Federal Hall National Memorial
New York City Landmark No. 0047, 0887
Federal Hall National Memorial in 2019
Location of Federal Hall in New York City
|Location||26 Wall Street, Financial District, Manhattan, New York City|
|Area||0.45 acres (1,800 m2)|
|Built||May 26, 1842|
|Architect||Town and Davis; John Frazee (Interior Rotunda)|
|Architectural style||Greek Revival|
|Website||Federal Hall National Memorial|
|NRHP reference No.||66000095|
|NYCL No.||0047, 0887|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NMEM||August 11, 1955|
|Designated NYCL||December 21, 1965 (exterior) |
May 27, 1975 (interior)
Federal Hall is a historic building at 26 Wall Street in the Financial District of Manhattan, New York City. The name refers to two structures on the site: a Federal style building completed in 1703, and the current Greek Revival-style building completed in 1842. While only the first building was officially called "Federal Hall", the current structure is operated by the National Park Service as a national memorial called the Federal Hall National Memorial.
The original building served as New York's first City Hall. It was the site where the colonial Stamp Act Congress met to draft its message to King George III claiming entitlement to the same rights as the residents of Britain and protesting "taxation without representation". After the American Revolution, in 1785, the building served as meeting place for the Congress of the Confederation, the nation's first central government under the Articles of Confederation. With the establishment of the United States federal government in 1789, it was renamed Federal Hall, as it hosted the 1st Congress and was the place where George Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president. It was demolished in 1812.
The current structure, one of the best surviving examples of Greek Revival architecture in New York City, was built as the U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York.Later it served as a sub-Treasury building. The current national memorial commemorates the historic events that occurred at the previous structure.
The original structure on the site was built as New York's second City Hall in 1699 - 1703, on Wall Street, in what is today the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. In 1735, John Peter Zenger, an American newspaper publisher, was arrested for committing libel against the British royal governor and was imprisoned and tried there. His acquittal on the grounds that the material he had printed was true established freedom of the press as it was later defined in the Bill of Rights.
In October 1765, delegates from nine of the 13 colonies met as the Stamp Act Congress in response to the levying of the Stamp Act by the Parliament of Great Britain. Drawn together for the first time in organized opposition to British policy, the attendees drafted a message to King George III, the House of Lords, and the House of Commons, claiming entitlement to the same rights as the residents of Britain and protesting the colonies' "taxation without representation".
After the American Revolution, the City Hall served as the meeting place for the Congress of the Confederation of the United States under the Articles of Confederation from 1785 until 1789. Acts adopted here included the Northwest Ordinance, which set up what would later become the states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin, but more fundamentally prohibited slavery in these future states.
In 1788, the building was remodeled and enlarged under the direction of Pierre Charles L'Enfant,who was later selected by President George Washington to design the capital city on the Potomac River. This was the first example of Federal Style architecture in the United States.
The building was renamed Federal Hall when it became the nation’s first seat of government under the Constitution in 1789. The 1st Congress met there beginning on March 4, 1789, and George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States on the balcony of the building on April 30, 1789.
Many of the most important legislative actions in the United States occurred with the 1st Congress at Federal Hall. Foremost was the proposal and initial ratification of the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution; twelve amendments to the Constitution were initially drafted (ten were later adopted), and on September 25, 1789, the United States Bill of Rights was proposed in Federal Hall, establishing the freedoms claimed by the Stamp Act Congress on the same site 24 years earlier. In 1992 an eleventh of the initial 12 proposed amendments was adopted as the 27th Amendment. Also, the Judiciary Act of 1789 was enacted in the building, which set up the United States federal court system that is still in use today.
In 1790, the United States capital was moved to Philadelphia, and what had been Federal Hall once again housed the government of New York City until 1812, when the building was razed with the opening of the current New York City Hall.Part of the original railing and balcony floor where Washington was inaugurated are on display in the memorial. The current structure, one of the best surviving examples of Greek Revival architecture in New York, was built as the first purpose-built U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York. Designed by architects Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis with a domed rotunda designed by the sculptor John Frazee, it was constructed of Tuckahoe marble and took more than a decade to complete. It opened in 1842.
In 1862, Customs moved to 55 Wall Street and the building served as one of six United States Sub-Treasury locations. Millions of dollars of gold and silver were kept in the basement vaults until the Federal Reserve Bank replaced the Sub-Treasury system in 1920.
