to

find the source of this attribution. Scharf and Westcott, 1451. Inmates first admitted October, 1767.

16 Crownover.17 Hist. Soc. Penna., Stauffer Collection (M S) 5: 437.18 Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, in Stauffer

Collection 5 : 437.19 The observatory was erected a short time afterwards by

James Pearson in the State House Yard {Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. 22 (119) : 31, 36, 1884). It was from this wooden struc­ture that the Declaration of Independence was first read on July 8, 1776.

20 Brozvn University, John Hay Library, Rhode Island College Miscellaneous Papers, The College to Nicholas Brown. “The Postage of a Letter from the Architect of Philadelphia” (April 7, 1770).

21 Rev. James Manning to Rev. Hezekiah Smith, February 12, 1770.

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VOL. 43 , FT. 1, 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 121story brick structure, 100' long, with a turret or cupola. This was built at Williamsburg, Virginia, as the first American insane asylum and is now known as the Eastern State Hospital.21“

1770, Sept.-Oct. Carpenters’ Company account books show that two of Smith’s men worked on the new Hall. The framing of the floors and the materials and workmanship on the cupola, with two bundles of shingles are mentioned. Total, £33. .12. ,6.22

1771, May 20. Report to vestry on decayed condition of Christ Church steeple resulting from leaks. Re­pairs began in July and were completed by Octo­ber. It was a difficult project and the cost ran to £644/2/10.23

1771, June 4. Agreement with Christ Church Vestry to build four houses on their property, north side of Spruce Street between Fourth and Fifth within four years, these to be “4 good brick messuages or tene­ments at least 2 stories high & with a cellar under the whole & to be of the value of £200 each.” 24

1772, Mar. 18. Proposal to dismantle “the Wooden and Brick Part of the State-house, as low as the Eves of the House, and to erect a Cupola on the Roof of the Front Building” delivered to the Pennsylvania As­sembly. Not approved.25

1773 ca. June. Examination of west gallery Christ Church. Reported that columns were strong enough to support organ.26

1773-1774. Designed and built Walnut Street prison, s.e. corner Sixth Street. The structure was very large—32' X 184'—and two stories with cupola and with two 90' wings. It was most remarkable for the fact that it was of fireproof construction, the floors being supported on groined brick arches. It was a model institution much studied by visitors from this country and abroad.27

1774, June 25. Appointed one of five Philadelphia “Regulators of Party Walls, Buildings and Partition Fences.” 2821a Richmond, Virginia State Library, Minutes of the Eastern

State Hospital (M S). The contract dated Jan. 18, 1771 to erect this structure was signed by Carpenter Benjamin Powell of Williamsburg, consideration £1070. Ibid.

22 CCAM, 3. This is only a small part of the work of which we have record, but the records are not complete. Much of the project seems to have been supervised by James Worrell (“James Worrell’s Cash Record,” ACM ).

23 Christ Church Vestry Minutes, 1767-84 (MS, Christ Church), 212-218. Christ Church Archives, M S Box 26, vari­ous items transcribed by Robert W. Shoemaker, U. S. Natl. Park Service.24 Christ Church Vestry Minutes, 215, 216, 217. Philadelphia Deed Book 1-9, 530-533.25 Pennsylvania Archives (V III Ser.) 8: 7220-7221. The steeple was not actually removed until 1781.

26 Christ Church Vestry Minutes, 272, 275, 276.27 Mease, 179-181. Scharf and Westcott, 267. There were

minor buildings added later and the whole was surrounded by a 20' stone wall.28 Minutes of the Common Council, Philadelphia, 1847, 795.

1775, July 24. Presented to the Pennsylvania Com­mittee of Safety “a model of a machine for obstructing the Navigation of the River Delaware” and offered his services gratis for supervision of the work. These chevaux-de-jrise, as they were called, were made of logs and weighted down with ballast stone. Smith’s offer was accepted and a number built in the following year and used to good effect.29

1775, Aug. 5. Presented to the Committee of Safety a model of a machine for raising and lowering ballast for the

1776, Jan. 19. Ordered, with David Rittenhouse and John M’Neal, to proceed to Liberty Island “and de­termine on and lay out such works as they shall think sufficient to defend it” and to employ workmen to complete them.31

