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City Tavern, located at Second
and Walnut Streets was commissioned by the Social Elite of Philadelphia as the
Merchants' Coffee House in 1773. The Federal brick structure was utilized as a
Tavern until it was badly damaged by fire in 1834.
Although no legislation was
enacted at the Tavern the debates were significant as the decision was made to
hold the First Continental Congress in a private (Carpenters Hall), rather than
public hall. Other delegate discussions included What would be the initial
rules of order for conducting a Colonial Congress? Who should be the Presiding
Officer of Congress? What should be the Presiding Officer’s title?
Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia, PA: Sept. 5, 1774 to
Oct. 24, 1774 The First Continental Congress - Articles of Association
is located inPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania. It
was built as a four-story Georgian Colonial brick building between 1770 and 1773
by the Carpenters' Company. Designed by architect Robert Smith (1722-1777) and
the structure was declared a United States National Historic Landmark in 1970.
The building is still utilized as s a meeting place for the Carpenters' Company.
Peyton Randolph and Henry Laurens were elected as the first and second
Presidents of Continental Congress in Carpenters Hall. The Articles of
Association, a compact signed by the Delegates of the North American British
Colonies to formally address their united grievances against Parliament and King
George III of Great Britain, was enacted here on October 20, 1774.
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776 – George Washington Appointed Commander-in-Chief &
Declaration of Independence; March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777; July 2, 1778 to
June 21, 1783 – Congress held hostage by US Troops flees to Princeton; May 25,
1787 – Sept. 17, 1787 – Philadelphia Convention passes current US Constitution.
Pennsylvania State Houseis located on Chestnut Street
between 5th and 6th Streets in Philadelphia. Now known as Independence Hall this
red brick building was built between 1732 and 1753 as the government’s seat for
the Province of Pennsylvania. Edmund Woolley, the builder, and designed the
building with Andrew Hamilton in its distinctive Georgian style. Two smaller
buildings were added in the final states in the construction with City Hall to
the east and to the west is Congress Hall.
The July 2, 1776 resolution for Independence, the Declaration of Independent and
the Constitution of 1787 were all debated and adopted in the Pennsylvania State
House. In the summer of 1783 Continental troops from Lancaster and Philadelphia
numbering over 300 mutinied and surrounded Independence Hall holding the
President and United States in Congress Assembled hostage. The Confederation
fled to Princeton New Jersey and never assembled again in Philadelphia.
Henry Fite House, Baltimore, MD: Dec. 20, 1776 to
Feb. 27, 1777 - Congress Flees PA Philadelphia.
Fite House is
located in Baltimore Maryland, and was selected as a Capitol building after the
Continental Congress fled Philadelphia due to British victories in New York and
New Jersey. It was at this house that Congress received the word that George
Washington and his troops crossed the Delaware and capture the Hessian Garrison
Founding Facts: British
General Howe reacted to the Battle of Trenton by sending a large force of men to
surround Washington in Trenton. Washington fled Trenton launching a surprise
attack in Princeton defeating the British. This cleared most of New Jersey of
enemy forces enabling the Continental Congress to return to Philadelphia.
Lancaster Court House, PA: September 27, 1777 – British capture Philadelphia
Lancaster Court House was a 1730 brick structure, 30’ x 30’,
which also had a brick pavement floor. The court house was crowned with a
small spire that had clock of two faces, one for the south and the other for the
north. The structure burnt down in 1781 and was replaced with a much larger
structure in 1785 that is often depicted, incorrectly, as the Continental
Congress Capitol building.
In September of 1777 General William Howe’s victory at Brandywine insured the
loss of Philadelphia to the British. The Delegates were forced to flee
Philadelphia and re-convened in the Lancaster Court House on September 27, 1777.
The members were unable to find ample lodging in Lancaster and the robust Court
House schedule allowed little time for Congress to meet. The following day the
Continental Congress packed up and moved the capitol across the Susquehanna
River to a small village called York-Town. The River provided a natural barrier
to the British who had captured Philadelphia on September 26, 1777.
York Court House, PA: Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778 – Articles of
Confederation and Franco-American Treaty.
York-Town County Court Houselocated in York, Pennsylvania
was constructed in 1756 and stood in the "Centre Square" until 1841. A replica
of the court house was built in 1976 by the York County Bicentennial Commission
that stands in a small colonial park at the intersection of West Market Street
and the Codorus Creek.
The first Constitution of the United States was passed by the Continental
Congress and sent onto the states from the York-Town Colonial House. The
Articles of Confederation, which the Delegates believed would be ratified in
1778 did not become the first U.S. Constitution until March 1, 1781 when
Maryland finally agreed to join the “Perpetual Union” of the United States.
Nassau Hall, Princeton, NJ: June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783 – Treaty of Paris ends
war on Sept. 3, 1783.
Nassau Hall is located in
Princeton, New Jersey and was built in 1756 at a cost of £2,900 for the College
of New Jersey. Originally the brick-paved halls extended one hundred and
seventy-five feet of what was the largest stone structure in the Colonies. The
United States in Congress fled to Princeton after being besieged by 300 troops
who demanded overdue pay. Congress met first in the Prospect House while
repairs were hastily made to Nassau Hall.
