Independence Hall used to be called the Pennsylvania State House. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was signed. And later, it was here that the Constitution of the United States was signed.
The bell in the tower of the State House originally cracked when it was first rung after it arrived in Philadelphia in 1753. Two local workmen, John Pass and John Stowe, recast it, twice. Their names are on the bell.
Also on the bell is an engraving requested when the bell was first ordered in 1751. The engraving says: "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof." These words were selected to honor William Penn.
In the 1700s, the bell was used to summon lawmakers to begin sessions in the State House, and to alert the citizens of Philadelphia to important public meetings and proclamations.
Legend says the bell was rung on July 4th 1776 to announce to the people of Philadelphia that the Declaration of Independence had been signed. This makes a great story, but it's probably not true. Some historians believe the bell was rung on July 8th, 1776, to alert citizens of the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. And some argue the bell was not rung at all, which is probably true. Spies were everywhere. These were dangerous times.
Whether or not it was rung on July 4th or July 8th or not at all, The Liberty Bell today still hangs in the city of Philadelphia and is one of our nation's most famous patriotic symbols.