1776, Aug. 2. Letter to the Provincial Council from Smith shows that he has been active in construction of barracks and other works about the fort at Billings- port, New Jersey, as well as the making and placing of the chevaux-de-jrise.32Smith died on February 11, 1777, and a notice of his

burial was carried by the Pennsylvania Evening Post two days later:

Last Tuesday morning MR. R O B ER T SM IT H , archi­tect, died at his house in Second-street, in the fifty-fifth year of his age, after a tedious and painful indisposition, which he bore with uncommon fortitude and resignation. Yesterday his remains were interred in Friends burying ground, a t­tended by many persons of character. By the death of this worthy and ingenious man, the public have sustained a very heavy loss, and his relations and acquaintances have to la­ment the sincere, steady, and affectionate friend. Several public buildings in this city, and its environs, are ornaments of his great abilities.

The personal effects as inventoried at his house in Southwark on April 12. 1777, were valued at £520/19/9. Besides an extensive assortment of household goods, the following business effects were listed:Sundrey Books of Architecture and Drawing

Instrum ts £23.16.6Sundrey blocks and ropes 2. 0.0Sundrey old Lumber 1. 0.0Sundrey Carpenter Tools 11. 0.01/2 Box Glass 2. 0.0To Sundreys in the two store rooms, Iron Stoves,

old iron work, Sundrey Paints, &c. 10.10.0To Sundrey Lumber in the Yeard by the house 6. 0.0 Sundrey Lumber in Shop yeard Including the

Lumber in Shop 20. 0.029 Minutes of the Provincial Council of Pennsylvania 10

(1771-76) : 290, Harrisburg, 1852. so Ibid. 10 : 299.31 Ibid. 10 : 462.32 Hist. Soc. Penna., Autograph Collection (M S), Smith to

Wm. Hicks [Billingsport] Aug. 2, 1776. See also Smith to Council, Billingsport, Oct. 8, 1776, Pennsylvania Archives (I Ser.), 5: 8, 9, Pliila., 1853.

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Esther Smith, widow, and John Smith, carpenter, the eldest son, were the administrators of the estate and Joseph Rakestraw, carpenter, and Thomas Affleck, cabi- nent maker, were among the four subscribers to the inventory.33

Although no real property list has been found, Smith must have owned a number of houses. His estate be­fore liquidation received rent from at least thirteen prop­erties including a “vendue house” and a tavern in Moya- mensing known as “the sign of the Buck.” These may have been built by Smith on speculation. Thomas Mus- grave bought an unfinished house and lot from the estate in 1779.34

The value of the estate seems to have decreased during liquidation. Whether Robert Smith was actually bank­rupt when he died or whether mismanagement and the post-war inflation was responsible does not appear. The occupation of Philadelphia by the British added to the troubles, for it was noted that the “Sundry Lumber” in the yard was appropriated by the enemy, as was the hay in the barn in the meadow. At the same time, very little rent was taken in.

In 1786 Ann Rhoads, to whom Robert Smith’s estate owed £64/10/3, complained that she got “nothing but abusive language” from John Smith, the administrator 35 and the following year the latter was sued for £130 and his property was seized by the sheriff of Chester County.36

33 Philadelphia, Register of Wills, 1777, No. 52. Notice of settlement, Pennsylvania Gazette, Apr. 9, 1777. Final state­ment Oct. 10, 1789.

34 The administration papers from the estate show “Rent” from Barry Buck, Joseph Baker, Andrew Hayward, James Rowan, and Mrs. Hackenlock. House-rent from George Meade and ground-rent from John O’Neal, Mrs. Lake, Duncan Leech, Michael McGannon, and Rose Stewart. It was a period of speculation in lands. Samuel Powel “the great builder” owned more than ninety city houses when he died in 1759. Briden- baugh, 207.

The tavern, owned by Smith as early as 1773, was kept by Thomas Mushett and advertised for rent after Smith’s death. Pennsylvania Gazette, April 9, 1777. It was finally sold to John Levin at the order of the Orphans’ Court. Another piece of real estate owned by Smith was a lot on the east side of Sec­ond Street between Spruce and Walnut Streets bought from Samuel Powel August 17, 1768. It had a 19'6" front and ex­tended back to Dock Street. Hist. Soc. Penna., Brayton Papers (M S) Parchments. Smith’s signature is accompanied by a wax seal of oval shape with what appears to be pipes of Pan bordered with laurel.