In 1882, John Quincy Adams Ward‘s bronze statue of George Washington was put up on the Sub-Treasury’s ceremonial front steps, “marking the exact height Washington stood when taking the oath of office on the balcony” of the eighteenth-century edifice, overlooking the crowds filling Broad Street up to Wall Street.
In the Wall Street bombing of 1920, a bomb was detonated across the street of Federal Hall (now numbered 26) at 23 Wall Street, in what became known as The Corner. Thirty-eight people were killed and 400 injured, and 23 Wall Street was visibly damaged, but Federal Hall received no damage.
The building was designated as Federal Hall Memorial National Historic Site on May 26, 1939, and redesignated a national memorial on August 11, 1955. Administered by the National Park Service, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Federal Hall was designated a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission on December 21, 1965.
On September 6, 2002, approximately 300 members of the United States Congress traveled from Washington, D.C. to New York to convene in Federal Hall National Memorial as a symbolic show of support for the city, still recovering from the September 11, 2001 attacks. Held just four blocks from the former World Trade Center's Twin Towers, the meeting was the first by Congress in New York since 1790.
The site closed on December 3, 2004, for an extensive $16 million renovation, mostly to its foundation, after cracks threatening the structure were greatly aggravated by the collapse of the World Trade Center. In 2006, Federal Hall National Memorial reopened.
It was reported on June 8, 2008, that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and ABC News invited 2008 United States presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to a town hall forum at Federal Hall.Both candidates declined the offer "because they do not want it limited to one television network."
The National Park Service operates Federal Hall as a national memorial. As a national memorial, the site is open free to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. It has tourist information about the New York Harbor area's federal monuments and parks, and a New York City tourism information center. The gift shop has colonial and early American items for sale. Normally its exhibit galleries are open free to the public daily, except national holidays, and guided tours of the site are offered throughout the day. Exhibits include George Washington’s Inauguration Gallery, including the Bible used to swear his oath of office; Freedom of the Press, the imprisonment and trial of John Peter Zenger; and New York: An American Capital, preview exhibit created by the National Archives and Records Administration.
Two prominent American ideals are reflected in the current building's Greek Revival architecture: The Doric columns of the facade, designed by Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis, resemble those of the Parthenon and serve as a tribute to the democracy of the Greeks; the domed ceiling inside, designed by John Frazee, echoes the Pantheon and is evocative of the republican ideals of the ancient Romans.
The current structure is often overshadowed among downtown landmarks by the New York Stock Exchange, which is located diagonally across Wall and Broad Streets, but the site is one of the most important in the history of the United States and, particularly, the foundation of the United States government and its democratic institutions.
Engraved renditions of Federal Hall appear twice on U.S. postage stamps. The first stamp showing Federal Hall was issued on April 30, 1939, the 150th anniversary of President Washington's inauguration, where he is depicted on the balcony of Federal Hall taking the oath of office.
The second issue was released in 1957, the 200th anniversary of Alexander Hamilton's birth. This issue depicts Alexander Hamilton and a full view of Federal Hall.
Federal Hall is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays, and is closed on Sundays and Saturdays. The monument is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 via a ramp at its rear. The M55 bus stops nearby on Broadway, while the M15 and M15 SBS stop nearby on Water Street. In addition, the Broad Street station of the New York City Subway, serving the J and Z trains, is directly under Federal Hall.
The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency of the federal government of the United States that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations. The United States Congress created the agency on August 25, 1916 through the National Park Service Organic Act.
The National Mall is a landscaped park within the National Mall and Memorial Parks, an official unit of the United States National Park System. It is located near the downtown area of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States, and is administered by the National Park Service (NPS) of the United States Department of the Interior.
Independence Hall is the building where both the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were debated and adopted. It is now the centerpiece of the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
The Jefferson Memorial is a presidential memorial built in Washington, D.C. between 1939 and 1943 under the sponsorship of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt thought that it was a suitable memorial to the Founding Fathers of the United States and to Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the founder of the Democratic-Republican Party.
Fraunces Tavern is a museum and restaurant in New York City, situated at 54 Pearl Street at the corner of Broad Street in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan. The location played a prominent role in history before, during, and after the American Revolution. At various points in its history, Fraunces Tavern served as a headquarters for George Washington, a venue for peace negotiations with the British, and housing federal offices in the Early Republic.
