Federal Hall is located in Lower Manhattan, right next to Wall Street, and right down the block from Trinity Church. If you need a landmark from the sky, the green-topped Trump Building, built in the 1930's, and the American International Building, also known as Lower Manhattan's Empire State Building, will help you out!
It was built in 1700, as a pure governmental building. It's most famous claim-to-fame moment, is that George Washington took the first oath of office here, and became the first President of the United States here, a day before my birthday, on April 30th, 1789.
It was also where the Bill of Rights were fought over for the new Constitution, and where John Peter Zenger was tried for libel in 1735, prompting the first amendment, many years later. In 1765, the levied the Stamp Act here, with the delegates from almost all the colonies, and came up with the now famous line, "Taxation without Representation."
It was where the government met under the Articles of Confederation. They created the Northwest Ordinance here, which basically created the states Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and prohibited slavery in those states, and some of the Northern ones too. The Judiciary Act was made here also, which created the judicial system, that we still follow to this day. Pierre Charles L'Enfant, was commissioned to make the building bigger under Washington's command. He will be later known, for designing the layout of Washington D.C.
The next year in 1790, the capital was moved to Philadelphia, and the building then became the Government of New York City Building, until the building was demolished in 1812. The current building on the site was renamed Federal Hall, and was opened in 1842. The original flooring and balcony where Washington took the oath of office, are on display inside of the building, as well as the Bible used in the inauguration. The building used to part of the Sub-Treasury during the mid 1800's to the early 1900's, until that was replaced buy the Federal Reserve. Now it is a permanent National Historic Landmark, renamed Federal Hall Memorial National Historic Site, on May 26th, 1939.
There is a famous statue on the front steps of Federal Hall, of George Washington taking the oath of office. John Quincy Adams Ward created the statue in 1882.
Fun Fact: He is named after the Fifth President of the United States, John Quincy Adams, who was the son of the Second President, John Adams, who was George Washington's Vice-President, both of whom were there at the inauguration at Federal Hall on April 30th, 1789!
In 1920, a bomb was detonated across the street at 23 Wall Street. 38 people were killed and over 400 more were injured. There is a picture that shows all of this chaos, that I will put down below, that shows George Washington's sculpture standing firm amidst the rubble. There was a special meeting of Congress on September 6th, 2002, almost a year after the 9/11 attacks, to show support to a city, still reeling. It was the first meeting of Congress on that site in over 212 years! It was renovated from 2004-2005 to repair cracks that had been agitated from the World Trade Center collapse.
It is free to the public every day, except on National Holidays, and open at regular business hours, 9 A.M. - 5 P.M. I strongly recommend, if you are into history, and you have a while in New York City, to go check out this incredible place!
Would you want to visit Federal Hall? Did you know how significant this building was?
Quotes of the Day: "Without a Struggle, there can be no Progress!" - Frederick Douglas
"If you wish to reach the highest, begin at the lowest!" - Publilius Syrus
"You can lead a man to Congress, but you can't make him think!" - Milton Berle