Friday, August 8, 2014

United Colonies and States of America National Capitals


Capitals of the United States & Colonies of America




The United States and Colonies of America, from 1774-2014, has had nine[1] cities or towns that served as their seats of government.  Commonly referred to as "Capitals," the Congresses of the United Colonies and States of America actually convened in 14 different buildings from September 5, 1774 to November 17, 1800.  What follows is a brief history on each of the United Colonial and States Congressional Seats  of Government during the U.S. founding period.  



[1] Fortenbaugh, Robert The Nine Capitals of the United States, York, Pa., Maple Press Co., 1948





The First American Republic’s
Seats of Government
Sept. 5, 1774 to July 1, 1776

Philadelphia
Sept. 1, 1774  - Caucus Only
City Tavern
Philadelphia
Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
Carpenters’ Hall
Philadelphia
May 10, 1775 to July 1, 1776
Pennsylvania State House

Students and Teachers of US History this is a video of Stanley and Christopher Klos presenting America's Four United Republics Curriculum at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. The December 2015 video was an impromptu capture by a member of the audience of Penn students, professors and guests that numbered about 200. - Click Here for more information

First United American Republic: United Colonies of North America: 13 British Colonies United in Congress was founded by 12 colonies on September 5th, 1774 (Georgia joined in 1775)  and governed through a British Colonial Continental Congress.  Peyton Randolph and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.



City Tavern  
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 1, 1774 - Caucus Only

The City Tavern was located at 138 South 2nd Street, at the intersection of Second and Walnut Streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Delegate John Adams referred to the City Tavern in Philadelphia as the "most genteel tavern in America."   It was commissioned by the Social Elite as the Merchants' Coffee House in 1773. This Federal brick structure was utilized as a Tavern until it was badly damaged by a fire in 1834. City Tavern was rebuilt to its original floor plan in the 1970’s for the Bicentennial and currently functions as tavern and restaurant owned by the United States Department of Interior.  

Although City Tavern did not host a quorum of colonies, the tavern was the site of the first caucus of congressional delegates on September 1, 1774. The discussions at this tavern meeting were significant as the decision was made, with 25 to 30 delegates present, that the members would wait until September 5th, for the additional delegates to arrive before proceeding to business. Specifically it was agreed that the Delegates would meet "Monday next" at 10 am at City Tavern to discuss where to conduct their first meeting.*

*Smith, Paul H., et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. 25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976-2000).




Carpenters’ Hall 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
September 5, 1774 – October 24, 1774

Carpenters’ Hall is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  It was built as a four-story Georgian Colonial brick building between 1770 and 1773 by the Carpenters’ Company. Designed by architect Robert Smith (1722-1777), the structure was declared a United States National Historic Landmark in 1970.   The building is still utilized as a meeting place for the Carpenters' Company.  It was in Carpenters’ Hall that the United Colonies Continental Congress first convened and founded the First United American Republic.


Pennsylvania State House 
May 10, 1775 to July 1, 1776

Pennsylvania State House is located on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets in Philadelphia. Now known as Independence Hall, this red brick building was built between 1732 and 1753 as the colonial seat for the Province of Pennsylvania.  Edmund Woolley, the builder, designed the building with Andrew Hamilton in its distinctive Georgian style.  Two smaller buildings were added in the construction with City Hall to the east and Congress Hall to the west.  The United Colonies Continental Congress first convened here on May 10th, 1775.




The Second American Republic’s
Seats of Government
July 2, 1776 to February 28, 1781



Philadelphia
July 2, 1776 to Dec. 12, 1776
Pennsylvania State House
Baltimore
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
Henry Fite’s House
Philadelphia
March 4, 1777 to Sep. 18, 1777
Pennsylvania State House
Lancaster
September 27, 1777
Lancaster  Court House
York
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
York-town Court House
Philadelphia
July 2, 1778 to July 19, 1778*
College Hall* - PA State House
Philadelphia
July 19, 1778 to February 28, 1781
PA State House
* True Dates Unknown



Second United American Republic: The United States of America: 13 Independent States United in Congress was founded by 12 states on July 2nd, 1776 (New York abstained until July 9th), and governed through the United States Continental CongressJohn Hancock and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.




Henry Fite House
Old Congress Hall
December 20, 1776 to February 27, 1777

The Second Continental Congress, to avoid capture by British forces that feigned a winter advance on capturing Philadelphia, fled to Baltimore in mid-December 1776. Although the old county Court House was offered  as a meeting place the delegates chose to meet in a private house not far from the waterfront.  The Henry Fite House was the largest building in the small hamlet of Baltimore Town.  On Friday, December 20, 1776, Congress convened in Fite's spacious three-story and attic house standing on the southwest corner of Sharpe and Baltimore Streets (now Baltimore Street and Hopkins Place). 



The house was built by Jacob Fite, and was then the farthest house west in the town.  It was a “three-story and attic brick house, of about 92 feet front on Market Street, by about 50 or 55 feet depth on the side streets, with cellar under the whole; having 14 rooms, exclusive of kitchen, wash-house and other out-buildings, including a stable for 30 horses.”  The house had a ten window-long room with two fireplaces and Congress signed a three-month lease for 180 pounds.  Additionally, unlike the Court House, Fite's Tavern was secure against a British naval attack being located beyond the shelling range of the Royal Navy should they venture up the Patapsco River. 



