Few places have played a more important role in American history than Federal Hall. After construction in 1700, it served as the seat of New York’s colonial government; the Stamp Act Congress protesting "taxation without representation" was held here; the First Continental Congress and the infant US Congress met here; and George Washington was sworn in here as the first President of the United States in 1789. Sadly, however, the current building is not the original, which was torn down in 1812.
After Philadelphia became the capital of the United States, the building reverted to its original use as New York’s City Hall. There is a fine statue of George Washington on the steps, and the building is one of New York’s most impressive Greek revival buildings.
The site’s modest museum gives a feel for New York’s colonial history. Both the guided tour and a short video explain Federal Hall’s unique place in American history.
Many tourists enjoy having their photographs taken on the steps in front of the statue of George Washington and then combine their visit here with the nearby Stock Exchange. Also worthwhile is a visit to see the exterior of the nearby Federal Reserve Bank. You might also combine your visit here with nearby Fraunces Tavern, the original tavern where George Washington bid farewell to his troops, or St. Paul’s Chapel, where Washington worshipped (his original pew is intact). Note that the Wall Street area is particularly tranquil on Sunday mornings and perhaps the best time of week for a walking tour, although obviously places such as the Stock Exchange are closed.
Telephone: (212) 825-6888
Address: 26 Wall Street
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