The Most Popular Historical Sites in Pennsylvania

The Most Popular Historical Sites in Pennsylvania

Photo: Visit Gettysburg

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Philadelphia, PAHistory Pennsylvania - If you're looking to learn about Pennsylvania's history, there are many places you can visit that will be both educational and fun. These include the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, Fort Ligonier, Valley Forge, the Johnstown Flood Museum, and the Erie Maritime Museum.

Independence Hall

Independence Hall, located in Independence Square in Philadelphia, is one of the most famous historic sites in the United States. It is also a part of the National Historical Park. This park covers over 55 acres in the city. Edmund Woolley, an English-born architect, designed the building in the Georgian style. When completed, it was the Pennsylvania State House.

Today, it is part of the Independence National Historical Park. There is a security screening area on Chestnut Street. In this area, visitors can get tickets to Independence Hall. Tickets are distributed at 8:45 AM each day. A tour of Independence Hall begins in the Supreme Court Room, where a narrator briefly introduces the building. After the introduction, a visitor will be guided to the Assembly Room. In this room, the Declaration of Independence was debated in 1776. Several conferences were held in the building, including the Articles of Confederation. The American flag was agreed upon here. Another room in the complex served as the meeting place for the US Supreme Court in the 1700s. The building was also used as a military prison during the Revolutionary War.


One of the most iconic historic destinations in the US, Gettysburg is a town that is famous for its battle.  Visitors come from all over the world to experience the beauty of this historical site. Tourists can take part in several tours of the Gettysburg Battlefield. A guided tour, for instance, will provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of the battle. You can also choose to participate in an extensive bus tour.

The Battle of Gettysburg was one of the most decisive events in the Civil War. Though the war did not end, it marked the beginning of the Union victory, ending General Robert E. Lee's second invasion of the North. Various museums, artifacts, and monuments are on display at Gettysburg. You can also visit the near by James Buchanan Hollow, the site of the birthplace of James Buchanan. Majestic conifers surround this secluded hollow. Another great place to visit is the Gettysburg National Military Park. The park includes a museum and a visitor's center. Its history is portrayed through interactive displays and artifacts.

The Liberty Bell

The Liberty Bell is one of the most famous symbols of freedom in the United States. It is located in Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A London-based foundry created this two-thousand-pound bronze bell. Initially commissioned by the colonial legislature of Pennsylvania, the bell was delivered to the State House in 1752. One of the bell's most famous features is the crack in the middle of its body. While most people believe that the crack appeared on July 8, 1835, it occurred in the early 1840s.

Before it was repaired, another fissure in the bell made it undrinkable. Metal workers used a "stop drilling" technique to fix the crack. Another feature of the bell is the Bible verse written on its brim. This quote was chosen because it relates to liberty. The verse is accompanied by the quote, "proclaim liberty throughout all the land". One of the more exciting things about the Liberty Bell is its origins. After its creation, the bell traveled the country as a symbol of peace, freedom, and reconciliation.

Erie Maritime Museum

Erie Maritime Museum is located on the shores of Lake Erie. It is a historical site that focuses on the history of the Battle of Lake Erie and the maritime history of the Greater Erie area. The museum has many exhibits to look at. Visitors can find a variety of historical artifacts, paintings, and military equipment. A 15-minute introductory video is available for visitors. There is also an interactive station for kids.

The Erie Maritime Museum was established in 1998. The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission manage it. The museum is located in a former PENELC steam generating station. The buildings share a brownish-red brick base and white trim. They include an auditorium where once giant turbines hummed. In addition to the museum's displays, there is a 45-minute IMAX theater. Other features include over 75 hand-carved whirligigs and an ecosystem exhibit.

Another highlight of the museum is the US Brig Niagara. This ship is a modern recreation of the 1813-US Brig Niagara, the relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry during the Battle of Lake Erie.

Fort Ligonier

Fort Ligonier is a historic site in Pennsylvania built in the 1700s. It was used as a British outpost during the French and Indian War. It was abandoned in the 19th century but was restored in the mid-20th century. Today, it is a museum and fort. The fort was the second-largest settlement in Pennsylvania in the fall of 1758. In addition to being the first outpost in the Seven Years' War, it was the only one that was never taken.

As one of the most important forts of the Seven Years' War, Fort Ligonier was built by Brigadier General John Forbes. He intended it to serve as a staging post for an attack against the French at Fort Duquesne. After an eight-year siege, he reconstructed the fort.

Today, visitors can experience history through reenactments, lectures, and exhibits. There are also two-week summer day camps and lantern-lit sunset tours. The most popular attraction at Fort Ligonier is the museum. Visitors can find exhibits about the French and Indian Wars, the American Revolution, and more. Artifacts from these wars are displayed as original paintings from the 18th century.

Valley Forge

A National Historical Park, Valley Forge commemorates the collective sacrifices of the generation of Americans involved in the Revolutionary War. The park is a popular destination for those seeking outdoor recreation. Visitors can participate in ranger programs and tours, and there are 26 miles of hiking and biking trails. There are also several historical sites to explore. Some significant buildings, such as Washington's Headquarters, are open to the public.

You can tour the reconstructed Muhlenberg Brigade Huts, built by the Continental Army during their stay at Valley Forge. These nine cabins are located on a gravel road. They make for great photos. You can also visit Washington's Headquarters, the home of high-ranking officials and high-ranking soldiers of the Continental Army during their time at Valley Forge. This small stone building is a favorite site for visitors to Valley Forge.

During the Revolutionary War, Valley Forge was the ideal location for the winter camp of the Continental Army. With nearby rivers and farms, the area was a perfect place to find water and food. However, this location also proved challenging for the soldiers, who faced snowy weather and cold temperatures. Often hungry and lacking warm clothing, the troops had to deal with various diseases.

Johnstown Flood Museum

The Johnstown Flood Museum is a museum that explores the great flood that took place in May 1889.  It is located near Grandview Cemetery in downtown Johnstown, PA. This is a fascinating site for history buffs. The museum's first floor features a diorama demonstrating the flood's story. This includes color lights, narration, and sound effects. There is also a large relief map of the flood. The second floor features a movie theater that shows a 25-minute film. Visitors can also check out the ruins of the South Fork Dam. A guided tour of the dam is available.

The Johnstown Area Heritage Association operates the museum. You will be able to see many artifacts that have been recovered from the flood. There is also a list of known victims of the flood. Approximately 2,209 people died during this tragedy. Nearly one in ten individuals died in flooded neighborhoods. The museum also contains a quilt used to drag drowning citizens down the river. Another evidence is bottled water from the flood kept in a glass case.

Washington Crossing

Washington Crossing Historical Park is a 500-acre park that preserves the site of George Washington's famous crossing of the Delaware River in 1776.  This crossing is considered a turning point in the Revolutionary War, and the park is home to several historic sites and walking trails. The upper section of the park is near the Delaware Canal State Park towpath and offers relaxing river views and a wildflower grove. On the lower side of the park, there are hiking paths, picnic pavilions, a Visitor's Center, and historic buildings.

Numerous special events and programs are held at the park throughout the year. One event is the annual reenactment of the crossing. During the reenactment, reenactors participate in the crossing in replica Durham boats. Other activities include guided tours, fishing, picnicking, and other recreation activities. There are several historic homes and a visitor center for those who want a bit of history.

Washington Crossing is open for recreational activities from dawn to dusk all year. In addition to its historical significance, the park is also a great place to experience one of the best fall foliage shows in Pennsylvania. Peak fall foliage is usually observed from mid-October through late October.

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