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You know me, I love a good historical mystery. This week, I set out on a quest to discover what the sign outside of Fraunces Tavern would have looked like in fall of 1776.

Today, the Fraunces Tavern sign in New York City features an image of George Washington in his Revolutionary War uniform—clearly not the way the sign looked in ’76.

When Samuel Fraunces opened the tavern 1762, there was a portrait of Queen Charlotte on the sign, and the tavern was thus known as the “Queen’s Head.” But taverns were also known coloquially by their proprietor’s name, i.e. “Fraunces Tavern.”

I reached out to try to find out when the sign out front might’ve been changed. Was it after Independence—had they taken down the Queen’s Head, when they tore down the statue of King George (and melted him into musket balls…)? Or was after the war, when the British removed themselves from the city for good?

No one could answer me definitely, so I used this image, found on the Fraunces Tavern site. It says “Fraunces Tavern” but has an image of the crown. No one could tell me if this was a recreation of a historic sign, which might imply that the name on the sign was changed from “Queen’s Head” to “Fraunces” before the war was over.

If anyone has a definitive answer for which sign was hanging in the fall of ’76, I’d love to know!

And if you’re headed to Comic Con, come to my panel!

 


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