George Washington’s Farewell at Fraunces Tavern in NYC

To know where modern history was shaped is to build a direct connection to our past.

Fraunces Tavern in New York City.

Today was a momentous day in New York City history. It was the year 1783  and after leading his troops to victory in the Revolutionary War, General George Washington bids an emotional farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in Lower Manhattan.

Sign of Fraunces Tavern in New York City.
Engraving showing George Washington bidding farewell to his officers on Dec. 04, 1783 at Fraunces Tavern in New York City.

Fraunces Tavern has had a very storied existence. It started off as a home in 1671 for the colonial mayor of New York. The current structure took form in 1719. In 1762 it was sold to restauranteur Samuel Fraunces who converted the place into the popular tavern, first named the Queen’s Head.

Portrait of New York Restauranteur Samuel Fraunces.

The farewell event consisted of an elaborate dinner in the building’s Long Room. Towards the end Washington conveyed to his officers: “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.”

Long Room at Fraunces Tavern in New York City.
George Washington’s 1783 military farewell at Fraunces Tavern in New York City.

More then two centuries later, the tavern still stands on Pearl and Broad streets. The building was declared a landmark in 1965 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission and in 2008 it was included in the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service.

Commemorative plaque affixed to Fraunces Tavern in New York City.
Harper’s Weekly January 1, 1883 cover showing George Washington leaving NYC on 04 December 1783.

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