Fraunces Tavern is a restaurant and museum in lower Manhattan, New York City. It was built on the site of a former building which played a significant role in pre-Revolutionary activities, and in which, on 4 December 1783, General George Washington bade farewell to his officers at the end of the Revolution, before returning to his home, Mount Vernon. The Fraunces Tavern Block, bounded by Pearl, Water, Broad Streets and Coenties Slip, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977, while the Fraunces Tavern building was not separately listed until 2008.
The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.
During the tea crisis of 1765, a British captain who tried to bring tea into New York was forced to give an apology to the public at Fraunces Tavern. The patriots, dressed as Indians (like the participants in the subsequent Boston Tea Party) then dumped his tea into the harbor.
In August of 1775, Americans took possession of cannons from the Battery at the tip of Manhattan and exchanged fire with the HMS Asia (1764). They retaliated by firing a 32-gun broadside on the city, sending a cannon ball through the roof of Fraunces Tavern. When the war was all but won, Fraunces Tavern was used as the site of "Board of Inquiry" meetings, a procedure agreed upon between the withdrawing British commander, Sir Guy Carleton, and the American commander, George Washington, to appease the insistence of the American leadership that no "American property" (meaning former slaves emancipated by the British in return for military service) be allowed to leave with British forces. Every Wednesday, from April to November, 1783, the British-American Board of Inquiry met to vet the veracity of the paper credentials and oral history given by freed Blacks. However, British representatives were successful in ensuring all but a handful of the thousands of Loyalist Blacks then in New York, maintained their liberty under the protection of the British Crown, avoiding a return to slavery as desired by the Continental Congress.
When the victorious Americans re-occupied the city, it was Fraunces Tavern that hosted Washington and his officers in a victory banquet. On Dec. 4, 1783, Washington was again at Fraunces Tavern to say farewell to his officers in the Long Room. Saving America from the fate of many republics that turned quickly to military dictatorship, Washington resigned his post and returned to civilian life until chosen first President of the United States(George Washington).
The tavern operated throughout much of the 19th century, but suffered several serious fires beginning in 1832. Having been rebuilt several times, the structure's appearance has changed to the extent that it is not reliably known what the original 18th century restaurant looked like. In 1890 the first floor exterior was remodeled and the original timbers sold as souvenirs.