Tucked in between the high rise buildings on Wall Street you will find a smaller older building. It is the Federal Hall – from the stair up to the Federal Hall you will have a clear view of the New York Stock Exchange and the other financial institution calling Wall Street home these days.
Back in 1703 the first New York City Hall was built at this location. It was at this very place the original protest leading up to the American Revolution at a meeting in October 1765 the representatives of the colonies agreed on opposing the British new Stamp Act and came with the slogan ringing through the revolution a few years later ”No taxation without representation”. Later the building was remodeled and enlarged to its current form. The remodel work was done in 1788 and it became the first building in Federal style. This was fitting since the building was the place where the Bill of Rights were written and the home to the first US congress in 1789 which adopted the Bill of Rights. George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the new republic of the USA on the balcony of the building. New York didn’t remain the capital of United States for long – the seat of government quickly moved to Philadelphia and later to Washington DC.
The old building was unfortunately demolished and in 1842 a new building was erected here as the Customs House of the New York Harbor. In 1882 a statue of Washington was placed in front of the building approximately at the spot where he took the oath of office. Today the building is owned and operated by the National Park Service and is open to the public as a museum of the historic events which took place in the former building. There is no entrance fee hence if you are walking around southern Manhattan and having a look at Wall Street you might as well drop by and have a look at the great building.
After you walked up the stair you can go inside the building and you are quickly met by a great hall under a big dome. This hall dominates the building and around the main hall there are a handful of other rooms which houses the actual exhibition at the Federal Hall.
The rooms give you the insight in the history of the area from the time of the inauguration of George Washington at the balcony of the building and onwards. The display gives some interesting information’s but I mainly went into the building to have a look at the building from the inside and it is well worth to go in even if you have no interest in the displays inside.
If you are not very interesting in the displays at the building you should still consider having a look at the vault inside the building which were used during the time as a costums house and at one night on June 30 1897 there was no less than 220,222,138.01 dollars inside the vault which must have been an incredible amount of money for the time.