Pennsylvania State House 
March 4, 1777 to September 18, 1777

After General Washington’s victories at Trenton and Princeton, the British re-fortified their lines in New Jersey and abandoned their plans to occupy Philadelphia.  A road weary Continental Congress returned to the Pennsylvania State House on March 4, 1777.



Lancaster Court House
Lancaster, Pennsylvania
September 27, 1777

Lancaster Court House was a 1730 brick structure, 30’ x 30’, that had a brick pavement floor.   The Court House was crowned with a small spire that had a clock of two faces, one for the south and the other for the north. The structure burnt down in 1781 and was replaced with a much larger structure in 1785 that is often depicted, incorrectly, as the Continental Congress Capitol building.  Upon their arrival on September 27, 1777, the Continental Congress convened but was forced to vacate the building the following day. The Pennsylvania officials, who had also fled Philadelphia, required the meeting space for the use of their State government business.   




York Town Court House
York, Pennsylvania
September 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778

York-Town Court House was constructed by William Willis in 1756 and stood in the "Centre Square" of two 80' thoroughfares.  The 45’ x 45’ Georgian Brick Colonial Court House stood in the Center of West Market Street until 1841.  In this Court House the Delegates received notice of Washington’s loss at Brandywine, Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga, Franklin’s success in achieving an alliance with France and the struggles of the Continental Army in Valley Forge. Also in this building the delegates hammered out and passed the Constitution of 1777, better known as the Articles of Confederation. A replica of the Court House was built in 1976 by the York County Bicentennial Commission; it stands in a small colonial park at the intersection of West Market Street and the Codorus Creek.



College Hall 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
July 2, 1778 to July 20, 1778

College Hall -- On June 20, 1778 the news that the British had evacuated Philadelphia on the 18th reached Congress.  The city was in complete celebration with barn fires, the lighting of the courthouse and fireworks.  On Wednesday June 25th the Continental Congress would adjourn on the 28 and reconvene “From this place to meet at Philadelphia, on Thursday, the second of July next.”[1]
When Franklin was told that Sir William Howe had taken Philadelphia, his answer was that it was more likely that Philadelphia had taken Sir William Howe. There can be now no question that the stay of the British army in Philadelphia in the winter and spring of 1778 was damaging to the British cause. During this occupation seven hundred of the private soldiers deserted; while the conduct of the officers was marked by a luxury in singular contrast with the stern endurance of excessive hardships shown by Washington and those who served under him at Valley Forge.[2]
The Continental Congress was unable to form a quorum at the Philadelphia State House on July 2.  The Journals report, “According to adjournment, the president and a number of members met at the State House in Philadelphia on Thursday the 2d of July, and adjourned from day to day, to the present.” [3] Congress finally achieved a quorum on July 7 not at the State House but at the College of Philadelphia as evidenced by signer Joseph Bartlett’s letter to John Langdon on July 13, 1778:
The Congress meets in the College Hall, as the State House was left by the enemy in a most filthy and sordid situation, as were many of the public and private buildings in the City. Some of the genteel houses were used for stables and holes cut in the parlor floors and their dung shoveled into the cellars. The country Northward of the City for several miles is one common waste, the houses burnt, the fruit trees and others cut down and carried off, fences carried away gardens and orchards destroyed. Mr. Dickenson's and Mr. Morris' fine seats all demolished-in short I could hardly find the great roads that used to pass that way. The enemy built a strong abattee with the fruit and other trees from the Delaware to Schuylkill and at about 40 or 50 rods distance along the abattue a quadrangular fort for cannon and a number of redoubts for small arms; the same on the several eminences along the Schuylkill against the City.[4]
[1] JCC, 1774-1789, Journals of the Continental Congress, June 25th, 1778.
[2] Jared Sparks, ed.,, Diplomatic Correspondence of the U.S., Washington, D.C., 1830, p. 307
[3] Ibid, July 2, 1778
[4] Jordan, John W.,  "Sessions of the Continental Congress held in the College of Philadelphia in July, 1778,” Pennsylvania magazine of history and biography, Volume 22. Historical Society of Pennsylvania,, p. 114 





Pennsylvania State House
July 19, 1778 to February 28, 1781

Henry Laurens on July 15th wrote this to Rawlins Lowdens discussing the conditions of the Pennsylvania Statehouse and the need for Congress to utilize the College of Philadelphia for its meetings:
On that day I left York Town and arrived here the 30th-from various impediments I could not collect a sufficient number of States to form a Congress earlier than the 7th Instant; one was the offensiveness of the air in and around the State House, which the Enemy had made an Hospital and left it in a condition disgraceful to the Character of civility. Particularly they had opened a large square pit near the House, a receptacle for filth, into which they had also cast dead horses and the bodies of Men who by the mercy of death had escaped from their further cruelties. I cannot proceed to a new subject before I add a curse on their savage practices.
Congress in consequence of this disappointment have been shuffling from Meeting House to College Hall the last seven days & have not performed half the business which might and ought to have been done, in a more commodious situation. [1]
By July 19, 1778 the Pennsylvania State House was put into good repair enabling both the United States Continental Congress and the Pennsylvania Supreme Council to meet as their members mandated.




[1] Edmund Cody Burnett, , Letters Of Members Of The Continental Congress, The Carnegie institution of Washington, 1926, p. 333.




