Federal Hall is the name given to the first of two historic buildings located at 26 Wall Street, New York City. The original, a Greek Revival structure completed in 1703, 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, completed in 1842 and one of the best surviving examples of neoclassical architecture in New York, was built as the U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York. Later it served as a sub-Treasury building. Though never referred to as "Federal Hall", today it is operated by the National Park Service as a national memorial and designated the Federal Hall National Memorial to commemorate the historic events that occurred at the previous structure.
Federal Hall National Memorial
Federal Hall National Memorial in 2006
Location of Federal Hall in New York City
Federal Hall (New York)
Federal Hall (the United States)
|Location||26 Wall Street, Financial District, Manhattan, New York City|
|Area||0.45 acres (1,800 m2)|
|Built||May 26, 1842|
|Architectural style||Greek Revival|
|Website||Federal Hall National Memorial|
|NRHP reference #||66000095|
|Added to NRHP||October 15, 1966|
|Designated NMEM||August 11, 1955|
|Designated NYCL||December 21, 1965|
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 classical architecture in New York, was built as the first purpose-built U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York. Designed by 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 1920, a bomb was detonated across the street from Federal Hall at 23 Wall Street, in what became known as the Wall Street bombing. Thirty-eight people were killed and 400 injured, and 23 Wall Street was visibly damaged, but Federal Hall received no damage. A famous photograph of the event shows the destruction and effects of the bombing with the statue of President Washington standing stoically in the face of chaos (see below).
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 extensive renovations. In 2006, Federal Hall National Memorial reopened after a $16 million renovation, mostly to its foundation, after cracks threatening the structure were greatly aggravated by the collapse of the Towers.
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 14th New York State Legislature, consisting of the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly, met from January 5 to March 24, 1791, during the fourteenth year of George Clinton's governorship, in New York City.1788 and 1789 United States House of Representatives elections
Elections to the United States House of Representatives for the 1st Congress were held in 1788 and 1789, coinciding with the election of George Washington as first President of the United States. The dates and methods of election were set by the states. Actual political parties did not yet exist, but new members of Congress were informally categorized as either "pro-Administration" (i.e., pro-Washington and pro-Hamilton) or "anti-Administration".
The first session of the first House of Representatives came to order in Federal Hall, New York City on March 4, 1789, with only thirteen members present. The requisite quorum (thirty members out of fifty-nine) was not present until April 1, 1789. The first order of business was the election of a Speaker of the House. On the first ballot, Frederick Muhlenberg was elected Speaker by a majority of votes. The business of the first session was largely devoted to legislative procedure rather than policy.1789
was a common year starting on Thursday of the Gregorian calendar and a common year starting on Monday of the Julian calendar, the 1789th year of the Common Era (CE) and Anno Domini (AD) designations, the 789th year of the 2nd millennium, the 89th year of the 18th century, and the 10th and last year of the 1780s decade. As of the start of 1789, the Gregorian calendar was
11 days ahead of the Julian calendar, which remained in localized use until 1923.1789 in the United States
Events from the year 1789 in the United States. The Articles of Confederation, the agreement under which the nation's government had been operating since 1781, was superseded by the Constitution in March of this year.1790 State of the Union Address
This State of the Union Address was given on Friday, January 8, 1790, during the term of George Washington. It was the first annual address given by a president. It was given in New York City. The first President felt, “great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.” 
