Our recent interest in all things historic sent us to the Fraunces Tavern in lower Manhattan. In this area, old is old. It started in 1624. Unless you’re from Europe, that is a long time ago.
Almost 150 years later, in 1762, Samuel Fraunces purchased this property and opened a tavern. This tavern has played a repeated role in American history. It became the drinking hangout where revolutionaries would meet, drink, and talk politics.
The Sons of Liberty would meet here and plan the New York Tea Party. This must have been a popular pastime, because they also did this in Boston later on. When the British were surrendering, several meetings were held here to negotiate the departure of the British.
And when George Washington left the military, he had his farewell ceremony with his officers in the Long Room.
The building reeks of history. Today it is a museum telling a story of the American Revolution.
The bottom floor is a working restaurant. You can imagine revolutionary types sitting at the wooden tables and chairs, scooting across the wooden floors eating quail, pork and lamb and drinking ale from a pewter mug.
The museum is on the 2nd and 3rd floors.
We went to the 2nd floor, paid our admission and signed up for the guided tour. The young man at the kiosk was extremely knowledgeable on the history of New York City. We have found several people who work in the touring business who relish what they are doing. They are fiercely proud of their city and love to tell stories about the history of the city. We had about 20 minutes before the tour.
To start we went to the 3rd floor where several art exhibits depicting the Revolution, the birth of the United States and life in colonial America are exhibited. We saw special exhibitions of The Sons of the Revolution, scenes of battles and heroes of the war, and especially the Marquis de Lafayette. Oils of him posing and in combat. His pistols were on display with one of his uniforms. He was a very well dressed General!
Back down to the 2nd floor, there is a flag room that hangs over 40 flags that show the development of the American Stars and Stripes. The second floor is also full of amazing artifacts. Locks of Washington’s hair, handwritten letters from him, and one of his famous false teeth.
The Clinton Dining Room is set up with authentic furnishings from the period. Zuber panoramic wallpaper, printed in France in the late 1700’s hangs in the dining room.
The crown jewel is the Long Room. Set with authentic artifacts, this room is where the Sons of Liberty meet to plot their revolutionary plans. And here, George Washington bid farewell to his staff of officers in 1783.
At the birth of our nation, this building was in the delivery room. If you’re interested in the early history of our country, come check the Fraunces Tavern. And have lunch.