History

Cool Timeline

2015
August 21

Federal Hall is named a National Treasure

Federal Hall is named a National Treasure

The National Trust for Historic Preservation names the site a National Treasure and supports a public awareness campaign along with restoration of the Wall Street facade and steps.

Image: Public awareness campaign banners. © National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.

2001
September 11

9/11 emergency workers are sheltered

9/11 emergency workers are sheltered

The site serves as a shelter for emergency workers after 9/11. The building suffered structural damage due to the seismic impact of the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and undergoes a $16.5 million structural rehabilitation in 2005. Cracks in the marble, now stabilized, can still be seen on the interior.

Image: Cleaning the Federal Hall steps post-9/11. Wikimedia Commons.

1965
August 21

Building exterior is landmarked

Building exterior is landmarked

The exterior façade is designated a New York City landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission which recognizes it as a “…remarkable pure example of classical temple-form.” In 1975, the rotunda, “…an interior space of imposing grandeur,” is landmarked as well.

Images: Federal Hall exterior and interior dome. © National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.

1939
August 21

National Park Service takes over

National Park Service takes over

The building is designated Federal Hall Memorial National Historic Site, to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Washington’s inauguration, and its stewardship is transferred to the National Park Service. An exhibit for the 1939 New York World’s Fair, featuring over 450 objects from the Messmore Kendall Washington collection is mounted on-site.

Image: Federal Hall with NPS arrowhead. National Park Service.

1883
August 21

Washington statue is unveiled

Washington statue is unveiled

A bronze statue of George Washington by sculptor John Quincy Adams Ward is unveiled on the front steps of the U.S. Sub-Treasury building, marking the exact height Washington stood when taking the oath of office on the balcony of old Federal Hall.

Image: Washington statue’s unveiling. Manhattan Historic Sites Archive.

1862
August 21

Sub-Treasury moves in

Sub-Treasury moves in

The Custom House, despite its magnificence, was ill-conceived for its function. After only 20 years, custom functions move to a new and larger building on Wall Street. The site is then converted to a Sub-Treasury. In the late 1800s, the New York Sub-Treasury was estimated to conduct over two thirds of the direct money dealings between the government and the public, with annual transactions totaling close to $3 billion.

Image: Sub-Treasury interior. Manhattan Historic Sites Archive.

1842
August 21

U.S. Custom House opens

U.S. Custom House opens

The first purpose-built U.S. Custom House for the Port of New York, the nation’s premier port, opens. Requiring over eight years to construct and costing over $1 million, it was a widely celebrated public edifice. At the time, two thirds of the nation’s wealth was generated through the Port of New York.

Image: Section view of the Custom House. Manhattan Historic Sites Archive.

1812
August 21

Federal Hall is demolished

Federal Hall is demolished

Federal Hall, now dilapidated, is demolished and sold for $425 in scraps to private citizens in favor of a new city hall north of Wall Street.

Image: The new city hall at today’s City Hall Park. Wikimedia Commons.

1790
August 21

Congress departs

Congress departs

After only 18 months, Congress decamps to Philadelphia for a decade and then, in 1800, to a newly constructed capital city on the banks of the Potomac River—Washington D.C. Federal Hall reverts to its New York State and City functions. The relocation of the capital city was the result of a deal that saw Alexander Hamilton, in a bid to preserve the still unsecured Union, bargain away the capital in return for southern support of the federal government assuming the States’ Revolutionary War debt.

Image: Alexander Hamilton. Wikimedia Commons.

1789
August 21

Washington is inaugurated & Congress acts

Washington is inaugurated & Congress acts

On April 30, George Washington is inaugurated as the new nation’s first President. Convened at Federal Hall, the first U.S. Congress, one of the most legislatively prolific in history, creates the Departments of State, War, Treasury, and Justice. On two days in September 1789 alone, in a crowning achievement, the Congress passes legislation establishing two cornerstones of American democracy — the federal judiciary and the Bill of Rights.

Image: Washington taking the oath of office. Manhattan Historic Sites Archive.

1788
August 21

City Hall becomes Federal Hall

City Hall becomes Federal Hall

The New York City Council commissions famed architect Peter L’Enfant to enlarge and remodel city hall to host the first Capitol of the United States. L’Enfant’s completed masterpiece is the new House Chamber with a 46-foot-high coved ceiling, windows 16 feet above the floor and two spectator’s galleries. House debates are open to media coverage and the public, a radical departure from past practices, symbolizing the nature of the House as representative of the people under the new Constitution.

Image: The remodeled City Hall. Wikimedia Commons.

1781
August 21

Confederation Congress meets

Confederation Congress meets

The Confederation Congress, which governed the united colonies after the Revolutionary War, convenes here between 1781 and 1789. During this period, the Congress receives and disseminates the Constitution to the States for ratification and passes the Northwest Ordinance, which provides for governance of the territory northwest of the Ohio River and delivers a key initial blow against the expansion of slavery in the United States.