Fort Vancouver National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in the states of Washington and Oregon. The National Historic Site consists of two units, one located on the site of Fort Vancouver in modern-day Vancouver, Washington; the other being the former residence of John McLoughlin in Oregon City, Oregon. The two sites were separately given national historic designation in the 1940s. The Fort Vancouver unit was designated a National Historic Site in 1961, and was combined with the McLoughlin House into a unit in 2003.
Congress Hall, located in Philadelphia at the intersection of Chestnut and 6th Streets, served as the seat of the United States Congress from December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800. During Congress Hall's duration as the capitol of the United States, the country admitted three new states, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee; ratified the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution; and oversaw the Presidential inaugurations of both George Washington and John Adams.
Independence National Historical Park is a United States National Park in Philadelphia that preserves several sites associated with the American Revolution and the nation's founding history. Administered by the National Park Service, the 55-acre (22 ha) park comprises much of Philadelphia's most-visited historic district. The park has been nicknamed "America's most historic square mile" because of its abundance of historic landmarks, and the park sites are located within the Old City and Society Hill neighborhoods of Philadelphia.
The National Capital Parks is an official unit of the National Park System of the United States. It encompasses a variety of federally owned properties in and around the District of Columbia including memorials, monuments, parks, interiors of traffic circles and squares, triangles formed by irregular intersections, and other open spaces.
The presidential memorials in the United States honor the various Presidents of the United States and seek to perpetuate their legacies.
St. Paul's Chapel is an Episcopal chapel located at 209 Broadway, between Fulton Street and Vesey Street, in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Built in 1766, it is the oldest surviving church building in Manhattan, and one of the nation's finest examples of Late Georgian church architecture.
Saint Paul's Church National Historic Site is a United States National Historic Site located in Mount Vernon, New York, just north of the New York City borough of The Bronx. The site was authorized in 1978 to protect Saint Paul's Church from increasing industrialization of the surrounding area. Saint Paul's Church is one of New York's oldest parishes and was used as a military hospital after the American Revolutionary War Battle of Pell's Point in 1776. The 5-acre (20,000 m2) cemetery surrounding the church is also within the historic site and contains an estimated 9,000 burials dating from 1704.
Since 1872 the United States National Park System has grown from a single, public reservation called Yellowstone National Park to include 418 natural, historical, recreational, and cultural areas throughout the United States, its territories, and island possessions. These areas include National Parks, National Monuments, National Memorials, National Military Parks, National Historic Sites, National Parkways, National Recreation Areas, National Seashores, National Scenic Riverways, and National Scenic Trails.
The first inauguration of George Washington as the first President of the United States was held on Thursday, April 30, 1789 on the balcony of Federal Hall in New York City, New York. The inauguration was held nearly two months after the beginning of the first four-year term of George Washington as President. Chancellor of New York Robert Livingston administered the presidential oath of office. With this inauguration, the executive branch of the United States government officially began operations under the new frame of government established by the 1787 Constitution. The inauguration of John Adams as Vice President was on April 21, 1789, when he assumed his duties as presiding officer of the United States Senate.
Independence Mall is a three-block section of Independence National Historical Park (INHP) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It lies directly north of Independence Hall, and is bounded by Chestnut, Race, 5th and 6th Streets. The south block is called the First Block, the middle block is called the Second Block, and the north block is called the Third Block.
The Government House was a Georgian-style mansion at the foot of Broadway, south of Bowling Green, on the site previously occupied by Fort George in Manhattan, New York City. Built in 1790 by the state of New York, it was intended to be the executive mansion for President George Washington, but he never occupied it. Before it was completed, the federal government moved temporarily to Philadelphia; then permanently to Washington, D.C. It then became the state governor’s residence and was used by George Clinton and John Jay. Later it was leased to John Avery and was known as the Elysian Boarding House. After the passage of the Customs Administration Act in 1799, it was converted into the Custom House in New York. Parts of the building were later leased to the American Academy of Arts, who then offered space to the New-York Historical Society in 1809. In 1813, the property was sold to the city. In 1815, the land was sold to the public and the building demolished.
George Washington is a large bronze sculpture of George Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward, installed on the front steps of Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street in New York City.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Federal Hall .|