Location: 54 Pearl St., New York
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, who operated it as a tavern. 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 earlier Tea Party in Boston, 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 quickly resigned his post and returned to civilian life.
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, Fraunces Tavern became the home of several government agencies, including the departments of Foreign Affairs, Treasury and War.
The tavern slowly deteriorated after the capital moved to Philadelphia and then Washington, D.C., though the building remained a functioning tavern through much of the 19th century. The Sons of the Revolution began holding meetings in the building in the late 1800s and purchased and restored it in the early 20th century.