The Third American Republic’s 
Seats of Government
March 1, 1781 to March 3, 1789



Philadelphia
March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1783
PA State House



Princeton
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Nassau Hall
Annapolis
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Maryland, State House
Trenton
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
French Arms Tavern
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
NY City Hall
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3, 1789
Fraunces Tavern
* True Dates Unknown


Third United American Republic: The United States of America: A Perpetual Union was founded by 13 States on March 1st, 1781, with the enactment of the first U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederationand governed through the United States in Congress Assembled.  Samuel Huntington and George Washington served, respectively, as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.


Articles of Confederation 
United States in Congress Assembled Sessions  

First USCA: Convened March 2, 1781 - Samuel Huntington and Thomas McKean Presidents
Second USCA: Convened November 5, 1781 - John Hanson President
Third USCA: Convened November 4, 1782 - Elias Boudinot President
Fourth USCA: Convened November 3, 1783 - Thomas Mifflin President
Fifth USCA: Convened November 29, 1784 - Richard Henry Lee President
Sixth USCA: Convened November 23, 1785 -John Hancock and Nathaniel Gorham Presidents
Seventh USCA: Convened February 2, 1787 - Arthur St. Clair President
Eighth USCA: Convened January 21, 1788 - Cyrus Griffin President
Ninth USCA: Unable to form a quorum



Pennsylvania State House
March 1, 1781 to June 21, 1783

On March 1st, 1781 in the Pennsylvania State House, the “Perpetual Union,” known as the United States of America, became a Constitution of 1777 governmental reality.  The last entry in the old Continental Congress Journals recorded a full printing of the Articles of Confederation, ending with signers John Walton, Edward Telfair, and Edward Langworthy of Georgia, that began: 
Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts-bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia."  I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be The United States of America.
This date marked the birth of the Third United America Republic: The United States of America, A Not Quite Perpetual Union




Prospect House 
Princeton, New Jersey
Not a Seat of Government

Several historians maintain that the USCA first convened at Colonel George Morgan’s House, named Prospect House, when they first assembled in Princeton.  I was unable to find any record of their assembly in the 1784 USCA Journals, delegate letters, period newspapers and magazines at Morgan’s house at Princeton University, Varnum Collins, however, makes a compelling case that the USCA did assemble at Prospect:
The evidence favoring the view that “Prospect” was the scene of the opening meetings is more compelling in its strength. Congress had come to Princeton hastily and apparently without making any effort to ascertain definitely the practical accommodations of the village. Mr. Boudinot may have had Nassau Hall in his mind as a meeting place at the outset; but when Colonel Morgan, who was well acquainted in Congress, stated in his letter of the 25th that one of his buildings contained “a better room for them to meet in” than the members could be “immediately accommodated with elsewhere.” Mr. Boudinot probably accepted the offer as at least a temporary arrangement. Furthermore in the list of available accommodations issued in October by the citizens of Princeton, Colonel Morgan announces his willingness to have “the Congress Room” in his house fitted up for winter use if desired. It is difficult to explain this designation of any room at “Prospect” unless a previous occupation of it by Congress had given it a right to that title. Finally it is noted in a memorandum book of Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, that the sheet of paper bearing the record of the distribution of ten sets of the Journal was lost “in removing the Office from the House of Col. Morgan to the College.” Unfortunately, this record is dated merely “1783;” but when half of the rooms in Nassau Hall were vacant it is altogether improbable, considering the close relation existing between the Secretary of Congress and that body itself, that he should have used Colonel Morgan's house as an office if Congress were sitting in Nassau Hall. It is easier to believe that he moved his belongings over to the college building because Congress was moving also.  We may, then, take it for granted that the first three meetings (June 30th, July 1st and 2d) were held in Colonel Morgan's house and that thereafter the sessions were held in the college building, in the library room presumably, except on state occasions, when they were held in the prayer-hall. The library-room which had been stripped by the British was on the north side of the second floor over the main entrance, and was about thirty by twenty-four feet in size.[1]
Additionally, Princeton University’s website on the Prospect House states:
Prospect House owes its name to the stone farmhouse first constructed on the site in the mid-18th century by Colonel George Morgan, western explorer, U.S. Agent for Indian Affairs and gentleman farmer. The superb eastern view from that farmhouse prompted Colonel Morgan to name his estate "Prospect." Morgan’s estate, a popular stopping off place in Revolutionary times, was visited by such diverse groups as a delegation of Delaware Indians, 2,000 mutinous soldiers of the Pennsylvania Line and the Continental Congress. When Prospect was acquired in 1849 by John Potter, a wealthy merchant from Charleston, S.C., he replaced the colonial structure with the present mansion.[2]
A letter from USCA Secretary Charles Thomson to Hannah Thomson, June 30, 1783, indicates that this is incorrect.  
Dear Hannah, By nine o clock, the evening I left you, I arrived at Bristol, where I met the Minister on his return.  ... Next day I started a little after three and was in the boat at Trenton ferry before Six. The ride thus far was exceedingly pleasant, the morning Serene, and the air cool and refreshing. At Trenton I shaved, washed & breakfasted ... As soon as I had breakfasted I set forward and travelling easy I arrived at Princeton about eleven. .... The town is small not much larger than Newark and the chief part of the houses small & built of wood. There are a number of genteel houses around & in the neighborhood. With respect to situation, convenience & pleasure I do not know a more agreeable spot in America. As soon as I had dressed I went to the College to meet Congress. I was conducted along an entry (which runs from one end to the other through the middle of the college) & was led up into the third story where a few members were assembled. Whether it was design or accident that led me this way, I know not. But it had the effect of raising my mortification & disgust at the Situation of Congress to the highest degree. For as I was led along the entry I passed by the chambers of the students, from whence in the sultry heat of the day issued warm steams from the beds, foul linen & dirty lodgings of the boys. I found the members extremely out of humour and dissatisfied with their situation. They are quartered upon the inhabitants who have put themselves to great inconveniencies to receive them into their houses & furnish them with lodgings, but who are not in a situation to board them. ...
According to Letters of the Delegates Editor Paul H. Smith:
This statement by Thomson disproves Varnum L. Collins' [Collins, Congress at Princeton, pp. 55-59] hitherto plausible conjecture that Congress met at George Morgan's Prospect estate between June 30, when the delegates first officially gathered to transact business in Princeton, and July 2, when they accepted the College of New Jersey's offer to use Nassau Hall as a meeting place for Congress. As Collins pointed out, Col. Morgan offered Congress the use of Prospect on June 25 and later described one of the rooms in his home as the 'Congress Room,' but Thomson's testimony that on June 30 he went 'to the College to meet Congress' clearly demonstrates that the delegates were already convened in Nassau Hall and thus could not have met at Prospect on the dates Collins surmised. Perhaps certain members of Congress met informally at Prospect before the 30th, but it is certain they did not transact any public business there." This commentary is reprinted from Eugene R. Sheridan and John M. Murrin, eds., Congress at Princeton: Being the Letters of Charles Thomson to Hannah Thomson, June-October 1783 (Princeton: Princeton University Library, 1985), p. 5. This excellent work was issued to commemorate the bicentennial of Congress' interlude at Princeton, and was made possible by Princeton University's purchase of a collection of 33 letters from Thomson to Hannah that had remained in private hands until 1983. [3] 
Prospect House has thus been dismissed as a building utilized to convene the United States in Congress Assembled.


