The Pennsylvania Society is one of only six constituent societies (along with South Carolina, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey) to have been in continuous existence since its founding in 1783.
The Pennsylvania Society has changed dramatically over the years. It began as a way to maintain brotherly affection among past comrades and render mutual assistance to those who needed it (this in a time when Congress wasn’t paying the pensions it had promised to the veterans). As the Original Members died off, the Society became focused on remembering the reasons for the American Revolution and the sacrifices it demanded of those who fought in it.
In the 19th Century, one of the major contributions of the Pennsylvania Society to civic life was to commission Philadelphia’s Washington Monument.
In the 20th Century, the Pennsylvania Society contributed to the rebuilding of the the City Tavern.
Most Philadelphians are familiar with this commanding-looking statue of General George Washington, which sits in Eakins Oval at the base of the "Rocky Steps" in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Few Philadelphians know that it was given as a gift to the City of Philadelphia in 1897 by the State Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania.
Read outtakes from a book published to commemorate the 1897 unveiling of Philadelphia's Washington Monument, an event attended by U.S. President McKinley, many of his Cabinet, the Ambassador of France, the Governors of New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania, and many thousands of others. It is a fascinating snapshot of by-gone era.
The City Tavern, built in 1773, had been an important social gathering place before, during, and after the Revolutionary War. Delegates to the First and Second Continental Congresses used the Tavern extensively, and the State Society of the Cincinnati of Pennsylvania was founded in one of its rooms in October of 1783.
As the United States approached its 1976 bicentennial, there was a renewed interest in the Revolutionary War and the Declaration of Independence. Buildings such as Independence Hall have survived (barely) into the modern era, but like many other important buildings of that time, the City Tavern had been torn down in 1854 in the name of progress. When the U.S. National Park Service rebuilt the tavern in 1975, the Society contributed to the funding of its reconstruction.