United States Mint PhiladelphiaApprox. Time: 2 hours
Activity Level: Easy to Moderate

The United States' first mint -- indeed the first structure sanctioned by the United States government -- was erected in 1792, just two blocks from the present site. Many citizens of the new nation were deeply suspicious of federal power. They were accustomed to using coins issued by their own state banks, along with various forms of foreign currency. The suggestion of a single federal mint producing a uniform coinage was disturbing.

A coalition championed by adamant federalist Alexander Hamilton prevailed in these debates. The result was both the First Bank of the United States and a United States Mint.

The First Mint was completed in the fall of 1792 in the capital city of Philadelphia. As a new capital city was being built along the banks of the Potomac, it was expected that the Mint would move there. Yet in 1800, when Washington, D.C., was ready, the government did not have the money to replace what was already an efficient operation. An Act of Congress in 1828 ensured that the Mint would remain permanently in Philadelphia.