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Independence National Historical Park

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NEWS
December 25, 1993 | By Howard Goodman, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Independence Hall is open every day. The Liberty Bell, too. But for eight years, some of the other treasures of Independence National Historic Park have been closed in winter because of budget problems. No longer. Thanks to a $900,000 boost in the park's operating budget for fiscal 1994, the park will resume full-scale, year-round operations, according to Rep. Tom Foglietta (D., Pa.). "For the first time since 1986, all 19 historic buildings which comprise Independence National Historical Park will be open to the public for the entire year," said Foglietta, who called the budget boost "a terrific Christmas present" for Philadelphians and tourists.
NEWS
June 28, 1998 | By Larry Fish, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Fifty years ago today, President Harry Truman signed a bill that would dramatically alter the face of Philadelphia, creating Independence National Historical Park in a run-down section of eastern Center City. Back then, the area was not one to which locals pointed with pride. Across Chestnut Street and for blocks around, the streetscape was dominated by old three- and four-story commercial buildings, many vacant, whose tendency to catch fire was a constant worry. To the south, there was the wholesale-food market and a noted red-light district.
NEWS
March 20, 1993 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Of his 16 years standing on the sidelines while presidents, royalty and other officials toured Independence Hall, Bernie Goodman recalls Jimmy Carter's 1990 visit with special pleasure. After the usual tour of the Assembly Room - where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were drafted - park officials made the former president, who is an accomplished carpenter, an offer he couldn't turn down: a climb to see the hand-hewn early 19th-century woodwork supporting the hall's 168.5-foot-tall bell tower and spire.
NEWS
November 11, 1990 | By Thomas Hine, Inquirer Architecture Critic
Charles Dickens, upon arising from his bed in the disturbingly regular city of Philadelphia, went to the window, drew back the curtain, and saw an apparition. There across Chestnut Street was the "great gray ghost of finance, the tomb of many fortunes," the Second Bank of the United States. That austere Greek temple still has a spectral quality, largely because its marble columns have melted from decades of acid rain. Unlike Dickens, who viewed the building in terms of political and economic issues that were still very much alive, we are inclined to see it as the leftover of a lost civilization, a building whose importance can be recognized but whose particular significance has been lost.
NEWS
July 9, 1994 | The Philadelphia Inquirer / JOHN COSTELLO
National park rangers were in costume yesterday to commemorate the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence exactly 218 years ago yesterday. Ranger Lynda Supplee (left) cheered the declaration with Dean Bennett as Ben Franklin at Independence National Historical Park.
NEWS
January 28, 1987 | By SUSAN BENNETT, Daily News Staff Writer
Freedom will continue to be free at Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, and other area historical landmarks. A $2 proposed fee to tour Independence National Historical Park - the home of the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, at 5th and Chestnut streets, and adjacent buildings that housed the 1790-1800 federal government - has been "put off indefinitely," according to Congressional leaders. The National Park Service proposal also included a $3 per vehicle fee and $1 per person toll for use of the one-way tour road through Valley Forge National Historical Park, and even a fee to visit the Statue of Liberty in New York.
NEWS
December 18, 2007 | By Stephan Salisbury INQUIRER CULTURE WRITER
Cynthia MacLeod, the former superintendent of the Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site in Richmond, Va., has been named superintendent at Independence National Historical Park, the National Park Service announced yesterday. MacLeod will succeed Dennis Reidenbach, who was named head of the park service's Northeast Region in September. Darla Sidles has served as acting superintendent at the park since then. In announcing the appointment, Reidenbach highlighted MacLeod's ability to build relationships with independent and private organizations in support of park service efforts.
NEWS
June 10, 2005
I READ YOUR Yo! cover story of May 27 by Donna Williams Vance on colonial-era stories, "The Lure of the Lore," and I was horrified, shocked and dismayed to read the comments of Meryl Levitz, president and CEO of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corp., in the article. To quote Ms. Levitz, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if all those lost stories . . . [came] to light from people who were trained, devoted and enthusiastic about telling them?" Well, Ms. Levitz, I can only assume that you haven't visited Independence National Historical Park in more than a half-century.
NEWS
January 3, 1987
Since 1979, the National Parks Mid-Atlantic Council has served as an independent citizens' advisory group to the Mid-Atlantic Region of the National Park Service. The council strongly supports The Inquirer's editorial position of Dec. 20 concerning the inadvisability of charging an admission fee to Independence National Historical Park and Valley Forge National Historical Park. It is one thing to charge a reasonable fee for the use of a recreational park, but national parks which preserve and interpret our history and culture should be open to all without charge.
NEWS
July 14, 1991
It was both fitting and sad that the Persian Gulf war should have interrupted plans to raise money for the restoration of Washington Square. The story goes that Pennsylvania Sen. John Heinz was scheduled to meet in mid-January with a Philadelphia businessman to line up donors for the $3.5 million project. Instead, war broke out and Sen. Heinz had to rush to Washington. Before another fund-raising meeting could be held, the senator was killed in a plane crash. Washington Square, of course, is the resting place for more than 2,000 soldiers from a much earlier war - the war for American independence.