[1] Varnum Lansing Collins, , The Continental Congress at Princeton. The University library, 1908, pp. 57-58.
[2] Princeton University, Prospect House History, http://www.princeton.edu/prospecthouse/history.htmlMarch 15, 2012.
[3] Letters of Delegates to Congress, Smith, Paul H., et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. 25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976-2000). Charles Thomson to Hannah Thomson, June 30. 1783.



Nassau Hall 
Princeton, New Jersey
June 30th, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783

The Nassau Hall structure was built in 1756 at a cost of £2,900 for the College of New Jersey.  Originally the brick-paved halls extended one hundred and seventy-five feet of what was the largest stone structure in the Colonies. In November, 1776, the British took possession of the building and used it as barracks and hospital but were briefly ejected by George Washington during the Battle of Princeton. After the war Nassau Hall, was found to be in great disrepair with “mostly bare partition walls and heaps of fallen plaster."[1] An Article in the New American Magazine of 1760 reported on the building:
There are three flat-arched doors on the north side giving access by a flight of steps to the three separate entries (an entry refers here to the hallway on each floor running the full length of the building). At the center is a projecting section of five bays surmounted by a pediment with circular windows, and other decorations. The only ornamental feature above the cornice, is the cupola, standing somewhat higher than the twelve fireplace chimneys. Beyond these there are no features of distinction. 
The simple interior design is shown in the plan, where a central corridor provided communication with the students' chambers and recitation rooms, the entrances, and the common prayer hall; and on the second floor, with the library over the central north entrance. The prayer hall was two stories high, measured 32 by 40 feet, and had a balcony at the north end which could be reached from the second-story entry. Partially below ground level, though dimly lighted by windows, was the cellar, which served as kitchen, dining area (beneath the prayer hall), and storeroom. In all there were probably forty rooms for the students, not including those added later in the cellar when a moat was dug to allow additional light and air into that dungeon.[2]
Secretary USCA writes of the first Session of Congress, June 30th, 1783, in Nassau Hall in a letter to his wife Hannah:


Dear Hannah, By nine o clock, the evening I left you, I arrived at Bristol, where I met the Minister on his return.  ... Next day I started a little after three and was in the boat at Trenton ferry before Six. The ride thus far was exceedingly pleasant, the morning Serene, and the air cool and refreshing. At Trenton I shaved, washed & breakfasted ... As soon as I had breakfasted I set forward and travelling easy I arrived at Princeton about eleven. .... The town is small not much larger than Newark and the chief part of the houses small & built of wood. There are a number of genteel houses around & in the neighborhood. With respect to situation, convenience & pleasure I do not know a more agreeable spot in America. As soon as I had dressed I went to the College to meet Congress. I was conducted along an entry (which runs from one end to the other through the middle of the college) & was led up into the third story where a few members were assembled. Whether it was design or accident that led me this way, I know not. But it had the effect of raising my mortification & disgust at the Situation of Congress to the highest degree. For as I was led along the entry I passed by the chambers of the students, from whence in the sultry heat of the day issued warm steams from the beds, foul linen & dirty lodgings of the boys. I found the members extremely out of humour and dissatisfied with their situation. They are quartered upon the inhabitants who have put themselves to great inconveniencies to receive them into their houses & furnish them with lodgings, but who are not in a situation to board them. ... [3]

