The Assembly Room in the Pennsylvania State House (Independence Hall) saw some of the most decisive actions in the creation of the United States. It was here, beneath the Liberty Bell, that Richard Henry Lee's resolution declaring independence was passed (July 2, 1776), that the Declaration of Independence was adopted (July 4, 1776), and that the U.S. Constitution was debated and crafted (from late May till September 17, 1787).
In the background is the chair in which George Washington sat while serving as president of the Constitutional Convention. A sun is carved on the back of the chair, and Benjamin Franklin would look at it and wonder whether it was a rising or setting sun. Eventually Franklin came to believe that the sun was a symbol of hope for the new republic, and so this famous piece of furnature came to be called the "sunrise chair."
Photos and text © Gleaves Whitney 2005