George Washington's and a Founding Fathers' Hangout

Stone Street

FRAUNCES TAVERN was one of the popular drinking taverns in old New York -- near Battery Park and Bowling Green.  It was here in the Tavern's Long Room where General George Washington gave an emotional and tearful farewell speech to his Continental Army troops (embracing each of them) at the end of the Revolutionary War on December 4, 1783.   

Just before returning to his home state of Virginia, Washington said:  “With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you.  I most devoutly wish that your latter days are as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.”  Strangely enough, this Tavern was first named Queen's Head Tavern after Queen Charlotte (King George III’s wife) and was a meeting place for pro-British forces.  Its owner, Samuel Fraunces, a member of the Sons of Liberty, bought this private residence built in 1719 by Stephen Delancey, and turned it into a tavern in 1762.   Fraunces was a supporter of the American patriots and reported overheard British battle plans to George Washington.  The tavern was a popular place for both British officers and Americans.  Fraunces would later become the steward of President Washington in 1789. 

In spring of 1785 when New York City was the nation’s temporary capital, the Tavern was leased to the new U.S. government and housed the Departments of War, Treasury and Foreign Affairs.  The building was recreated in 1906 and is a museum and restaurant owned by the Sons of the Revolution.  Here our first President would have been drinking one of his two favorite drinks, either Maderia (a wine from the Isle of Maderia) or port.  Hard cider and small beer, though, were more popular with typical New York customers of the day.  Stagecoaches to Philadelphia, Boston and Albany also left from the tavern.  

The New York Chamber of Commerce was formed here on April 5, 1770.  A terrorist bomb, planted by a Puerto Rican nationalist group, exploded in the Tavern's dining room annex on January 24, 1975.  Two people were killed and 56 injured.

The Tavern is located at the corner of Stone Street (bottom photo), the first paved cobblestone street in the City, which offers a journey back in time.  It was paved in the year 1658.  All major roads in the New York City were cobblestone ones by 1661.