This house was originally built as a residence for merchant Stephan Delancey's family. In 1762 barkeeper Samuel Fraunces bought this place. In the 19th century the tavern was closed. It was also damaged during several massive fires. In 1904 the Sons of the Revolution historical society bought the building and rebuild it to the original features.
Nowadays there is a museum and a restaurant in the building.
When I walked by, it was closed (Sunday).
There are few traces of what Manhattan could have looked like before the verticality fever started: just the rather irregular street grid of the area (compared to Midtown and Uptown Manhattan) and a few scattered Georgian buildings which have been mostly turned into cafés or restaurants.
One of the most significant of these old buildings is the Fraunces Tavern, today a restaurant, which played a prominent role in the revolution that led to the Independence War of the US, as this was one of the meeting places of the so-called Sons of Liberty. This Tavern was also the place where New York's first Chamber of Commerce was created.
The current building, framed by tall skyscrapers, is not the original: it is an early 20th century rendering of a Georgian style brick mansion inspired by the kind of architecture that dominated in 18th century Manhattan. Possibly, the tavern looks different from the alleged model, but it provides a hint of what Manhattan looked like in that time.
This building was built in 1719 as a residence for Stephan Delancey. He was a refugee, but turned into a succesful merchant. At some point in time this tavern was run by Samuel Fraunces. The tavern was not just used for food and drink, was was also used for politics. The museum's permanent colleciotn is comprised of painting, art, drwaings and documents related to the colonial, revolutionary and early federal periods of American History, with a focus on New York.
It often becomes hard to learn via guidebooks whether a building has survived the ravages of time and stands merely restored, refurbished or renovated, or if the entire complex has been rebuilt from detailed plans and designs of the original. So it is with Fraunces Tavern and its museum. The building graces a corner of the historic block by that name, so it "survives" as part of an 18-19th century city block. Downstairs the building functions as an elegant upscale diner, but upstairs on its upper two floors is a historic museum of great importance. In the Long Room of the second floor, Washington gave his impassioned farewell to his officers in 1783. The third floor contains exhibits and artefacts of the same era. The admission to the museum is $3.
Pictured from top down: museum (3rd floor), Long Room, Long Room
This building was renovated in 1907 and it is where George Washington gave his farewell address to Continental Army Officers on 4th December 1783.It was originally called the Queens Head Tavern, it was owned by Samuel Fraunces who changed its name after the America won the war of independance.
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