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Federal Hall Railing, 1789 (404) | New-York Historical Society

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Uploaded on May 27, 2009

Its a railing that held a famous hand. George Washington's. New York City was the nations capital when Washington took the oath as the first president on April 30, 1789. The ceremony was at Federal Hall in lower Manhattan at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. Federal Hall had been New York's City Hall, and the government hired French architect Pierre Charles L'Enfant to redesign the building. L'Enfant went on to design an entire city Washington, D.C. He added an elaborate wrought-iron balustrade to the façade. A balustrade is a decorative handrail. Behind it was a balcony twelve feet deep. That's where Washington stood for his inauguration. The balustrade was painted, and you can still see remnants of gold paint on it. The most distinctive feature of the balustrade is in the center, the section of 13 arrows, one for each state in the new republic, each distinct, but all united. Federal Hall was demolished in 1812 and the balustrade was incorporated into the design of a building at Bellevue Hospital. In 1883, it was removed from that building. and this section was given to the New-York Historical Society for safekeeping.

The New-York Historical Society is able to produce illuminating exhibitions, public programs, and make a priceless collection accessible to the public through the generosity of donations and membership. Help us make history matter by joining today. http://www.nyhistory.org/support

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