The Fraunces Tavern
January 15, 1762 - This was the day that the Fraunces Tavern opened for business on the corner of Pearl and Broad Streets in lower Manhattan. It was here that the Sons of Liberty held secret meetings and rallied support for the revolution. For hundreds of years this spot in New York City has hosted the movers and shakers of American history through triumph and tragedy.
The owner, Samuel Fraunces was good friends with George Washington, and the tavern became a regular meeting place for politicians and military men during the turbulent 1770s. In 1775, a British cannonball crashed through the roof, but in 1783 after the war was won, General Washington chose to celebrate victory at the Fraunces Tavern.
It was here he offered this famous toast:
With a heart full of love and gratitude I now take leave of you. I most devoutly wish that your latter days may be as prosperous and happy as your former ones have been glorious and honorable.
At the height of his popularity, Washington resigned as Commander in Chief and returned to Mount Vernon. This ensured that the United States would not begin its history as a military dictatorship. Of course he would be back in New York six years later to be sworn in as president.
And when it was time to pick a Chief Steward for his new home, President Washington called on his old friend Samuel Fraunces.
The building has suffered and survived through fires and various remodels. In 1975 a bomb planted by a Puerto Rican extremist group (FALN) exploded in the Fraunces Tavern and killed 4 people.
The tavern still hosts presidents and foreign dignitaries, along with a steady schedule of wedding parties. There's also a museum on the premises with a lock of Washington's hair and one of his false teeth.