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A Walking Tour of Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA

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Portrait Gallery in the Second Bank of the United States
Second Bank of the United States

Second Bank of the United States, Independence National Historical Park, Philadelphia, PA

Photo by John Fischer
As you exit Philosophical Hall, make a left and walk back towards Chestnut Street. Turn right on Chestnut and walk about half way down the block until you come to the Second Bank of the United States.

This building was built between 1819 and 1824, and is one of the finest examples of Greek revival architecture in the United States. The Second Bank was incorporated in 1816 and was one of the most influential financial institutions in the world until 1832, when it became the center of bitter controversy between bank president Nicholas Biddle and President Andrew Jackson. The bank ceased to exist in 1836 after Jackson vetoed the bill to renew its charter. The building continued for a short time to house a banking institution under a Pennsylvania charter. From 1845 to 1935 the building served as the Philadelphia Customs House.

Today the building is home to the "People of Independence" exhibit that includes 185 paintings of Colonial and Federal leaders, military officers, explorers and scientists, including many by Charles Wilson Peale.

The Gallery is open from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

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