35 Amer. Philos. Soc. Franklin Papers, Ann Rhoads to B. F., Philadelphia, December 15, 1786. Joseph Rhoads, her husband, house carpenter (died 1784), had his property destroyed by the British while serving in the Continental Army. His widow complained that she and her five small children were about to be turned out of doors and begged for payment from the estate.

36 Ibid., John Smith to B. F., Phila., Aug. 24, 1787. John Smith was elected to the Carpenters’ Company about 1779. He gave up his position as Senior Warden when he moved to Ches­ter County in 1784. By 1804 he was in financial trouble. In a letter to the Company dated January 8, he w rote: “Throo the dulness of the times and the scarcity of Circulating Cash &c—I have had no buizeness this three Months past that I have earn’d

Robert Smith must have been an early member of the Carpenters’ Company although we have no contempo­rary record of his election.37 By 1770 he was the fifth active member in point of seniority.38 His greatest contribution to the Company of record was his work for the Hall in purchasing the lot, canvassing for building funds (he subscribed £20 himself) and furnishing the design. The records show that he served with the com­mittee on prices in 1763,39 a financial committee in 176640 and others. The records of the Company are missing—or were not kept—during the difficult war year of 1777 when Smith died.

We know nothing of Smith’s own apprenticeship and little more of the men trained under him. In a letter to Deborah Franklin in 1766 he mentions an employee named Barnabas Neave 41 and we have an historian’s statement that John Keen, afterwards a member of the Carpenters’ Company was apprenticed to Smith.42 In the fall of 1770 John Oneal and James Baxter seem to have been journeymen working for Smith on the cupola of Carpenters’ Hall at six shillings per day.43 His own son, John, also a house carpenter, worked with him on the repair of Christ Church steeple.44

None of Smith’s drawings and few of his papers are known to exist, but we have record that his place of busi­ness in 1763 was “in Second-street on Society Hill.” 45 In 1769 he was taxed for one horse, one cow, and twoa farthing by. I have sustain’d several badd debts—likewiseMoney owing to Me which canott immediately Collectt—I like­wise have been at a Considerable expence by My Wife haveing two spells of Sickness within this Six Months past—therefore from the Above mention’d circ*mstances I am nessiated to aply to You for a loan of One hundred Dollars.”

He was on the relief list of the Company from May, 1804, to January, 1805. The month following they bought for him a muslin winding sheet and a twelve dollar walnut coffin and paid for burying him.

The Philadelphia Directory for 1785 lists a John Smith, car­penter, living at the corner of Seventh and Chestnut Streets. In the following year Administrator John Smith wrote that he then lived twenty-seven miles from Philadelphia.

37 The statement that he became a member in 1736 must be in error. He would have been only fourteen years of age at that time.

38 See Warden’s Book, 1769-1781, many entries.33 AIBLCC, 9.40 Ibid,, 10.41 Amer. Philos. Soc. Franklin Papers (M S) 48 (2) : 93.42 Penna. Mag. Hist. & Biog. 4: 349, 1880, Gregory B. Keen,

The descendants of Joran Kyn, the founder of Upland. Keen was born 1747, elected to the Carpenters’ Company 1772, became Vice-President 1801, and died in 1832.

43 CCAM, 3.44 Christ Church Archives.45 From an advertisem*nt of James Clow, a stucco worker

recently arrived from Britain and with whom he was presuma­bly associated. Pennsylvania Journal, Dec. 29, 1763.

While this essay was in galley proof, Mr. A. Lawrence Kocher of the Williamsburg restoration called to my attention that an advertisem*nt in the Pennsylvania Chronicle for April 20-27, 1767, refers to Smith as “Carpenter on Society Hill.” He also advises that Smith’s drawings for the Eastern State Hospital at Williamsburg are, or were recently, in existence.

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VOL. 43 , PT . t , 1953] CARPENTERS’ HALL 123servants in Southwark and in 1774 for one horse, one cow, and one servant.46 47 48 At the time of his decease in 1777, as we have seen, he had equipment and materials in a shop in Southwark.