This State of the Union Address was given on Friday, January 8, 1790, by President George Washington. It was given in New York City in the Senate Chamber of Federal Hall. It was the first annual address given by a president of the United States of America. As the first State of the Union Address President Washington created the example of what would become expected of presidents long after him. Everything from his choice of clothing, who was standing beside him, to the way he gave his message was criticized. “According to Sen. William Maclay’s account “The President was dressed in second morning, and read his speech well. The senate headed by their president were on his right The House of Representatives …. With their speaker were on his left…”. His demeanor gave the event the respect and importance that it has been given since his first speech. For all the importance that his speech has it is the shortest State of the Union Address that has been given to this day with only 1,089 words. His speech did not address in detail many of his points. He explained some of the challenges that their young America would face and he addressed what he expected of the future. President George Washington begins his speech by congratulating the houses with the accession of North Carolina and expressing the country’s progress “… and plenty with which we are blessed are circumstances auspicious in an eminent degree to our national prosperity.”. President Washington celebrated with the people but he realized the work that they would have to do in order to secure America’s future. “To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace.” was Washington’s call to his country to create a good army and to gather the resources needed to maintain it. The army itself, its funding, supplies, and structure still needed to be decided so Washington included this in his speech because it was of great importance that needed to be addressed immediately. As a new country it had to find its place in the world and shine the light of democracy. The need for foreign policy was a concern that he felt should be dealt with by the President and he promised to do his “duty in that respect in the manner which circumstances may render most public good.”. The need for a naturalization process to be made for foreigners was inserted to show how important they were to the country and to show the need the nation had for new citizens. The citizens themselves were not ignored in his State of the Union Address. With the government being formed by various official men the citizens of the United States were also asked to participate in the growth of their country. President Washington moved beyond official needs to address the everyday lives of the citizens. The President expressed “ the advancement of agriculture, commerce, manufactures…the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” in hopes of inspiring the people to embrace these fields of knowledge in order to better the country. He reminded the country that they needed knowledge in order to be able to “know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them, etc…”. Lastly he also reminded the houses of their duty to the country and the cooperation that they would need to have for the future. The first President felt, “great satisfaction from a cooperation with you in the pleasing though arduous task of insuring to our fellow citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient, and equal government.” The short speech that will forever be remembered by American citizens gave them hope for the future and revealed to the world the great efforts that were made by courageous men and women.1st United States Congress
The First United States Congress, consisting of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives, met from March 4, 1789, to March 4, 1791, during the first two years of George Washington's presidency, first at Federal Hall in New York City and later at Congress Hall in Philadelphia. With the initial meeting of the First Congress, the United States federal government officially began operations under the new (and current) frame of government established by the 1787 Constitution. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the provisions of Article I, Section 2, Clause 3 of the Constitution. Both chambers had a Pro-Administration majority. Twelve articles of amendment to the Constitution were passed by this Congress and sent to the states for ratification; the ten ratified as additions to the Constitution on December 15, 1791, are collectively known as the Bill of Rights.George Washington Inaugural Bible
The George Washington Inaugural Bible is the bible that was sworn upon by George Washington when he took office as the first President of the United States on April 30, 1789. The Bible has subsequently been used in the inauguration ceremonies of several other U.S. presidents.
The Bible is the King James Version, dated 1767, complete with the Apocrypha and elaborately supplemented with the historical, astronomical and legal data of that period. St. John's Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons, are the custodians of what is now known as the George Washington Inaugural Bible. The Bible was randomly opened to Genesis 49 during the ceremony.History of the United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives, commonly known as the lower chamber of the United States Congress, along with the United States Senate, commonly known as the upper chamber, are the two parts of the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. Like its counterpart, the House was established by the United States Constitution and convened for its first meeting on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. The history of this institution begins several years prior to that date, at the dawn of the American Revolutionary War.History of the United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—comprises the legislative branch of the federal government of the United States. Like its counterpart, the Senate was established by the United States Constitution and convened for its first meeting on March 4, 1789 at Federal Hall in New York City. The history of the institution begins prior to that date, at the 1787 Constitutional Convention, in James Madison's Virginia Plan, which proposed a bicameral national legislature, and in the Connecticut Compromise, an agreement reached between delegates from small-population states and those from large-population states that in part defined the structure and representation that each state would have in the new Congress.John Quincy Adams Ward
John Quincy Adams Ward (June 29, 1830 – May 1, 1910) was an American sculptor, who may be most familiar for his larger than lifesize standing statue of George Washington on the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City.List of buildings, sites, and monuments in New York City
Following is an alphabetical list of notable buildings, sites and monuments located in New York City in the United States. The borough is indicated in parentheses.Rosendale cement
Rosendale cement is a natural hydraulic cement that was produced in and around Rosendale, New York, beginning in 1825. From 1818 to 1970 natural cements were produced in over 70 locations in the United States and Canada. More than half of the 35 million tons of natural cement produced in the United States originated with cement rock mined in Ulster County, New York, in and around the Town of Rosendale in the Hudson River Valley. The Rosendale region of southeastern New York State is widely recognized as the source of the highest quality natural cement in North America. The Rosendale region was also coveted by geologist, such as, W. W. Mather, a geologist working for the State of New York, for its unusual exposed bedrock.` Because of its reputation, Rosendale cement was used as both a trade name and as a generic term referring to any natural hydraulic cement in the US. It was used in the construction of many of the United States' most important landmarks, including the Brooklyn Bridge, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty, Federal Hall National Memorial, and the west wing of the United States Capitol building.Royal Exchange (New York City)
The Royal Exchange building in New York City, later known as the "Old Royal Exchange" and the Merchants Exchange was a covered marketplace located near the foot of Broad Street, near its intersection with Water Street. Originally a one-story building in 1675, it was rebuilt with a meeting hall on the upper story in 1752, typical of the type of market halls found in England and Europe at the time.