Later, the USCA regular sessions met in Nassau Hall’s library room, which was located over the front entrance. For official dignitary occasions, it adjourned to the chapel on the main floor.  The move of the capital from Philadelphia to the College of New Jersey was a boom for the Princeton economy. 
It had leaped at a bound into national importance; from a “little obscure village” it had within the week “become the capital of America.” And where the “almost perfect silence” of a country hamlet was wont to reign, now nothing was “to be seen or heard but the passing and rattling of wagons, coaches and chairs.” To supply the metropolitan taste of Congressmen the produce of Philadelphia markets was brought up every week, with the result that the village street now echoed to the unfamiliar “crying about of pineapples, oranges, lemons, and every luxurious article both foreign and domestic.”[4]    



[1] Varnum Lansing Collins, , Princeton.  New York:Oxford University Press, 1914, p. 82
[2] Henry L Savage,., ed., Nassau Halls, 1756-1956, Princeton: Princeton University Press,, 1956.  .
[3] Letters of Delegates to Congress, Smith, Paul H., et al., eds. Letters of Delegates to Congress, 1774-1789. 25 volumes, Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress, 1976-2000). Charles Thomson to Hannah Thomson, June 30. 1783.
[4] Collins, op.cit., p. 57 references a letter of Ashbel Green, a senior in college, to his father, July 5th, 1783  cited in H. C. Alexander, Life of J. A. Alexander  (1870), Vol. I, p. 16, as well as the Independent Gazeteer of November 1st, 1783.



Maryland State House 
Annapolis, Maryland
November 26, 1783 to August 19, 1784

The Maryland State House was designed by Joseph Horatio Anderson in 1771. Its construction began in 1772 but was not completed until 1779 due to the struggle for Independence.  The building was constructed in red brick Georgian style with a small portico projecting out from the center crowned by a pediment. The State House entrance is accented with two high arched windows that complement the large rectangular windows on both stories lining the façade. A cornice above the windows is topped by another pediment and the sloping roof gives way for a central octagonal drum atop which rests a distinctive dome. The great dome is topped by a balustrade balcony, another octagonal drum and a lantern. The Interior of the Dome, from floor to ceiling, is 113' with the building itself encompassing 120,900 square feet under roof.  It is the oldest American State Capitol still in continuous legislative use. Here on February 2, 1781, the Maryland legislature ratified the Articles of Confederation thus dissolving the old U.S. Continental Congress government. 



French Arms Tavern
Trenton, New Jersey
November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784

The USCA assembled in the French Arms Tavern that was erected in 1730 as a private residence of stone and stucco.  The building was two stories high, with a gabled roof that measuring 45 feet in width and 43 feet in depth plus a narrower extension in the rear.   The house stood on the southwest corner of King (now Warren) Street and Second (now State) Street in Trenton, New Jersey.  The rear extension on the Second Street side served as kitchen and servant's quarters. The building was owned by John Dagworthy until his death in 1756. For two years during this period, from 1740 to 1742, it was the official residence of Governor Lewis Morris. In 1760 it was sold to Samuel Henry, an iron manufacturer, who made it his residence until he leased the property to Jacob G. Bergen in 1780 for use as a tavern. 

Before opening the tavern, which he named "Thirteen Stars," Bergen made extensive changes in the building. He added a third story, with a gabled, dormer-windowed roof; converted two of the first-floor rooms into one room 20 feet in width and 43 feet in length, which became known as the "Long Room;" and set up a barroom in the basement. In 1783 the building was described as a "Dwelling-house 45 by 43 Feet, 3 Stories, 11 Rooms, eight with Fireplaces, a Kitchen and Stabling for 12 Horses."  The Building’s name later changed to the French Arms celebrating France’s role in the defeat of Cornwallis at Yorktown when John Cape took over the tavern’s management.  Bergen returned to the tavern in 1783 and retained the French Arms name.

In 1784 a commission appointed by the New Jersey Legislature leased the tavern, which was still the largest building in town, for the use of the USCA. The Long room walls were repapered, the floors were carpeted and a platform erected in the center of the south side of the room between the two fireplaces. Thirteen new tables covered with green cloth and forty-eight new Windsor chairs were provided for the delegates.[1] 

The USCA stay at Trenton was brief and most of its time was spent in appealing to the states to send delegates. 



[1] Godfrey, The Mechanics Bank, pp. 25-6. 


Old New York City Hall
New York City, New York
January 11, 1785 to November 13, 1788

Old New York City Hall,  the capitol building that housed the USCA was eighty-five years old in 1785. In January, 1698, a committee was appointed to report on the necessity of a new building for New York’s governmental offices.  A new structure was recommended at a site “opposite the upper end of Broad St.”    The committee contracted James Evetts and his subsequent design was presented and approved by the colonial government.  To fund the construction, the old city hall, “excluding the bell, the King's arms, and the iron-work belonging to the prison,”[1] were sold at public auction to a merchant, John Hodman, for the sum of £920. The cage, pillory, and stocks, however, remained in front of the old building for a year afterwards while the new structure was being built.  The foundation stone of the building was laid, with some ceremony, in August 1699 as evidenced by a warrant drawn for paying the expense incurred on that occasion.  March 1700 records indicate the Colonial Common Council contracted with William Mumford to carve the King's, Colonial Governor Lord Bellamont’s and Lieutenant-Governor, Captain Nanfan’s arms of the size of the three blank squares left in the front of the City Hall for that purpose.[2] Moldings of stone were required to be made around each coat-of-arms, each to be cut on one stone, unless a stone sufficiently large for the King's arms could not be procured, in which case two stones might be used. The contract called from them to be completed within six months and Mumford was to receive forty-one pounds four shillings.  The building, thus, was completed in late 1700 or early 1701, although the exact date is unknown.