The Carpenters’ Company library now has three works which belonged to Robert Smith :

Colin Campbell, Vitruvius Brittannicus; or, the Brit­ish Architect, 3 v., London, 1731 (bought 1756).

Batty Langley, The City and County Builder’s Treas­ury of Designs, London, 1750 (bought 1751).

Andrea Palladio, The Four Books of Andrea Palla­dio’s Architecture, London, 1738 (bought Phila­delphia, February 2, 1754).47

These volumes seem to have come by way of John Smith, the son, who sold four to the Company on March 7 and 21, 1804, for $24.00. It would be interesting, and perhaps profitable, to compare each of the designs in these volumes with Smith’s buildings to see whether any of the English sources can be identified in his designs.

From the newspapers of the period we know that Smith was politically active in the Revolutionary move­ment, like other leading members of the Carpenters’ Company. On June 15, 1774, he was appointed to a special committee to correspond with the mechanics of New York City.48 A week later he was named to “a

46 Pennsylvania Archives ( / / / Ser.) 14: 144, 439. The ad­ministration papers show that he had one negro boy sold to Joseph Musgrave.47 Information from Alphonse F. Trezza, Univ. of Penna. Library, who has prepared a study of the Carpenters’ Company library.48 Pennsylvania Gazette, June 15, 1774.

large and respectable” Philadelphia committee created to correspond with the “Sister Colonies,” prepare for local defence and to send relief to occupied Boston.49 As we have seen, he was deeply involved in the design and construction of the Delaware River defences against British naval action, and died while the work was still under way.

Smith seems to have been socially active, especially in company with other men in public life and in the building business. In the period 1766-1774 Jacob Hiltzheimer in his diary mentions eleven affairs at which both he and Smith were present. There were a number of dinner parties featuring fish or steak. Smith himself was the host on four occasions—a housewarming (March 19, 1766), a barbecue, a dinner, and a punch party—at his Buck Tavern.50 The respectability of his position in Philadelphia is indicated by election to the American Philosophical Society in 1769.

The practice of architecture today is a business as well as an art, and in eighteenth-century America it was even more so. Robert Smith in his own time was referred to as “carpenter,” “house carpenter,” “builder,” and “architect.” The historical designation we use today is “carpenter-architect.” 61 His designs for the Schuylkill River bridge and the defences of the Delaware River also entitle him to the title of “engineer.”

49 Ibid., June 22, 1774.60 The first party mentioned was a “cider frolic” at Greenwich

Hill, Jan. 24, 1766, and the last a raising dinner at the Walnut Street Prison, Sept. 10, 1774. Hiltzheimer, various entries.

51 At the time of his death, Jacob Hiltzheimer in his diary (Feb. 12, 1777) called him “carpenter,” the Pennsylvania Eve­ning Post (Feb. 13, 1777) “architect.” Dr. James Mease, writ­ing some years later, referred to him as “that excellent and faith­ful architect.”

F ig . 15a. Carpenters' Hall from the South. Today the old Hall awaits the develop­ment of the new National Park to remove the sea of parked automobiles which surrounds it. Photo, by Knickerbocker.

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1. Title page. 2. Bookplate. 3. Plan of a floor frame. 4. End wall of a frame building. S. Trussed partitions framed with posts and braces. 6. Plain truss with king post. 7. Roof truss for an arched ceiling. 8. Roman Doric order. 9. Doric order with tri­

glyphs and modillions. 10. Roman Ionic order. 11. Corinthian order.124

CARPENTERS’ HALL - [PDF Document] (35)

! (

13 1912. Tabernacle frame for a doorway. 13. Door mouldings raised oil one and both sides. 14. Fan sashes over doors. IS. Dormers: (a) ridge dormer; (6) flat top dormer with shingled cheeks; (c) arched dormer with “plain scrowl brackets” ; (d) “ditto, with a plain double cornice, pilasters and brackets.” 16. Sash: (a) arched windows; (b) arched door; (c) Gothic fan. 17. Chimney

frontispiece. 18. Open newel dog leg stairs with ramped rail. 19. Palisades for fence and a gate. 20. Chinese railings.125

