Knott’s Independence Hall is an exact, brick-by-brick replica of the original in Philadelphia. Walter Knott’s personal labor of love, it is the nation’s only exact replica of the Philadelphia landmark. The building was dedicated by Walter on July 4, 1966 after two years of research and numerous trips from Buena Park to Philadelphia.
Consistent with Walter Knott’s wishes, Knott’s Independence Hall remains a free-admission resource. Independence Hall presents an audio retelling of the dramatic debate that led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the creation of the United States of America. The Hall also offers historical exhibits including a replica of the Liberty Bell and a 1790s horse drawn carriage.
A free hour of parking is available daily in Knott’s MarketPlace Shopping and Dining Lot. Receive 2 additional hours of complimentary parking with proof of purchase from our shops and restaurants (for a maximum of 3 hours free).The building also serves as the center for Knott’s “Adventures in Education” school program impacting 100,000 elementary-aged children annually with onsite lessons on American history, science and nature.
Independence Hall was built by the Knott Family as a permanent, free-admission reminder of two famous events: the signing of the U.S. Constitution and the signing of the Declaration of Independence. An avid proponent of American history and values, Walter Knott constructed the building for the millions of West Coast families unable to travel to Philadelphia to tour the original.
The beloved building was re-dedicated on Constitution Day, Sept. 17, 1998, following an extensive, nine-month renovation. The goal was to restore the landmark facility to its original 1966 Opening Day glory as a tribute to founder Walter Knott and the values for which the Hall was built by the Knott Family.
Construction of the building began summer 1964. The Georgian-style building is an exact replica of the Philadelphia original – even down to the fingerprints in the 140,000 handmade bricks. This authenticity required a tremendous amount of effort and collaboration with Independence Hall experts in Philadelphia. Sketches, historical records, blueprints, photographs and measurements were used throughout the planning period. The interior paint colors had to be determined by removing numerous coats of paint in the Philadelphia original.
Even Knott’s Liberty Bell is an exact copy of the original Liberty Bell in Philadelphia – and weighs just five pounds less than the original. Both bells were made with an alloy of zinc, copper and pewter. Insufficient amounts of pewter were located for the construction of the Knott’s Liberty Bell in 1965, so tin was substituted.
The construction of the Knott’s bell took three days – with the most difficult part being cracking the bell in exactly the right place! After two weeks of attempting to crack the bell using water, hammer and chisel, air hammer and acetylene torch, the construction crew finally succeeded with dry ice and a heli-arc torch.
Other elements of the building also reflect authentic attention to detail and include the Declaration Chamber, Supreme Court Room and numerous exterior elements including moldings, profiles, cornices, cupolas, window trim, exterior column capitals and bases; the 24-foot weathervane; four-sided clock with six-foot hands; the ormolux (gold-leafed ornamental olive branches that frame each of the clock faces); and the “widow’s rail” spanning the Hall’s 200-foot-long roof.