NO. 2. PHILOSOPHICAL HALL (American Philosophical Society) on Independence Square. In 1785, the Assembly of Pennsylvania granted the lot to the society. Adama Diomande Sha La La Shirt The building, erected between 1785 and 1789, harmonizes in style with the other buildings on the square. The American Philosophical Society, the oldest and one of the most distinguished learned societies in America, was started in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin. The building, still occupied by the society, is not part of Independence National Historical Park and is not open to the general public.