Founding Facts: The
British took possession of Princeton Borough and occupied Nassau Hall as a
barracks and hospital in November of 1776. They were briefly ejected by George
Washington during the Battle of Princeton but re-occupied the building that
evening when the Continental Troops marched to the Short Hills of New Jersey.
After the war Nassau Hall, was found to be in great disrepair with “mostly
bare partition walls and heaps of fallen plaster."
Maryland State House, Annapolis, MD: Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784 – George
Washington Resigns as Commander-in-Chief, Treaty of Paris ratified and first Far
East trade mission is commissioned to Canton, China.
Maryland State House
is located in Annapolisand was designed byJoseph Horatio Anderson in1771. Construction began in 1772
but was not completed until 1779 due to the struggle for Independence. The
building is Georgian and constructed in brick. The Interior of dome, from floor
to ceiling is 113' with the building encompassing 120,900 square feet under
roof. It is oldest American State Capitol still in continuous legislative use.
Founding Facts: In
the last great Act of the Revolutionary War, George Washington surrendered his
Commander-in-Chief Commission to United States President Thomas Mifflin on
December 23, 1783 in Annapolis. As a Major-General and member of the Board of
War, Mifflin conspired with Generals Conway and Gates to replace George
Washington as Commander-in-Chief in 1777.
French Arms Tavern, Trenton, NJ: Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784 Capitol moves to
NYC partly to accommodate new Foreign Secretary John Jay.
French Arms Tavernwas
erected in 1730 as a private residence and stood on the southwest corner of King
(now Warren) Street and 2nd (now State) Street in Trenton, New Jersey. In 1780
the house was leased to Jacob G. Bergen for conversion to a tavern. Bergen
added a fourth story with a gable roof and renovated two of the main floor
apartments into one “long room" that had a length of forty-three feet. In the
basement Bergen established the bar room. The Tavern was named the Thirteen
Stars, with the name later changed to the French Arms celebrating France’s role
in the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Founding Facts: In
1785 the United States was nearly insolvent plagued by the War debt and a
depreciating currency. Richard Henry Lee turned to the enactment of a Western
Land Ordinance that he believe would settle all accounts through the sale of
land in the Ohio Territory.
New York City Hall, NY: Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788 – Northwest Ordinance
enacted & 2nd US Constitution ratified. March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790 – US
House and US Senate convene, George Washington inaugurated April 30, 1789.
York City Hall,
its third, was started in 1699 and completed in 1702. The building stood on the
corner of Nassau and Wall Streets until 1812 when it was razed. This 1702
structure is where John Peter Zenger was tried and acquitted of seditious libel
in 1735, marking the country's first great Freedom of the Press' trial. In 1765,
the Stamp Act Congress was held in the building to protest British taxation
without the deliberation and consent of the colonists. In December 1784 NYC
offer City Hall to the United States in Congress Assembled as a Capitol
Building. It was accepted and Congress convened there on January 11, 1785.
The building was remodeled and enlarged in 1788 and 1789 preparing for the new
tripartite government under the direction of Pierre Charles L'Enfant. This was
the first example of Federal Style architecture in the United States. It was
renamed Federal Hall when it became the first Capitol of the United States under
the Constitution of 1787. L'Enfant would be later selected by George Washington
to design the capital city on the Potomac River in Maryland.
Richard Henry Lee, John Hancock, Nathaniel Gorham, Arthur St. Clair, Cyrus
Griffin and George Washington all served as Presidents of the United States in
New York City Hall. In this building the Northwest Ordinance was passed.
The current US Constitution was finalized, ratified and the new tripartite
formed the United States Republic in 1789.
Tavern, New York City, NY: Fall 1788 to March 2, 1789
– The USA Confederation fades away.
was built as the home of Etienne DeLancey in 1719. In 1762 Samuel Fraunces
acquired the building and converted it into a Colonial Tavern. Fraunces Tavern
was a meeting place for the Sons of Liberty in the pre-war years and was the
site of British/American "Board of Inquiry" meetings. In December of
1783 George Washington bade farewell to his troops before resigning his
commission as Commander-in-Chief to President Mifflin. When the Capitol
relocated from Trenton NJ to NYC the tavern housed some offices of the United
States in Congress Assembled. During Federal Hall’s renovation, Fraunces Tavern
served as the last U.S. Capitol under the Constitution of 1777. In 1789, under
the Constitution of 1787, the building housed the departments of Foreign
Affairs, Treasury and War.
Founding Facts:Every Wednesday, at Fraunces
Tavern from April to November, 1783, the British-American Board of Inquiry met
to review the paper credentials and oral history given by freed Blacks. The
British representatives were successful insuring that thousands of Loyalist
Blacks retained their freedom rather then being returned to slavery ordered by
the United States in Congress Assembled. In 1774 the Continental Congress first
caucused in a Philadelphia City Tavern and in 1789 the Confederation of the
United States ended in Fraunces18th Century NY City Tavern.
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