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NEWS
July 5, 2014 | By Edward Colimore, Inquirer Staff Writer
The two documents are rarely exhibited - and not easily accessed behind the many layers of security. To see them, Lee Arnold, library director at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, uses an entry card to pass into an elevator, then into a large locked room, No. 210. Inside, he twirls the tumbler of a combination lock on thick vault doors, then swings them open to reveal still another set of metal doors with a coded digital lock. Beyond is the climate-controlled chamber filled with historical treasures - and a heavy safe, accessed by keys held only by Arnold and the institution's director of research.
NEWS
October 19, 2013 | By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer
The Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, two symbols of the city's history and vitality, reopened after 16 days of darkness Thursday as thousands of relieved federal employees returned to work across the Philadelphia region. The end of the government shutdown sent workers back to local jobs in places such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Army Corps of Engineers, and ensured that those who have worked without pay as "essential" employees would get checks.
NEWS
October 3, 2013 | By Linda Loyd, Inquirer Staff Writer
As if the rainiest June in Philadelphia history and a federal "sequester" that cut 10 percent from national parks' budgets were not enough, the federal government shutdown now threatens to further disrupt businesses and tourism near the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. Merchants in shops at the Bourse across from Independence National Historical Park said they didn't see any impact on the first day of the shutdown Tuesday, but a longer closure could seriously affect the 10,000 visitors per day who normally pass near their doors in October.
ENTERTAINMENT
July 4, 2013
*FREE* Betsy's Independence Day Bash Children's activities, naturalization ceremony & ceremonial bell-ringing. Betsy Ross House, 239 Arch St.; 215-686-1252. www.betsyrosshouse.org . 7/4 11 am-3 pm. *FREE* Declaration Reading Excerpts from the Declaration of Independence. Independence Hall, Chestnut St.; 1-800-537-7676. www.nps.gov/inde/independence-hall-1.htm . 7/4-7/6 3:45 pm. *FREE* Independence Day Family Fun Free activities. Franklin Square, 6th & Race Sts.; 215-629-4026; www.historicphiladelphia.org . 7/4 noon-3 pm. *FREE* Philly Phyzz Fest 18th-century games, science experiments, Declaration of Independence reading, commemorative bell ringing & more.
NEWS
February 25, 2013
Independence National Historical Park and Gettysburg National Military Park are among many prominent sites in line for automatic budget cuts in case of a deadlock in Washington. A National Park Service memo obtained by the Associated Press says Independence Park, with 3.5 million annual visitors, could close half of its 16 interpretive sites in the spring and fall. Among those sites is Declaration House, the rebuilt dwelling at Seventh and Market Streets where Thomas Jefferson worked on the Declaration of Independence.
NEWS
August 6, 2010 | By Stephan Salisbury, Inquirer Culture Writer
The popular public archaeology lab at Independence National Historical Park, forced from its longtime home at Third and Chestnut Streets by a land deal undertaken by the park and a private group, will not reopen in its new quarters for up to two years, park officials said this week. When they closed it in June, the officials predicted a late-summer reopening for the lab, which is analyzing about one million artifacts unearthed in the park a decade ago. Although the move from the old park visitors' center to the First Bank of the United States building directly across the street has been contemplated for almost a year, park officials said they belatedly determined that the bank's electrical and cooling facilities were inadequate.
NEWS
April 23, 2009 | By Melissa Dribben INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
For the second time in two weeks, Charlie Tonetti held court for the press in the clock tower of Independence Hall. Tonetti, the architect in charge of maintenance and restoration of the historic buildings in Independence National Historical Park, is not normally in the spotlight. But yesterday, he stood before microphones and explained how he and his colleagues would be spending a sudden - but not entirely unexpected - $5.6 million gift from the federal government. The grant, announced yesterday morning by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, is part of $750 million in economic-stimulus money destined for national park projects.
NEWS
April 10, 2009 | By Melissa Dribben INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
On most very rainy days, Charlie Tonetti leaves his house in the Italian Market, takes a bus to Independence Hall, unlocks the stately doors, and climbs a creaky staircase into the clock tower to watch wood. "I may spend a few minutes or an hour," said Tonetti. The last time he went, "nothing happened. " As chief historical architect for Independence National Historical Park, Tonetti is responsible for the care and conservation of Independence Hall. For the last two years, he has been monitoring the slow and inevitable deterioration of one of the nation's most hallowed buildings - in particular, the upper levels of the clock tower.
NEWS
July 28, 2008 | By Howard Shapiro INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In summer, Philadelphia is a theater without walls. It's one of the few places in the United States where every day, in the middle of a living city, actors offer passersby tales of the town, all for free. The story-theater buzzes through the streets of Old City, and has changed the way tourists visit Philadelphia. Sometimes even local citizens, going about their hometown business, will stop to listen. The actors offer not only well-researched stories but an easy chance to connect with real Philadelphians, even if for only five or 10 minutes.
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