Federal Hall

Federal Hall once served as New York’s City Hall and later as the first capitol building of the United States of America under the Constitution, and was the site of George Washington’s inauguration as the first President of the United States.

About Federal Hall: Here on Wall Street, George Washington took the oath of office as our first President, and this site was home to the first Congress, Supreme Court, and Executive Branch offices. The current structure, a Customs House, later served as part of the US Sub-Treasury. Now, the building serves as a museum and memorial to our first President and the beginnings of the United States of America. 26 Wall Street was the site of New York City’s 18th-century City Hall. Here John Peter Zenger was jailed, tried, and acquitted of libel for exposing government corruption in his newspaper – an early victory for freedom of the press. City Hall hosted the Stamp Act Congress, which assembled in October 1765 to protest “taxation without representation.” After the American Revolution, the Continental Congress met at City Hall and, in 1787, adopted the Northwest Ordinance, establishing procedures for creating new states. When the Constitution was ratified in 1788, New York remained the national capital. Pierre L’Enfant was commissioned to remodel the City Hall for the new federal government. The First Congress met in the now Federal Hall and wrote the Bill of Rights. George Washington was inaugurated here as the country’s first President on April 30, 1789. When the capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, the building again housed city government until 1812, when Federal Hall was demolished. The current structure on the site was built as a Customs House, opening in 1842. In 1862, Customs moved to 55 Wall Street, and the building became the US Sub-Treasury. 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. The Bible George Washington used during his inauguration as the first president of the United States on April 30, 1789 also resides in Federal Hall for viewing. It was loaned to him by a local Masonic Lodge, St. John’s Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons.

Location

  • 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005