Fraunces Tavern Museum New York City
Fraunces Tavern Museum – Tourist Attractions in New York City
Fraunces Tavern Museum
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Fraunces Tavern Museum
Fraunces Tavern is a restaurant and museum in New York City. It was built on the site of a former building where, on 4 December 1783, General George Washington bid farewell to his officers at war’s end, and which played a significant role in pre-Revolutionary activities.
The landmark building housing Fraunces Tavern, at 54 Pearl Street at the corner of Broad Street, near South Ferry, is considered by the museum to be Manhattan’s oldest surviving building. However, an extensive renovation was completed in 1907 under the supervision of William Mersereau, and the result is characterized by the AIA Guide to New York City as “a highly conjectural reconstruction-not a restoration-based on ‘typical’ building of ‘the period,’ parts of remaining walls, and a lot of guesswork.”
Fraunces Tavern was originally built as a house for Oliver de Lancey, a member of the prominent Delancey family that contended with the Livingstons for leadership in colonial New York. The Delanceys sold the house to Samuel Fraunces in 1762, who turned it into one of the most popular taverns of the day. Though it is best known as the site where Washington bade farewell to the officers of the Continental Army in 1783, the tavern also played a significant role in pre-Revolutionary activities. Much of the Revolutionary history of New York revolved around Fraunces Tavern. It was one of the meeting places of the Sons of Liberty in the pre-war years.
During the tea crisis of 1765, a British captain who tried to bring tea into New York was forced to give an apology to the public at Fraunces Tavern. The patriots, dressed as Indians (as had the participants in the Boston Tea Party) then dumped his tea into the harbor.
In August of 1775, Americans took possession of cannons from the battery at the tip of Manhattan and exchanged fire with a boatload of British soldiers. They retaliated by firing a 32-gun broadside on the city, sending a cannon ball through the roof of Fraunces Tavern.
When the war was won and the Americans had re-occupied the city, it was at Fraunces Tavern that hosted Washington and his officers in a victory banquet. On Dec. 4, 1783, Washington was again at Fraunces Tavern to say farewell to his officers in the Long Room. Saving America from the fate of many republics that turned quickly to military dictatorship, Washington resigned his post and returned to civilian life until chosen first President of the United States.
After the war, the tavern housed some offices of the Continental Congress as the country struggled under the Articles of Confederation. With the establishment of the Constitution and the inauguration of Washington as president in 1789, the building housed the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War. The offices were moved when the capital was moved from New York to Philadelphia.
The tavern operated throughout much of the 19th century, but suffered several serious fires beginning in 1832. Having been rebuilt several times, the structure’s appearance has changed to the extent that it is not reliably known what the original 18th century restaurant looked like. In 1890 the first floor exterior was remodeled and the original timbers sold as souvenirs.
Today Fraunces Tavern is an important tourist site, housing a restaurant and museum, and is part of the American Whiskey Trail. The buildings that are home to the museum and restaurant include four 19th- century buildings in addition to the 18th-century Fraunces Tavern building.
Fraunces Tavern Museum, 54 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10004-2429
Fraunces Tavern Museum is located at 54 Pearl Street at the corner of Broad Street in Lower Manhattan. Take the Subway:
N/R to Whitehall St.,
4/5 to Bowling Green,
1 to South Ferry,
J/M/Z to Broad Street.
Buses: M1, M6, M15
Monday – Saturday 12:00 noon to 5:00 p.m.
Seniors [65 and over] $3.00
Children [6 to 18] $3.00
Children [6 and under] FREE