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Joseph Henntarsh,* Benjamin Loxley,Jacob Usher,*Abraham Carlile,*John Nichols,*Gunning Bedford,Isaac Zane,Samuel Griscom,Samuel Rhoads,* William Roberts,Tobias Griscom,*Isaac Lefever,*John Price,*Benjamin Mifflin,* Joseph Fox,*Josiah Harper,*Silas Engles,Matthias Sadler,Isaac Coats,*Frazer Kinsley,Robert Carson,*Joseph Thornhill, junior, Joshua Pancoast,* Conrad Bartling,William Lownes,Mark Rodes,William Robinson,Hugh Roberts,Jacob Reary,*Matthias Val Keen, William Colliday, Richard Mosley,William Boyer,*John Barker,Andrew Edge,*Joseph Clark,Matthew McGlathery, Thomas Savery,Thomas Procter,Samuel Jones,John Lort,Israel Hallowell,William Williams,John Donohue,Samuel McClure,*

Robert Smith,*Samuel Powel,*John Goodwin,*Joseph Harrison,*Ellis Price,*Benjamin Clark,*James Armitage,Edward Warner,*John Wayne,*Joseph Rakestraw,* George Plim, junior,* William Coleman,*James Potter,Jacob Lewis,*Ezekiel Worrell,*John Thornhill,*John Smith,Joseph Rhoads,*George Ingels,William Dilworth,*Joseph Rakestraw, junior, John Hitchco*ck,*Andrew Boyd,Evan Peters,*John Rugan,Joseph Gridley,*Joseph Wetherell,James Graysbury,Samuel Pancoast,David Evans,Robert Morrell,Thomas Middleton,* Samuel Pastorius,John Trip,*John Piles,Samuel Wallis,Benjamin Mitchell,John Allen,*Samuel Tolbert,*John Keen,Joseph Howell, junior, Joseph Ogilby,Ebenezer Ferguson, George Forepaugh, William Linnard,

James Portues,* James Worrell, Edmond Woolley,* James Davis,*John Harrison,* Thomas Nevell, William Clark,* James Pearson, Reese Lloyd,*Levi Budd,John Mifflin,Richard Armitt, Joseph Hitchco*ck,* George Wood, Joseph Thornhill, Joseph Rakestraw, Joseph Rush,*James Gibson, Patrick Craghead,* James Corkrin, William Rakestraw,* John King,Lawrence Rice,* William Garrigues, Samuel Powel, Robert Evans,James Bringhurst, Isaac Jones,Thomas Shoemaker, William Stevenson, Abraham Jones,* John Reinhard, William Ashton, Josiah Matlack, Samuel Jervis, William Zane,Moses Thomas, Nathan Allen Smith, Adam Zantzinger, John Hall,Joseph Govett,John Harrison, Robert Allison,John Cooper,

1 This list is taken from the Company’s Rule Book of 1786. Names marked with an asterisk were then deceased.

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DESCRIPTIONS BY FIRE INSURANCE SURVEYORSCarpenters’ Hall, December 22, 1773 (Philadelphia Contributionship for the Assurance of Houses against Loss by Fire, Nos. 1772 and 1773. Value ¿750).50 feet Square having a 10 ft Brake in each Corner thereof two Storys high 14 inch walls—two Rooms and pasage be­low—3 Rooms & pasage, in Second Story plasterd. perti- sions—two Storys of open Newel Stairs—Rampd. and Bracketed—Straight Joint floor in first Story the Rooms finishd. very plain Glass 12 by 0[P] a frett in Bedmold of Eaves Cornish. A Cupola on the Roof NewGung. BedfordCarpenters’ Hall, April 25, 1851 (Contributionship Policy No. 8520. Value $3000.00).I have Surveyed the building known as Carpenters Hall, for the Carpenters Company, situate at the head of Carpen­ters Court, which runs south from Chestnut Street, East of & near Fourth Street, Being 50 feet square with a break of 10 feet in each corner, see plan below, two storys high. 14 inch walls.The lower story in one room and passage for the stairs the floor of clean heart pine plain base, double architraves to the doors knee’d and mouldings to the windows the Glass 9 X 12 outside shutters a large D. window in the south side, the break in North East corner built up, one story for fire proof.

F ig . 16. Floor plan, 1851 (enlarged). Ground floor one large room, except for the fire proof and closet. Philadelphia Contributionship.