In 1703, the cage, pillory, whipping-post, and stocks were removed from Coenties slip[3] and erected in the upper end of Broad Street, a little below the New City Hall.    In 1715, Mr. Stephen Delancy, a “liberal and wealthy merchant”, presented the city with fifty pounds, which he had received as his salary as representative of the city in the General Assembly. He suggested, after being asked, that the funds be used to purchase of a clock, to be placed in the cupola of the City Hall. In 1716 an agreement was accordingly made with clockmaker Joseph Phillips for its construction. It was provided, that the largest wheel of the clock should be nine inches in diameter, and that there should be two dial-plates of red cedar, painted and gilt, each to be six feet square. The price paid was sixty-five pounds. 



It was not until the year 1718 that the balcony called for in the original plans was constructed.  In 1738 it was found that the cupola of this building was ''very rotten and in danger of falling." The old cupola was dismantled and a new one of the same specification was erected in its place. 

First Floor of New York City Hall before it was converted into Federal Hall in 1785. Federal Hall would serve as the capitol of the United States of America from January 11, 1785 to October 6, 1788 and again after renovations for the new tripartite government from March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790.
In 1763, which was a period when improvements, both private and public, were greatly encouraged in the city, the City Hall, now 63 three years old, was altered and improved, at very considerable expense. The colonial committee of the Common Council approved a plan of "alterations and ornaments '' to the building and to defray the computed cost of three thousand pounds, a lottery was established. Among other improvements, the building was made higher, and roofed with copper procured from England. The balcony in the front of the building was extended out to range with the two wings. A cupola of more imposing dimensions was raised upon the building, along with a bell of larger dimensions than the old one.

Second Floor of New York City Hall before it was converted into Federal Hall in 1785. Federal Hall would serve as the capitol of the United States of America from January 11, 1785 to October 6, 1788 and again after renovations for the new tripartite government from March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790.


Third Floor of New York City Hall before it was converted into Federal Hall in 1785. Federal Hall would serve as the capitol of the United States of America from January 11, 1785 to October 6, 1788 and again after renovations for the new tripartite government from March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790.
In January of 1785, the USCA conducted their meetings on the second floor which was once the room of the NY Supreme Court.  A room adjoining the meeting room was still occupied “and the noise of the scholars in their recitations was so annoying as to disturb the debates. Complaint being made of this, the school was discontinued.” [4]  This building would be the site where both the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of 1787 would be hotly debated with the former being enacted and the latter being sent on to the states, unchanged, for ratification.




[1] Willis, Samuel et al, The Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York. New York: Common Council, 1862, p. 538
[2] Ibid.
[3] Coenties Slip was an artificial inlet in the East River for the loading and unloading of ships that was land-filled in 1835. New York's first City Hall once stood at Coenties Alley and Pearl Street, just to the north of Coenties Slip.  In is now a historic pedestrian walkway.
[4] Willis, Samuel et al, NYC Manual, p. 541.





Fraunces Tavern 
New York City
October 6, 1788 to March 3, 1789

  The building known as Fraunces Tavern was erected as a residence in 1719 by Stephen de Lancey, a French Huguenot.  He had amassed great wealth as a merchant and built this 55’ x 42’ brick house on the corner of Broad and Pearl Streets in lower Manhattan Island.  The house remained in Lanсey's possession as a residence until the firm, Lancey, Robinson & Company, purchased it in 1759 for office and warehouse uses.  Three years later the house was sold to Samuel Fraunces for £2,000.


Fraunces completely renovated the building and reopened it as a public tavern.  The Queens Head Tavern became an important hostelry that he either managed or leased to others until 1776 when New York was occupied by the British and Fraunces was imprisoned.  
According to his own account, he "submitted to serve for some Time in the Menial Office of Cook in the Family of General Robertson [General James Robertson, British Governor of New York City, 1780-1783] without any Pay, or Perquisite whatsoever, Except the Privilege of disposing of the Remnants of the Tables which he appropriated towards the Comfort of the American Prisoners within the City."  Exactly when Fraunces resumed operation of the tavern is not known, but his offer of sale on March 17, 1781, was unsuccessful.[1]
Fraunces advertisement in the New York Royal Gazette read:
An elegant Three Story and a Half Brick Dwelling House, situated in Great Dock Street, at the corner of Broad Street, the property of Mr. Samuel Fraunces, and for many Years distinguished as the Queen's Head Tavern; in which are nine spacious Rooms, besides five Bed-chambers, with thirteen Fire places, an excellent Garret in which are three Bed rooms well finished, an exceeding good Kitchen, and a Spring of remarkable fine Water therein; a most excellent Cellar under the whole, divided into three commodious apartments; a convenient Yard with a good Cistern and Pump, and many other conveniences too tedious to mention; the whole in extraordinary good repair,... [2]
New York City records indicate that Fraunces was running the tavern again in 1783 and 1784.  In 1785, after leasing the building to the USCA he sold the property for £1,950 to George Powers, a Brooklyn butcher.   Now in 1788 the USCA whose Continental Congress first caucused in a Philadelphia Tavern was now considering leasing this New York Tavern as the final federal capital building of the United States under the Articles of Confederation.  On October 2nd, 1788, the USCA resolved:
The committee consisting of Mr. [Thomas Tudor] Tucker, Mr [John] Parker, and Mr [Abraham] Clark to whom was referred a letter from the Mayor of the city of New York to the Delegates having reported, That it appears from the letter referred to them, that the repairs and alterations intended to be made in the buildings in which Congress at present Assemble, will render it highly inconvenient for them to continue business therein, that it will therefore be necessary to provide some other place for their accommodation, the committee having made enquiry find no place more proper for this purpose than the two Apartments now appropriated for the Office of Foreign Affairs. They therefore recommend that the said Apartments be immediately prepared for the reception of Congress and the papers of the Secretary. Resolved, that Congress agree to the said report. [3]
Born in a Tavern and now ending in a Tavern, the United Colonies and States governments had occupied eleven different capitol buildings in eight different cites Philadelphia, Baltimore, Lancaster, York, Princeton, Annapolis, Trenton and New York.  The federal government would return once again to Philadelphia before being permanently relocated to Washington D.C. in 1800.



