Carpenters’ Hall

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | C.1770

Photo Credit: Jason Coopman

When the Carpenters’ Company of Philadelphia began construction on Carpenter’s Hall in 1770, the craft guild envisioned a space to be used as their private headquarters and public meeting place. The Hall has since served as a gathering place for more than the enterprising guild of woodworkers — playing host to the First Continental Congress, the British army, and even America’s first bank robbery.

Carpenters’ Hall came to be during a tumultuous time in the American Colonies. As political tensions rose between the Colonies and the British Crown over the taxation of goods, the Hall served as the central assembly place.

In 1774, the First Continental Congress convened at the Hall to voice their grievances against the reigning British monarch King George III. Only four years later, as the Revolutionary War raged on among the colonies, British troops occupied Philadelphia and took residence in the Hall, but their occupation was short lived.

Following the War, the Hall continued to serve as a meeting place, and was later leased out to the Bank of Pennsylvania. This led to a rather notorious visit when, in 1798, the Bank was robbed of $160,000 … or about $3.5 Million USD in current value 😲. It was later discovered that a member of the Carpenters’ Company and the Bank itself were behind the thievery.

Yet throughout the centuries of inhabitants, one allegedly still remains. In 1779, Tom Cunningham, a tenant of the building, died of yellow fever in his room in the attic. Shortly after his death, complaints of loud stomping and banging from his old room were reported — and continued late into the 20th century. To this day, the Carpenters’ Company still owns the Hall and hosts all types of visitors — they just ask that you dont steal anything, and please walk softly as there is enough stomping upstairs.

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