United States Semiquincentennial

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United States Semiquincentennial
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The United States Semiquincentennial will be the 250th anniversary of the establishment of the United States of America. It will occur in 2026. Observances have been planned.


The United States was established in 1776 with a unilateral Declaration of Independence signed in Independence Hall (pictured)

Under American domestic law, the United States of America was de jure established on July 2, 1776, by a resolution of the Second Continental Congress in the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1] The reasoning for the resolution was explained in a declaration dated on July 4 of that year, the date on which the anniversary of independence is customarily observed.[2] In 1876 the United States organized nationwide centennial observances centered on Philadelphia.[3] Bicentennial observances, also centered on Philadelphia, occurred in 1976.[3] The year 2026 marks the United States' semiquincentennial, or 250th anniversary, of establishment.[4]


In 2014, the Philadelphia City Council ordered a public hearing of the Committee on Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs to investigate "the impact and feasibility of Philadelphia" hosting the United States Semiquincentennial in 2026, among other events.[5] The following year a non-profit organization, USA250, was established in Philadelphia to lobby for federal government support of the United States semiquincentennial and establish Philadelphia as the host city for events surrounding the semiquincentennial observances.[6] The United States Semiquincentennial Commission was subsequently established by Public Law 114-196 ("United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of July 2016"), signed by the President of the United States on July 22, 2016.[7]

On November 15, 2017, the United States Department of the Interior issued a request for proposals seeking a non-profit corporation to act as secretariat to the commission and lead nationwide organization of observances.[8] The American Battlefield Trust was named the commission's non-profit partner to serve as Administrative Secretariat, tasked with preparing reports for Congress and helping raise funds for the anniversary observances. The Trust "has distinguished itself in fundraising and managing high-profile commemorative events, and that expertise will be invaluable to the U.S.A. 250th Commemoration planning efforts," said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.[9]

Daniel DiLella, CEO and President of Equus, a leading private equity real estate fund, was appointed Chairperson of the Semiquincentennial Commission in April 2018, leading a 32-member body composed of members of Congress, private citizens and federal officials.[10]

The Commission was tasked with developing a report with recommendations to the President and to Congress within the first two years of formation. The Commission will observe and commemorate not only the Revolution, but also the full history of the U.S. leading up to the 250th Anniversary. Official meetings will be held at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. for the United States of America.

In May 2018, DiLella named Frank Giordano as the commission's executive director. Giordano, who heads Atlantic Trailer Leasing in Philadelphia, led the rejuvination of two formerly struggling Philadelphia institutions, the Philly Pops Orchestra and Union League club, now the hub of a regional web of restaurants, golf clubs, parking, networking, and scholarship programs.[11]

Pennsylvania became the first state to formally begin planning for the anniversary in June 2018 when the commonwealth established the Pennsylvania Semiquincentennial Commission. Four months later, on October 17, Gov. Tom Wolf named Fresh Grocer supermarket magnate and philanthropist Patrick Burns to chair the state commission.[12]

In August 2018, the State of New Jersey launched its effort when Gov. Phil Murphy signed a measure that called on the New Jersey Historical Commission to create a program focused on the 250th anniversary of the independence of the United States as well as the creation of the state's first Constitution. The law appropriated $500,000 to fund the historical commission's planning for the 250th anniversary festivities.[13]

On November 16, 2018, the 33 members of the United States Semiquincentennial were sworn in at Independence Hall in Philadelphia and convened their first organizing meeting to begin eight years of planning and organizing for the 250th national birthday celebration. Dilella estimated that the group would meet three or four times a year.[14] The new commission consisted of 16 private citizens, including chairman DiLella; eight members of Congress and nine federal officials. [15] The day before the meeting, the Daughters of the American Revolution, in partnership with the commission, held a tree-planting ceremony to introduce its “Pathway of the Patriots” along the Schuylkill River Trail. Project organizers expect to plant 250 new trees along the trail from the city to Valley Forge.[16]

Activities and observances[edit]

Federal legislation directs that semiquincentennial events receive special focus in the cities of Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, and New York (pictured, clockwise from top left).