[1] Office of the Historian, Department of State, Buildings of the Department of State, http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/section 11.
[2] New York Royal Gazette, March 17, 1781.
[3] Journals of the USCA, October 2, 1788





The Fourth American Republic’s 
Seats of Government
March 4, 1789 to Present

New York City
March 4,1789 to August 12, 1790
NY City Hall
Philadelphia
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Congress Hall
Washington DC
November 17, 1800 to Present


Fourth United American Republic: The United States of America: We the People was formed by 11 states on March 4th, 1789 (North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in November 1789 and May 1790, respectively), with the enactment of the U.S. Constitution of 1787. The fourth and current United States Republic governs through  the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate in Congress Assembled, the U.S. President and Commander-in-Chief, and the U.S. Supreme Court.  George Washington served as the Republic's first President and Commander-in-Chief.



Federal Hall
New York City, New York
March 4, 1789 to August 12, 1790

The Federal Hall building stood on the corner of Nassau and Wall Streets until 1812 when it was razed. It was remodeled and enlarged in 1788 and 1789 preparing for the new tripartite government under the direction of Pierre Charles L'Enfant. This was the first example of Federal Style architecture in the United States. It was renamed Federal Hall when it became the first Capitol of the United States under the Constitution of 1787.  L'Enfant would be later selected by George Washington to design the capital city on the Potomac River in Maryland.


Congress Hall
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800

Congress Hall is located on the corner of Chestnut and 6th Streets and was originally built to serve as the Philadelphia County Courthouse. It was designed by architect Samuel Lewis and construction began in 1787 and completed in 1789.  The US Congress, assembled in New York's Federal Hall, passed the An Act for establishing the temporary and permanent seat of the Government of the United States, which established a temporary U.S. Capital in Philadelphia from 1790 - 1800.  It was signed into law by President George Washington on July 16th, 1790.  The new Courthouse, consequently, served as the meeting place of the U. S. Congress from December 6, 1790 to May 14, 1800 with the House of Representatives meeting on the main floor, while the Senate assembled upstairs

Among the historic events that took place here were the presidential inaugurations of George Washington (his second) and John Adams; the establishment of the First Bank of the United States, the Federal Mint, and the Department of the Navy; and the ratification of Jay's Treaty with England. During the 19th century, the building was used by Federal and local courts. The building, inside and out, has been restored as much as possible to the period of time when the building was the U.S. Capitol.



The United States Capital
District of Columbia Capitols

A view of the Thorton Capitol of Washington by William Russell Birch (1755-1834) before it was burnt down by the British. Image is from Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division 
November 17, 1800 to Present



Blodgett’s Hotel, at Seventh and E Streets Northwest, never served its intended purpose as a guesthouse. Congress authorized the purchase of the unfinished building in 1810 for federal offices and used it as temporary quarters in 1814 after the Capitol was burned.
Brick Capitol, photograph by Matthew Brady,  Circa 1865
The U.S. Capitol Building is located in Washington, D.C., at the eastern end of the National Mall on a plateau just under 90 feet above the level of the Potomac River.  The site commands a westward view across the Capitol Reflecting Pool to the Washington Monument 1.4 miles away and the Lincoln Memorial 2.2 miles away.


The earliest known photographic image of the U.S. Capitol, taken in 1846. credit: Library of Congress; photo by John Plumbe.  

The legislation enabling the federal capital to be permanently located in the District of Columbia was contentious.  Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution (1787), which gave the Congress legislative authority over “such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of Particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States...” Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton was instrumental in brokering a compromise between the Southern and Northern States.   The Southern States agreed that if the capital were located along the banks of the Potomac River they would permit the federal government to take on debt incurred during the American Revolutionary War.


The Architect of the U.S. Capitol writes:
In 1788, the state of Maryland ceded to Congress "any district in this State, not exceeding ten miles square," and in 1789 the state of Virginia ceded an equivalent amount of land. In accordance with the "Residence Act" passed by Congress in 1790, President Washington in 1791 selected the area that is now the District of Columbia from the land ceded by Maryland (private landowners whose property fell within this area were compensated by a payment of £25 per acre); that ceded by Virginia was not used for the capital and was returned to Virginia in 1846. Also under the provisions of that Act, he selected three Commissioners to survey the site and oversee the design and construction of the capital city and its government buildings. The Commissioners, in turn, selected the French engineer Pierre Charles L'Enfant to plan the new city of Washington. L'Enfant's plan, which was influenced by the gardens at Versailles, arranged the city's streets and avenues in a grid overlaid with baroque diagonals; the result is a functional and aesthetic whole in which government buildings are balanced against public lawns, gardens, squares, and paths. The Capitol itself was located at the elevated east end of the Mall, on the brow of what was then called Jenkins' Hill. The site was, in L'Enfant's words, "a pedestal waiting for a monument."[1]
The legislation also included the establishment of Philadelphia as a temporary seat of government for ten years (1790-1800), until the nation's capital in Washington, D.C. would be ready. 