The Chamber of Commerce in the City of New York (Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York after 1784) met in the building's second-floor meeting area from 1770 until the Revolutionary War. In 1785, when New York City became the nation's capitol, the New York State Legislature began meeting in the building; the Congress of the Confederation had started meeting in the legislature's previous location – which became known as Federal Hall.
On November 3, 1789, the federal court for the District of New York (later the Southern District of New York) sat in the building, the first federal court to sit under the new Constitution. The first District Court Judge was James Duane. The court's earliest business in the building included admitting local lawyers to the bar, including Aaron Burr. The court moved to Federal Hall in 1791.The U.S. Supreme Court held its inaugural session in the building February 2–10, 1790. Before the court convened, city officials moved the market's butchers and placed chains across the street so as to spare the court "interruption from the noise of carts." A second session was held in August 1790. The court met in New York for a total of twelve days before it moved to Philadelphia with the rest of the federal government in 1791.
The Royal Exchange building was demolished in 1799.Stamp Act Congress
The Stamp Act Congress, or First Congress of the American Colonies, was a meeting held between October 7 and 25, 1765, in New York City, consisting of representatives from some of the British colonies in North America; it was the first gathering of elected representatives from several of the American colonies to devise a unified protest against new British taxation. Parliament had passed the Stamp Act, which required the use of specially stamped paper for legal documents, playing cards, calendars, newspapers and dice for virtually all business in the colonies, and was going into effect on November 1, 1765.
The Congress was organized in response to a circular letter distributed by the colonial legislature of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, and consisted of delegates from nine of the eighteen British colonies in North America. All nine of the attending delegations were from the Thirteen Colonies that eventually formed the United States of America. Although sentiment was strong in some of the other colonies to participate in the Congress, a number of royal governors took steps to prevent the colonial legislatures from meeting to select delegates.
The Congress met in the building now known as Federal Hall, and was held at a time of widespread protests in the colonies, some of which were violent, against the Stamp Act's implementation. The delegates discussed and united against the act, issuing a Declaration of Rights and Grievances in which they claimed that Parliament did not have the right to impose the tax because it did not include any representation from the colonies. Members of six of the nine delegations signed petitions addressed to Parliament and King George III objecting to the Act's provisions.
The extra-legal nature of the Congress caused alarm in Britain, but any discussion of the congress's propriety were overtaken by economic protests from British merchants whose business with the colonies suffered as a consequence of the protests and their associated non-importation of British products. These economic issues prompted the British Parliament to repeal the Stamp Act, but it passed the Declaratory Act the same day, to express its opinion on the basic constitutional issues raised by the colonists; it stated that Parliament could make laws binding the American colonies "in all cases whatsoever."Tenley Campus
Tenley Campus is a satellite campus of American University located on Tenley Circle, in Northwest Washington, DC. It was formerly home to the School of Professional & Extended Studies, including the Washington Semester Program, as well as University Publications, the Media Relations department, and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. These offices and the buildings that housed them were largely demolished in 2013 to make way for a new home for the Washington College of Law. In 2016 a slew of new academic buildings were completed and the Washington College of Law was formally relocated to Tenley Campus.