Image: Plaque commemorating the first permanent U.S. settlement in the Northwest Territory. Wikipedia.

1765
August 21

Stamp Act Congress protests

Stamp Act Congress protests

Delegates of nine American colonies convene at City Hall to formulate a response to the British Parliament’s new Stamp Act. After 19 days, this “Stamp Act Congress” issues a Declaration of Rights and Grievances to the King and Parliament, calling for equal treatment of the colonies. The Act was repealed in 1766, but it had already precipitated this first organized opposition, providing an intellectual foundation for the revolution to come.

Image: Burning of Stamp Act. Wikimedia Commons.

1741
May 16

NYC “Negro Plot” trials are held

NYC “Negro Plot” trials are held

Enslaved and free people are tried on charges of conspiracy to commit insurrection, after 10 fires sweep through Manhattan in quick succession. In a wave of public hysteria, likened to the Salem Witch Trials, 200 are arrested and thrown into jails beneath City Hall. Though the evidence is inconclusive, approximately 35 people, including 30 African Americans, are convicted and sentenced to death by hanging or burning at the stake.

Image: Execution resulting from Negro Plot trials. Wikimedia Commons.

1735
March 11

Zenger Trial establishes a free press

Zenger Trial establishes a free press

The trial of German American printer John Peter Zenger on the charge of seditious libel for printing a series of articles criticizing the royal governor takes place in the courthouse. Delivering an early victory for a free press, codified by the First Amendment over half a century later, Zenger’s lawyer successfully argues to the jury that truth is an absolute defense against libel.

Image: John Peter Zenger trial. Library of Congress.

1699
August 21

Sub-Treasury moves in

Sub-Treasury moves in

Construction of the new British colonial New York City Hall begins on the site of today’s Federal Hall. It was completed and opened in 1704. Housing the seat of the Governor’s Council, New York Assembly, Supreme Court and the city jail, it would remain the major seat of government of New York City for over a century.
Image: The original City Hall. NYPL Digital Collections.

Restoring, activating and sustaining Federal Hall—the birthplace of American democracy—is vital to our heritage.

Federal Hall is a place of firsts: First Capital, First President, First Congress and First Freedoms.

At almost no other time in our history has it been more important than now to understand the legacy of the founders who came together here at Federal Hall to establish the United States of America a new form of government, for and by the people.

New Day at Federal Hall will connect the sesignifican t events of the past with today through transformation of the visitor experience at Federal Hall National Memorial. The effort, a public - private partnership between the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy and the National Pak Service, addresses three main challenges: Education , Restoration and Financial Sustainability


Loving God. Loving People.

The Conservancy

The National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy was founded in 2005 as the official nonprofit partner of the National Parks of New York Harbor — 24 parks and historic sites in the New York City Metropolitan Area. New Day at Federal Hall is a primary initiative of the Conservancy in partnership with the National Park Service, our mission is to restore and transform Federal Hall into a world - class heritage destination with civic, education and tourism programs.

Matt

Tonio Burgos

Tonio Burgos is the Chairman of the Conservancy. He is the founder of Tonio Burgos & Associates Inc., a consulting firm which serves a wide range of clients in both the public and private sector across the tristate area. Tonio has served as a member of the Advisory Committee of Lower Manhattan Economic Development Corporation on Transportation issues; as a Commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and as a Director of the PATH Commuter Rail System


Mark

Marie Salerno

Marie Salerno is the President and Co-Founder with the late Marian Heiskell of the Conservancy. For 40 years, she has produced multi-faceted campaigns for New York’s cultural,
literary and educational institutions, including The New York Public Library, Thirteen/WNET, New York Magazine and NYC 100: Greater New York Centennial Celebration.


Luke

Renee Barnes

Renee Barnes has more than a decade of experience developing public programs for national parks. As Director of Programs and Operations for the Conservancy, she oversees implementation of its public programs as well as its planning and restoration projects.

John

Lynn Goldner

Lynn Goldner is a film and television producer, who has developed projects for premium cable channels such as HBO and Sundance Channel. She is the Federal Hall producer working to secure the creative talent and partnerships for The Democracy Project and a Grand Rotunda experience.


Ruth

Laura Herrera and Brandi Marks

Laura Herrera and Brandi Marks are co – founders and managing partners of Full House Events, each with nearly two decades of experience in several industries, including travel and tourism, government, nonprofit fundraising and event production. Full House is developing partnerships and a facilities rentals program for Federal Hall.


Seth

Bonnie Levinson

Bonnie Levinson ’s career working in the arts with cultural institutions spans three decades, most recently as deputy director for external affairs at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and as a trustee of several arts organizations including San Francisco Art Institute and EnGardeArts. As a consultant to Federal Hall, she is developing the visual arts and residency programs.

John

David Taggart

David Taggart has a long career in media and marketing. He specializes in spon sorships, marketing, activations and project development. He is also an award-winning photographer and founder of the social media platform,
Republic of Humanity



 

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