On December 19, 1960, the Capitol was declared a National Historic Landmark by the National Park Service.


Capitals of the United States and Colonies of America

Philadelphia
Sept. 5, 1774 to Oct. 24, 1774
Philadelphia
May 10, 1775 to Dec. 12, 1776
Baltimore
Dec. 20, 1776 to Feb. 27, 1777
Philadelphia
March 4, 1777 to Sept. 18, 1777
Lancaster
September 27, 1777
York
Sept. 30, 1777 to June 27, 1778
Philadelphia
July 2, 1778 to June 21, 1783
Princeton
June 30, 1783 to Nov. 4, 1783
Annapolis
Nov. 26, 1783 to Aug. 19, 1784
Trenton
Nov. 1, 1784 to Dec. 24, 1784
New York City
Jan. 11, 1785 to Nov. 13, 1788
New York City
Nov. 1788 to March 3,1789
New York City
March 3,1789 to August 12, 1790
Philadelphia
December 6,1790 to May 14, 1800
Washington DC
November 17,1800 to Present





[1] Architect of the Capitol, Capitol Campus, United States Capitol’s Location, July 4, 1776, http://www.aoc.gov/cc/capitol/capitol_location.cfm





Chart Comparing Presidential Powers 
of  America's Four United Republics - Click Here


United Colonies and States First Ladies


1774-1788



United Colonies Continental Congress
President
18th Century Term
Age
09/05/74 – 10/22/74
29
Mary Williams Middleton (1741- 1761) Deceased
Henry Middleton
10/22–26/74
n/a
05/20/ 75 - 05/24/75
30
05/25/75 – 07/01/76
28
United States Continental Congress
President
Term
Age
07/02/76 – 10/29/77
29
Eleanor Ball Laurens (1731- 1770) Deceased
Henry Laurens
11/01/77 – 12/09/78
n/a
Sarah Livingston Jay (1756-1802)
12/ 10/78 – 09/28/78
21
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
09/29/79 – 02/28/81
41
United States in Congress Assembled
President
Term
Age
Martha Huntington (1738/39–1794)
03/01/81 – 07/06/81
42
07/10/81 – 11/04/81
25
Jane Contee Hanson (1726-1812)
11/05/81 - 11/03/82
55
11/03/82 - 11/02/83
46
Sarah Morris Mifflin (1747-1790)
11/03/83 - 11/02/84
36
11/20/84 - 11/19/85
46
11/23/85 – 06/06/86
38
Rebecca Call Gorham (1744-1812)
06/06/86 - 02/01/87
42
02/02/87 - 01/21/88
43
01/22/88 - 01/29/89
36



Constitution of 1787
First Ladies
President
Term
Age
April 30, 1789 – March 4, 1797
57
March 4, 1797 – March 4, 1801
52
Martha Wayles Jefferson Deceased
September 6, 1782  (Aged 33)
n/a
March 4, 1809 – March 4, 1817
40
March 4, 1817 – March 4, 1825
48
March 4, 1825 – March 4, 1829
50
December 22, 1828 (aged 61)
n/a
February 5, 1819 (aged 35)
n/a
March 4, 1841 – April 4, 1841
65
April 4, 1841 – September 10, 1842
50
June 26, 1844 – March 4, 1845
23
March 4, 1845 – March 4, 1849
41
March 4, 1849 – July 9, 1850
60
July 9, 1850 – March 4, 1853
52
March 4, 1853 – March 4, 1857
46
n/a
n/a
March 4, 1861 – April 15, 1865
42
February 22, 1862 – May 10, 1865
April 15, 1865 – March 4, 1869
54
March 4, 1869 – March 4, 1877
43
March 4, 1877 – March 4, 1881
45
March 4, 1881 – September 19, 1881
48
January 12, 1880 (Aged 43)
n/a
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
21
March 4, 1889 – October 25, 1892
56
June 2, 1886 – March 4, 1889
28
March 4, 1897 – September 14, 1901
49
September 14, 1901 – March 4, 1909
40
March 4, 1909 – March 4, 1913
47
March 4, 1913 – August 6, 1914
52
December 18, 1915 – March 4, 1921
43
March 4, 1921 – August 2, 1923
60
August 2, 1923 – March 4, 1929
44
March 4, 1929 – March 4, 1933
54
March 4, 1933 – April 12, 1945
48
April 12, 1945 – January 20, 1953
60
January 20, 1953 – January 20, 1961
56
January 20, 1961 – November 22, 1963
31
November 22, 1963 – January 20, 1969
50
January 20, 1969 – August 9, 1974
56
August 9, 1974 – January 20, 1977
56
January 20, 1977 – January 20, 1981
49
January 20, 1981 – January 20, 1989
59
January 20, 1989 – January 20, 1993
63
January 20, 1993 – January 20, 2001
45
January 20, 2001 – January 20, 2009
54
January 20, 2009 to date
45





Capitols of the United States & Colonies of America

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