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City Tavern - First Continetal Congress Caucus      

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.

Founding Facts: 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 - United Colonies Capitol 1774
Carpenters Hall, Philadelphia, PA: Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774 The First Continental Congress  - Articles of Association


Carpenters Hall is located in Philadelphia, 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.  

Founding Facts:  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.

Pennsylvania State House - US Capitol 1775-1783
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 House is 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.

Founding Facts:  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 - US Capitol 1776-1777 - Old Congress Hall
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 at Trenton.   

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 - US Capitol 1777
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.  

Founding Facts:   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-Town County Court House US Capitol 1777-1778
York Court House, PA: Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778 – Articles of Confederation and Franco-American Treaty.

York-Town County Court House located 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.

Founding Facts:  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 - 1783
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 - US Capitol 1783-1784
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 Annapolis and was designed by Joseph Horatio Anderson in 1771. 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
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 Tavern was 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. 

Old Federal Hall - 1775 to 1790
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.


New 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.

Founding Facts:  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.


Fraunces Tavern - Trading Card
Fraunces Tavern, New York City, NY: Fall 1788 to March 2, 1789 – The USA Confederation fades away. 


Fraunces Tavern 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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Historic Documents

Articles of Association

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Articles of Confederation

Article the First

Coin Act

Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence

Emancipation Proclamation

Gettysburg Address

Monroe Doctrine

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Treaty of Paris 1763

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America’s Four Republics
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Continental Congress
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Continental Congress
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John Hancock

Henry Laurens

John Jay

Samuel Huntington


Constitution of 1777
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Elected but declined the office

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Elias Boudinot

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Richard Henry Lee

John Hancock
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Nathaniel Gorham

Arthur St. Clair

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Constitution of 1787
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