Purchased in 1987 by AU, Tenley Campus was acquired to alleviate space problems at the university's main campus. Formerly the Immaculata School, it was about half a mile from main campus on Tenley Circle, at the intersection of Wisconsin and Nebraska Avenues. This campus was popular with interns because of its close proximity to the Tenleytown-AU Metro station on the WMATA Red Line.
Federal Hall—Housed 128 students; Contained the mailroom, computer lab, and dining hall (Tenley Café).
Congressional Hall—Housed 173 students; contained reception desk and Resident Director's office.
Constitution Building—Contained the Washington Semester Program, University Publications, Alumni Relations, and other administrative offices.
Dunblane House—small office and classroom buildingNew and Renovated Buildings (c. 2016):
Capital Hall-Older but newly renovated former cathedral. Houses law school admissions and administrative services.
Warren Building-Completely new academic building. Features various classrooms, offices and the Pence Law Library.
Yuma Building-Another completely new academic building. Houses a number of classrooms, faculty offices, and other academic and administrative spaces.A GPS-friendly address for the Tenley Campus is 4344 Nebraska Ave. NW, Washington DC 20016.Timeline of drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution
The drafting of the Constitution of the United States began on May 25, 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met for the first time with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to revise the Articles of Confederation, and ended on September 17, 1787, the day the Constitution drafted by the convention's delegates to replace the Articles was adopted and signed. The ratification process for the Constitution began that day, and ended when the final state, Rhode Island, ratified it on May 29, 1790. In addition to key events during the Constitutional Convention and afterward while the Constitution was before the states for their ratification, this timeline includes important events that occurred during the run-up to the convention and during the nation's transition from government under the Articles of Confederation to government under the Constitution, and concludes with the unique ratification vote of Vermont, which at the time was a sovereign state outside the Union. The time span covered is 5 years, 9 months, from March 25, 1785 to January 10, 1791.United States Senate chamber
The United States Senate Chamber is a room in the north wing of the United States Capitol that serves as the legislative chamber of the United States Senate, since January 4, 1859. The Senate first convened in its current meeting place after utilizing Federal Hall, Congress Hall, and the Old Senate Chamber in the Capitol building for the same purpose.The chamber, designed by then-Architect of the Capitol Thomas Ustick Walter, is a rectangular two-story room with 100 individual desks, one per Senator, on a multi-tiered semicircular platform facing a central rostrum in the front of the room. The Senate floor itself is overlooked on all four sides by a gallery on the second floor. The Senate floor itself is 80 by 113 feet (24 by 34 m).Wall Street
Wall Street is an eight-block-long street running roughly northwest to southeast from Broadway to South Street, at the East River, in the Financial District of Lower Manhattan in New York City. Over time, the term has become a metonym for the financial markets of the United States as a whole, the American financial services industry (even if financial firms are not physically located there), or New York–based financial interests.Anchored by Wall Street, New York City has been called both the most economically powerful city and the leading financial center of the world, and the city is home to the world's two largest stock exchanges by total market capitalization, the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ. Several other major exchanges have or had headquarters in the Wall Street area, including the New York Mercantile Exchange, the New York Board of Trade, and the former American Stock Exchange.World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition
The World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition was an open, international memorial contest, initiated by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation (LMDC) according to the specifications of architect Daniel Libeskind, to design a World Trade Center Site Memorial (later renamed the National September 11 Memorial) on a portion of the World Trade Center site. The competition began April 28, 2003 and the winner—Michael Arad and Peter Walker's Reflecting Absence—was revealed January 14, 2004 in a press conference at Federal Hall National Memorial in New York City. The contest garnered 5,201 entries from 63 nations and 49 U.S. states, out of 13,683 registrants from all 50 U.S. states and 94 nations, making it the largest design competition in history.