The second Story in three rooms and passage, the floor of common heart pine, plain base, double architraves to the doors, & mouldings to the windows, inside shutters to the East room, one wooden mantel, the Glass 9 X 12, the three front windows with circular heads & balisters below—Stairs open Newel & open string. Ramp’d rail & Turned balisters. & plain brackets, leading from the lower story to the loft above, which is partly floored with rough boards, & a step ladder up to the Cupola which is actagon shape 10 feet di­ameter & about 26 feet high, with a Ball & Vane &c. Wooden cornice to the four sides of the building, a pediment

to each front & slate roof. Copper & tin pipes, a large frontice piece with columns in front, the lower story pa­pered, a Furnace in the Cellar which appears safely constructed.

D. R. Knight

Carpenters’ Hall, July 17, 1857 (Contributionship Pol­icy No. 8520).I have Resurveyed the Carpenters Hall & find the following alterations & additions viz. The Lower story has been made into two rooms, two 24 light sash doors between the rooms the Glass 9 X 12, two Fire Proof closets, the wood work in this story Grained.The second story is now in 7 Rooms & passage the wood work in the 2 Rooms on the west side & the passage is grained, two water closets & small reservoirs (walnut seats) stationary wash stand marble top & back & cold water & Urinal. Iron sink with cold water & a summer Range Marble mantel shelf & Iron brackets, 3 Closets, & a Range of Closets filling up one side of the kitchen two stucco Brackets in the passage, all outside wood work except shutters & sash painted & sanded. The first & second stor­ies papered throughout & the Gas pipes plastered in through­out, The steps from the first story to the second story have been covered with Cast Iron plates. Tin Gutters have been put on the slate Roof, & a Tin Roof put on the outside Fire Proof over the shingles

D. R. KnightSurveyor

Carpenters’ Hall, April 25, 1870.I have Resurveyed the annexed described premises, and find the following Alterations and additions, Viz., The first Story is now in one room, and passage for the Stairs. Two wooden Ionic fluted columns, with bases and capitals, and plain Entablature, have been placed in the opening formed by recess of the Southern Wall, at the East and W est An­gles, and two Semi-columns of Same description and finish, put in Corresponding positions, opposite, on the N orthern Wall. Walls and Ceiling painted. Register in floor.Second Story. The platform in front of Fireproof re­moved : white marble Ashlar from floor to side of fireproof down. A plastered partition built across room at South End of passage, forming a closet; three light transom hung on a pivot in partition ; entrance to bathroom through a closet on W est W all of South Eastern room. Jalousie Shutters, inside to window of Small room on East side of passage—To Registers.

Louis Moore, Surveyor

Carpenters’ Hall, October 30, 1874.I have Resurveyed the above described premises and find the following Alterations and Additions, Viz. The One story building at the N orth East angle has been removed, as has also the wall to that part of the Vestibule, that was enclosed, and use as a F ireproof: three additional windows similar to those described in the Survey have been devel­oped : the iron doors to the fire-proof have been removed and the doorway closed with brick-work—the foregoing Alterations are in the 1st Story. Cellar One pair of 12 light 9 X 16 in folding sash doors, also one pair of 8 X 13

CARPENTERS’ HALL - [PDF Document] (38)

128 CHARLES E. PETERSON [t r a n s . AM ER. P H IL . SOC.

in folding sashes hung with hinges. Not heretofore de­scribed in the cellars: also an additional Gas oven.

Louis Moore, SurveyorCarpenters’ Hall, October 22, 1888.I have resurveyed the foregoing and annexed described premises and find that the ceiling of the front room west side in the second story has been lined with white walnut boards (planed and grooved) and black walnut cornice—a fire proof safe with double iron doors has been made in chimney breast and the front and sides outside, lined with paneled walnut wainscot from floor to ceiling—2 walnut doors— 4 inch walnut architraves—the four windows in said room have been finished with back panels, moulded sub skirting and inside rolling blind shutters folding into boxes —all of walnut—platform for desks in front of fire proof— the two windows in room back of the above have inside rolling blind walnut shutters—an iron bath tub with hot and cold water and the outside lined with boards planed and grooved has been put in room at south end of passage.

