Because the Quakers encouraged religious pluralism, by the mid-eighteenth century they had become a minority in their own colony. They constituted only one-sixth of the population, but remained the most influential economically and politically. The Germans were the largest ethnic group when they built the Old Lutheran Church (St. Michael's) under the leadership of Dr. Henry Melchior Muhlenberg 1743-48. In order to accommodate the large influx of German speaking immigrants into Philadelphia, construction was begun on a second church, the New (Zion) Lutheran Church in 1769. For the next hundred years both congregations used both buildings. The Old Lutheran Church was razed in 1872 and the New Lutheran Church was torn down in 1869, exactly a century after it was constructed.
The 1960 view shows a portion of the land cleared by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for Independence Mall, which encompasses an area from Race Street to Chestnut, and from Fifth to Sixth. Independence Hall is located between Fifth and Sixth on the south side of Chestnut. The Free Quaker Meeting House at the southwest corner of Fifth and Arch Streets (MG-R 1960) was moved to the west so that Fifth Street could be widened. Commercial buildings on the east side of Fifth Street (MG-L 1960) were demolished and the United States Mint was constructed on the site. It was completed in 1969 (for details see commentary, Plate 6). In 1974 the Commonwealth turned over Independence Mall to the National Park Service. The 2000 photograph shows the Park's Public Affairs Officer Philip Sheridan, standing on the future site of the National Constitution Center (near Fifth and Race Streets). He points to its location on the master plan for the reconstruction of the Mall. In addition to the National Constitution Center the plan calls for the erection of the Independence Visitor Center (between Arch and Market), the Independence Park Institute's Education Building and a new home for the Liberty Bell in the Liberty Bell Complex (between Market and Chestnut). Construction is scheduled for completion by the end of 2002 at a total cost of about $230 million.Back Next