Fraunces Tavern was originally the home of early New York mayor Stephanus van Cortlandt, but the building quickly became a clubhouse for revolutionaries, eventually hosting George Washington when he bid farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolutionary War.
Today Fraunces Tavern is mainly known as a bar serving tourists and Wall Streets workers, but when the site was purchased by Samuel Fraunces in 1762, and he opened his Queen’s Head Tavern, its patrons were almost exclusively revolutionaries plotting against British forces.
A number of groups such as the famous Sons of Liberty, who were eventually responsible for the Boston Tea Party, met at the site to plan their intrigues. However the event that would forever mark the tavern as a place of note was the “turtle feast” held by George Washington himself at the end of the war wherein he bid farewell to his officers with a rousing toast and a personal conference with each.
After the war, the pub and the building attached to it became home to a number of early American governmental congresses for a time when New York was made the official capitol of the country. It remained protected as a historic building, but eventually became less talked about in subsequent years.
The site was later brought back into the spotlight during the 1970’s when a bomb placed by FALN, the Armed Forces of Puerto Rican National Liberation, a group devoted to seeing their home removed from U.S. control, exploded in the doorway of the bar. A number of people were killed and countless others wounded, but the ale house lived on.
Reconstructed as Fraunces Tavern, the bar is now a popular tourist site and after-work spot for Wall Streeters. There is now a museum attached to the bar, remembering its revolutionary history and a plaque remembering the victims of the 1970s bombing.
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