Independence Hall, once known as the Old State House, took 21 years to build after ground was first broken on the project in 1732. This is because the provincial government paid for it little by little. The planning and construction were also contentious, as the committee members responsible for the hall often disagreed.
The Second Continental Congress met in Independence Hall in May 1775, and chose George Washington as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. The building hosted the U.S. Congress on and off until 1783, when it finally moved to Princeton, N.J.
On July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was signed inside Independence Hall. The Liberty Bell most likely proclaimed the event from the building's bell tower on July 8.
The U.S. Constitution was signed at Independence Hall after being drafted and debated by delegates from all 13 colonies, save Rhode Island. The debate over independence went on from May to September 1787. During this time, the windows of Independence Hall were kept closed during the debates, even in the heat of summer, so no one could eavesdrop on the proceedings.
The body of Abraham Lincoln lay in state in Independence Hall's Assembly Room between April 22 and 24, 1865.