Please contribute to help Association of Philadelphia Tour Guides (APT) Corporate Member, Carpenters’ Hall, recover from arson damage. Let’s help them open up to tour guests again as quickly as possible!
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
On Christmas Eve someone broke into the basement of Carpenters’ Hall and intentionally started a fire with a clear goal of destroying this priceless historic landmark. That they didn’t succeed is a testament to the dedication of our friends at Independence National Historical Park, whose rangers first smelled the smoke, and our sprinkler system, which prevented the fire from spreading. The timing, just weeks away from when we were planning to reopen after our $3 million preservation project, is especially disheartening and frustrating.
How anyone could want to damage our beloved Hall is baffling and sickening to me, and part of me still finds it hard to believe that someone would attempt to destroy such an important piece of American history. But now that the initial shock of the fire is wearing off, it’s clear to me that we must focus on getting the Hall repaired and restored and ready to reopen as quickly as possible so we don’t lose the momentum that’s been building toward our anniversary year in 2024.
We are urgently pursuing this goal on all fronts: working with the insurance companies on a settlement; overseeing the contractors who will do the necessary work on the Hall; supporting the ATF investigation; exploring possible disaster/emergency funding with our elected officials; and conducting a full assessment of security systems and protocols in partnership with the National Park Service.
While there was no structural damage to the building itself, the basement suffered extensive damage, including many of our 20th-century archives and publications and portions of our brand-new HVAC system. We expect most of the repair and cleanup to be covered by insurance, but insurance may not cover 100% of these costs and we will incur costs for new items like new security cameras and upgraded storage areas, which insurance won’t pay for.This is where you come in! We’ve launched a community fundraising campaign to help offset the fire-related costs that won’t be covered by insurance. If you value the unique legacy of Carpenters’ Hall as an architectural gem or as a founding site of our American democracy, I hope you will consider making a contribution to our Recovery Fund and spreading the word to your friends, family and colleagues. We’ll need many of you to step up to reach our goal.
As far as we know, this was the first fire in the almost 250 years since Carpenters’ Hall was first built. With your help, we can make sure it’s the last.