Jas. A. Campbell, forDaniel R. Knight— Surveyor

* * *

“Building F ” (Second Meeting Hall) December 6, 1791 (Contributionship, No. 2481. Value £200).a house belonging to the Carpenters Company of pliia., situ­ate on the west side of a 14 feet aley Leading from Chesnutt Street to their Hall 61 feet front— 19 feet 81s. deep—2 Storys high, 14 & 9 inch walls, 3 Rooms in each Story, some plas- terd., and some Board pertitions paperd., finishd., very plain inside, floors of Good Sap Board, one Story of plain dog Leg Stairs, 1 Story of Comon winding Stairs, out Side and one Story within painted, Block Cornice to eaves, new.“Building F ” (Second Meeting Hall) October 31, 1833 (Contributionship, Resurvey of No. 2481).I have Resurveyed a House belonging to the Carpenters Company of Philada— Situate on the west side of Carpenters Court—Insured by Policy No 2481—recently raised from two, to thee Stories high—The 3d. Story divided in two rooms & short passage, the floor of 5/4 in yellow pine moulded bas round. Single mouldings to the doors & win­dows. Glass 8 by 10 in—outside Venetian Shutters. Sash dble hung*— Shed roof hip’d at the South end—wooden Cornice—tin Gutter & pipes.— Stair w'ay, Privy &c. newly built at the south end & adjoining the above—being 8 ft. by 20 feet—three Stories high—9 in walls—floors of 5 /4" yellow pine. Single mouldg to the windows— Straight

Stairs with winders in the corner leading to the 3d. Story— Straight rail & plain banisters, painted—Shed roof hip’d at the South corner-—wooden eave—tin gutter & pipe.—John C. Evans* Garret in one room, plastered, yellow pine floor, plain base round, two circular dormer windows & trap door in the roof—the old Stair way continued up—plain & straight—with winders in the corner, & plain rail.—

Jfc J ji

The Front Store, “Building H ”—April, 1811 (Mutual Assurance Co., Survey No. 1709. Value $2000.00).SURVEY, For the Carpenters Company of the City & County of Philadelphia, Their new four Story Brick house, Situate on the Southwest Corner of Chesnut Street & Car­penters Court, between third & fourth Streets,—Dimensions, 26 feet by 44 feet, First Story, 1 Room, occupied as a book store, neatly Shelv’d, with a wood Cornice over do. plain mantle, washbds &c windows cased, 2 arch head windows, a neat arch head Venetian door with fan & Side lights,—2 walls lined,Second Story, 1 Room, washbds’ windows Cased 2 walls lined,—A part of the Second floor open with painted hand­rails & ballusters around,—Third Story, 1 Room, plain mantles, washbds. & windows Cased,—Fourth Story, 2 Rooms, finished Similar, Left not plaisterd, Trap door, Roof hipt. & pitcht four ways,Back Building, 19 feet 6 inches, by 27 feet, three Stories high,— In a part of this building are 3 flights open newell painted Rampt handRail Stairs, Close String, A neat Arch head Venetian door with fan & side lights,Other part—First Story, 1 Room, plain mantle washbds & windows Cased,Second Story, 1 Room. Similar, with Closets,Third Story, 1 Room Similar, to Second Story,Loft-—not plaistered, Trap door,—2 floors narrow heart pine, other floors heart pine bds,Glass, 84 lights 13 by 20—72 do. 12 & 12 by 18—92 do. 12 by 15—60 do. 11 by 16—84 do. 12 by 36 do. 10 by 12 inches,— party walls 9 inches, Board partitions,—Materials good & well Built, Brick ash holes,—West a three Story Brick house, South a two Story Brick Building, with which it Communicates, & which is insured in the Contributionship Assurance Company,—Water plenty,(Signed) Philip Justus

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Carpenters’ The Company BROADSHEET· Carpenters’ Company Broadsheet 5 End of Year Show The College’s End of Year Show was this year held at Carpenters’ Hall from 21st to


CARPENTERS’ HALL - [PDF Document] (2024)


What happened at Carpenter's Hall? ›

Congress used Carpenters' Hall as its meeting place only for the first session, from September 5, 1774, to October 26, 1774. It was in Carpenters' Hall that the Congress first decided how the colonies should meet British threats to their freedom.

