About Fraunces Tavern
Fraunces Tavern is a museum and restaurant in the United States, famous for being the site where then-General George Washington delivered a farewell speech to the Continental Army after the British had left New York during the American Revolution.
Purchased by the Sons of the Revolution in 1904, Fraunces Tavern was restored to its colonial form and has since operated as a museum. Visitors to the Fraunces Tavern Museum can view exhibits about the history of New York and of the building itself, from Colonial times through to the Revolution and the early years of the Republic.
Fraunces Tavern history
Built as the home of an affluent merchant in 1719, the yellow-brick building of Fraunces Tavern was turned into a working tavern in 1762 by its namesake Samuel Fraunces. The tavern, known then as the ‘Queen’s Head’, thrived and shortly after became the meeting place of revolutionary groups including the Sons of Liberty.
In August 1775, an American student militia which included Alexander Hamilton fired canons on HMS Asia. When the Royal Navy ship fired back, a cannonball went through the roof of the tavern. A week after the British troops left New York in November 1783, a massive feast was held at Fraunces Tavern, during which George Washington said farewell to his army officers.
After the revolution, the government rented parts of Fraunces Tavern as offices, which were moved to Philadelphia in 1790 when the capital moved to Washington, D. C.. The building was declared a landmark in 1965.
Fraunces Tavern today
Today, the Fraunces Tavern is a museum that interprets the building’s history and displays a variety of arts and artefacts telling part of the story of the American Revolution. Open between 12pm and 12am, there is also a functioning restaurant on the ground floor, which lends to an atmosphere of secretive revolutionary meetings held in the spot hundreds of years ago.
The tavern features along both the American Whiskey Trail and the New York Freedom Trail, and is a must-see stop along any historic tour of the city’s Landmark District.
Getting to Fraunces Tavern
If you’re not walking one of the historic trails, buses BM1, 2, 3, and 4 all stop along Water Street/Coenties Slip East, just round the corner from Fraunces Tavern. Otherwise, Whitehall-South Ferry Station only 2 minutes walk away serves subway services N, R and W between Manhattan and Brooklyn.