The United States Semiquincentennial Commission Act of 2016 directs the United States Government to issue commemorative coins and postage stamps, and commission appropriately named naval vessels, in advance of the semiquincentennial.[17][18] In addition, specific activities – both officially organized and independently created – are being planned. The legislation specifically directs the organization of events “in locations of historical significance to the United States" going on to list Boston, Charleston (SC), New York, and Philadelphia.[19]


In 2016, Revolution 250, a non-profit group organized to plan commemorative events in Boston surrounding the semiquincentennial, was established.[20] According to the organization, it is a consortium of groups including the Society of the Cincinnati, the National Park Service, the Boston Tea Party Museum, the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the Suffolk University history department, the Boston Downtown Business Improvement District, The Bostonian Society, and others.[21]


Commemorative tree planting[edit]

In 2017 the Daughters of the American Revolution announced a grant of $380,000 to the city of Philadelphia to plant 76 semiquincentennial commemorative trees at Independence National Historical Park.[22] The actual planting of the trees will occur over the course of several years leading up to the semiquincentennial.[23]

Time capsule[edit]

The commission has announced it is preparing a time capsule for burial in Philadelphia on July 4, 2026, which will be scheduled for unearthing on July 4, 2276, the 500th anniversary of United States independence.[7]

Vision 2026 redevelopment[edit]

In 2016, city planners announced "Vision 2026", a plan to redevelop Old City in preparation for the semiquincentennial.[24]

Major League Baseball All-Star Game[edit]

The 97th Major League Baseball All-Star Game will be held at Citizens Bank Park in mid-July after the semiquincentennial, bookending the 47th All-Star Game held at Veterans Stadium during the bicentennial; it was announced on April 16, 2019.[25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Did You Know... Independence Day Should Actually Be July 2?". archives.gov. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  2. ^ "The Declaration of Independence, 1776". Office of the Historian. United States Department of State. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Bykofsky, Stu (April 28, 2017). "Can Philly handle the Semiquincentennial?". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  4. ^ Dupree, Jamie (July 4, 2016). "What do you call July 4, 2026?". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  5. ^ "File 140197". Philadelphia City Council. City of Philadelphia. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  6. ^ Gelb, Matt (January 17, 2016). "Planning the nation's birthday party . . . for 2026". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Ferriero to Serve on Semiquincentennial Commission". archives.gov. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  8. ^ "Nonprofit Sought to Coordinate U.S.A.'s 250th Anniversary Commemoration". National Park Service. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Civil War Trust Selected as Nonprofit Partner for the commemoration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States". doi.gov. United States Department of the Interior. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  10. ^ "Equus CEO Daniel DiLella Appointed Chairperson of the Seminquincentennial Commission for the United States of America". businesswire.com. BusinessWire. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  11. ^ "Philly folks are taking a big role in planning America's 250th birhtday. Will the city rise to the occasion?". philly.com. The_Philadelphia_Inquirer. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  12. ^ "Governor Wolf Names Pat Burns Chair of Semiquincentennial Commission". governor.pa.gov. Governor of Pennsylvania. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  13. ^ "New Jersey Getting Ready to Celebrate Nation's 250th Anniversary". nj1015.com. New Jersey 101.5. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  14. ^ "Commission organizing America's 250th birthday celebration is sworn in, holds first meeting". kywnewsradio.radio.com. KYW News Radio 1060. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  15. ^ "Semiquincentennial planners get their Philly start". philly.com. The Inquirer. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  16. ^ "Inaugural meeting of U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission Held in Philadelphia". prnewswire.com. PR Newswire. Retrieved November 26, 2018.
  17. ^ "Sen. Shaheen will bring NH's voice". Nashua Telegraph. November 17, 2016. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  18. ^ "Public Law 114–196" (PDF). congress.gov. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  19. ^ Herman, Ken (August 3, 2016). "Can you say semiquincentennial?". Austin American Statesman. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  20. ^ Taylor, Karen Cord (January 28, 2016). "Downtown View: Sestercentennial". Beacon Hill Times. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  21. ^ "Membership". revolution250.org. Revolution 250. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Bykofsky, Stu (June 27, 2017). "Philly gets money from DAR for semiquincentennial trees". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 20, 2018.
  23. ^ Crimmins, Peter (November 8, 2017). "76 trees to be planted in Independence Park". WHYY-FM.
  24. ^ Tanenbaum, Michael (April 3, 2016). "Old City District presents Vision 2026 development goals". Philly Voice. Retrieved May 21, 2018.
  25. ^ Henninger, Danya (17 April 2019). "Why the MLB All-Star Game in Philly was announced 7 years early". BillyPenn.com. Retrieved 17 April 2019.

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