What was the significance of the Carpenters Hall? ›

Carpenters' Hall, home to the Carpenters' Company trade guild, served as the meeting place of the First Continental Congress. In 1774, delegates met in the newly completed building in response to the British Parliament's passage of the "Intolerable Acts" against the colony of Massachusetts.

What event occurred at Carpenters Hall in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774? ›

The First Continental Congress convened in Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, between September 5 and October 26, 1774. Delegates from twelve of Britain's thirteen American colonies met to discuss America's future under growing British aggression.

Why did this group of colonists decide to meet in Carpenters Hall? ›

Delegates chose Carpenters' Hall since it was a more neutral location than the State House, to which they had been invited.

Who was the love of Karen Carpenter's life? ›

After a whirlwind romance, she married real-estate developer Thomas James Burris on August 31, 1980, in the Crystal Room of The Beverly Hills Hotel. Burris, divorced with an 18-year-old son, was nine years her senior.

Who were the pallbearers at Karen Carpenter's funeral? ›

Pallbearers at the service, which was followed by a private burial at Forest Lawn Cypress, included bandleader Herb Alpert and John Bettis, who wrote the lyrics for many of the Carpenters' songs. Honorary pallbearers included Miss Newton-John, Burt Bacharach, former California Lt.

What are some fun facts about Carpenters Hall? ›

Carpenters' Hall is a treasure in historic Philadelphia. It hosted the First Continental Congress in 1774 and was home to Franklin's Library Company, The American Philosophical Society, and the First and Second Banks of the United States.

What is the moral of the story the Carpenters House? ›

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favour. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

Who owns Carpenter's Hall? ›

Carpenters' Hall in Philadelphia has been continuously owned and operated by the Carpenters' Company of the City and County of Philadelphia since 1770. The seeds of American independence were sown here at the First Continental Congress meeting held in 1774.

What 3 major historical events happened in Philadelphia? ›

Beneath this facade, however, Philadelphia represents an urban cluster of national and international stature. Its place in history was secured by its role as the location of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the constitutional convention of 1787, and second U.S. national capital.

Why was there no president from 1776 to 1789? ›

1 Answer. During the period between the Revolution and the Constitution, the states were joined in the Articles of Confederation. The Articles didn't include a position called "President" (and in fact opposed the notion of a strong executive).

Why did the founding fathers meet in Philadelphia? ›

The Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia met between May and September of 1787 to address the problems of the weak central government that existed under the Articles of Confederation.

What happened in Carpenter's Hall? ›

The First Continental Congress of the Thirteen Colonies of North America met at Carpenters Hall from September 5 to October 26, 1774, as the Pennsylvania State House, later renamed Independence Hall, was being used by the moderate Provincial Assembly of Pennsylvania.

What does the rattlesnake on the newspaper represent? ›

The rattlesnake as a symbol of the American colonies originated with Benjamin Franklin's Join or Die cartoon of 1754, which he printed above his newspaper essay urging unity among the colonies for defense against the French and Indians on the frontier.

What does the Sugar Act do? ›

Enacted on April 5, 1764, to take effect on September 29, the new Sugar Act cut the duty on foreign molasses from 6 to 3 pence per gallon, retained a high duty on foreign refined sugar, and prohibited the importation of all foreign rum.

What happened to the girl from the Carpenters? ›

Karen Carpenter, a singer who long suffered under the burden of the expectations that came with pop stardom, died on February 4, 1983, succumbing to heart failure brought on by her long, unpublicized struggle with anorexia.

What happened to Karen Carpenter's brother after she died? ›

Richard Carpenter continued with his music, releasing solo albums writing and producing music for other artists. He also dedicated a significant amount of time to creating compilations and special releases in honor of his sister's musical legacy.

What happened to the Carpenters house? ›

Richard Carpenter sold the place in mid-1997. Tiring of a nonstop parade of fans paying hommage to Karen Carpenter and her and her brother's music, the compound's current owners have torn down the annex and begun construction on a larger house.

What happened on September 5th, 1774? ›

Spurred by local pressure groups, colonial legislatures empowered delegates to attend a Continental Congress which would set terms for a boycott. The colony of Connecticut was the first to respond. The Congress first met in Philadelphia on September 5, 1774, with delegates from each of the 13 colonies except Georgia.

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