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Federal Hall National Memorial, Wall Street, New York City

The very first capitol building of the United States of America was here on this site, on Wall Street in lower Manhattan. The building was called Federal Hall and was constructed in 1700. It was where President George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States. Unfortunately, the building was demolished in 1812. The new one was built in 1842, as the New York Customs House and sub-treasury building. It’s now the Federal Hall National Memorial. It’s free to enter and view the spectacular architecture and enjoy the many displays of New York’s financial district.

Federal Hall1

Federal Hall3

Federal Hall5 Oculus

Federal Hall4 Oculus

Federal Hall12 Center

Federal Hall9 Display

In 1920, a terrorist bomb detonated in front of Federal Hall killed 38 people and wounded 143. The perpetrator was never discovered, but many believe it was the act of an Italian mafia-type group, protesting American capitalism and labor union troubles.

Of course, when we visited all was quiet. You peruse the Federal Hall interior at your own pace, looking at various displays and signs.

Federal Hall11 Balcony Stone

The Bible used by George Washington for his inaugural was on loan! I was disappointed.

Federal Hall16 Washington Bible

Oh, but we got to see George’s boot buckle. Yay.

Federal Hall15 Washington Buckle

And somebody had the sense to save the iron balcony rail that Washington leaned upon as he waved to the American people on Wall Street.

Federal Hall18 By Balcony

Federal Hall17 Washington Balcony

One small corridor was devoted to Alexander Hamilton. This was lovely.

Federal Hall20 Hamilton Bust2

That bust was done shortly before Hamilton’s untimely murder in 1804. His wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, kept it in her home when she moved the Washington, DC, after his death. She always said it was the best likeness of Hamilton. If so, then Alexander Hamilton looked strikingly like the plumber guy I know at Home Depot. Wow.

The bust stands prominently beside an old fireplace, an old painting of Washington, and one of Hamilton’s old lamps.

Federal Hall22 Hamilton Exhibit

Haha, kidding about the lamp!

Hamilton’s things are temporarily on display here, until his own national monument is finished. Can you believe that Hamilton has not have a national monument of his home?! Renovations are currently underway in Harlem (where Hamilton owned land long ago) at the house he and Elizabeth called The Grange. The house is due to open at the end of this year. We are going to see it soon!

Federal Hall23 Hamilton Obit

After our exploration of Federal Hall, we ventured further out to see more history buried in lower Manhattan. Stay tuned!

Federal Hall26 Hand

Sources:
Federal Hall National Memorial; www.nps.gov/feha/index.htm

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About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

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