The French Arms Tavern
was a structure in Trenton, New Jersey
Trenton is the capital of the U.S. state of New Jersey and the county seat of Mercer County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Trenton had a population of 84,913...
that served as the capitol of the United States and meeting place of the Congress of the Confederation
The Congress of the Confederation or the United States in Congress Assembled was the governing body of the United States of America that existed from March 1, 1781, to March 4, 1789. It comprised delegates appointed by the legislatures of the states. It was the immediate successor to the Second...
from November 1, 1784 to December 24, 1784. The building was located at the southwest corner of King (now Warren) and Second (now State) Streets from 1730 until 1837. Throughout its history the building was also known as the Thirteen Stars
, Blazing Star Tavern
, City Tavern
and City Hotel
Historian William Backes described the original building as "a stone house two stories high with gable roof. The building measured 45 feet front by 53 feet in depth, with a kitchen in the rear containing rooms for servants on the second floor. It was the handsomest and most commodious house in Trenton in its day." From 1740 until 1742 it was the official residence of Royal Governor Lewis Morris.
During the Second Battle of Trenton, it was involved in "one of the most brutal military murders" of the New Jersey campaign when Reverend John Rosburgh was bayonetted to death by Hessian troops.
From April 1, 1780 until February 1781 it was known as the Thirteen Stars and run by Jacob Bergen. In 1781 John Cape, upon becoming the proprietor, changed the name to the French and Indian Arms, commonly referred to as the French Arms Tavern. In 1783, Jacob Bergen returned to operate the tavern again. It was extensively renovated in 1784, combining the rooms on the first floor into one room known as the Long Room. Moore Furman, James Ewing, and Conrad Knotts signed a lease with Bergen for annual payment of 150 pounds for "the use and purpose of Congress of the United States to set in."
It continued to be known as the French Arms Tavern until being leased to Francis Witt on January 4, 1785 and renamed the Blazing Star.
From December 11 to December 18, 1787 it served as the meeting location for the New Jersey ratification
Ratification is a principal's approval of an act of its agent where the agent lacked authority to legally bind the principal. The term applies to private contract law, international treaties, and constitutionals in federations such as the United States and Canada.- Private law :In contract law, the...
convention for the United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...
On April 1, 1789 Henry Drake took over the tavern and renamed it the City Tavern. It was here on April 21, 1789 that George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...
, journeying to New York for his inauguration, dined after being received by the citizens of Trenton at the Assunpink Creek
Assunpink Creek is a tributary of the Delaware River in western New Jersey in the United States.Assunpink Creek is born in rural Monmouth County, about a mile north of Clarksburg. Flowing westwards, it soon enters the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, where it has been dammed to form Rising Sun...
In 1836, the First Mechanics and Manufacturers Bank purchased the property, tore down the tavern and constructed a new two-story building on the site. The building is currently occupied by a branch of Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company is an American multinational diversified financial services company with operations around the world. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the largest bank by market capitalization. Wells Fargo is the second largest bank in deposits, home...