The rescue and reuse of five 19th-century commercial buildings on the Fraunces Tavern block stands out as an impressive early victory for the Conservancy. Acting swiftly to stop the demolition already in progress, the Conservancy convinced the Department of Buildings to issue a temporary stop work order on May 20th, 1974. The Conservancy assumed a proactive role in efforts to develop economically viable plans for the row of buildings. These efforts included feasibility studies, designation as an historic district, negotiations with city agencies, reuse proposals, and special zoning legislation. In 1978 the Conservancy was successful in obtaining funds to purchase the five buildings and the row was leased to a private developer for conversion to residential and commercial use.
In the 1950s modernist artists Agnes Martin and Ellsworth Kelly lived and worked in the Coenties Slip buildings. They were part of the first community of artists to live in industrial loft spaces.
Fraunces Tavern is known as the place where George Washington gave his famous farewell address to his officers in 1783, but the building traces its history to 1719 when it was built as a home for Stephen DeLancey. Over the years it has had several changes due to fires and alterations. The building was converted into a tavern by Samuel Fraunces in 1763 and eventually into a museum by the Sons of the Revolution in 1907.
The Museum features a restaurant and an extensive collection of Colonial America, Revolutionary War, and Early Republic artifacts, including a lock of George Washington’s hair and the world’s largest collection of John Ward Dunsmore paintings.
Plan your visit to the Fraunces Tavern Museum & Restaurant
54 Pearl Street in Lower Manhattan
Monday-Sunday, 12:00 PM – 5:00 PM