Martinsville Recognizes New York’s Oldest Standing Structure With Proclamation | Local News
The City of Martinsville recently issued a proclamation thanking the Sons of the Revolution for preserving Fraunces Tavern at 54 Pearl St., New York, NY.
Recognizing a New York City Tavern from the town of Martinsville, over 500 miles away, may seem a little confusing at first, but with a little curiosity, a dollar bill, and a natural interest in the American history, the connection becomes clear.
It all started with council member Danny Turner’s two-year hobby of checking serial numbers on dollar bills.
“It’s just something I started doing,” Turner said. “Sometimes you find numbers with certain combinations that are more valuable than others.”
A quick look at eBay and other similar sites generally reveals that the lower the serial number, the higher the value among collectors.
But in this case, it wasn’t the lower number that added value to Turner’s discovery; it was the number itself.
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“If the serial number is a date, I look it up on my phone and see what happened that day,” Turner said.
Turner discovered that he had a dollar bill with the serial number 17620115.
“So the year would be 1762, and the date would be January 15,” Turner said. “I looked around and found that Fraunces Tavern opened on that date in New York.”
Fraunces Tavern not only served as a watering hole for many of America’s Founding Fathers, it’s still open today, making it New York’s most historic bar and restaurant and oldest standing structure. of town, according to the restaurant’s website.
The building is most famous as the site where, on December 4, 1783, George Washington assembled a party of his officers, nine days after the last of the British troops left American soil, to thank them for their service and offer them an emotional farewell before returning home, Colonel Benjamin Tallmadge wrote in his memoir, the only first-hand account of Washington’s farewell.
Tallmadge’s story is on display in the museum section above the restaurant and bar.
“Danny has a knack for finding interesting information about dollar bills,” said Mayor Kathy Lawson. “When he found this one he called me and offered to send it to the museum with a proclamation signed by both of us.”
Lawson said Deputy City Manager and attorney Eric Monday was “very familiar” with the historic tavern and, knowing its history, prepared a proclamation of recognition.
“Fraunces Tavern was the place where George Washington said farewell to all his Revolutionary War officers, in 1783, so it’s particularly fitting, and quite impressive, frankly, that Mr. Turner found that dollar and figured it out. ‘historical importance to which the serial number belonged, given all the patriotic work he does on behalf of veterans,’ said Monday who is a history buff of the era and sits on the board of directors of the MHC Historical Society and its past president.
City Manager Leon Towarnicki has prepared a cover letter to accompany the proclamation which reads, in part, “In recognition of the 260th anniversary of Fraunces Tavern, please find enclosed a proclamation from the City of Martinsville, Va., signed by current Mayor Kathy C. Lawson, and former Mayor Danny Turner. The proclamation recognizes the historical significance of Fraunces Tavern as well as the efforts made to preserve this historic landmark.
The proclamation decides “that the town of Martinsville, Virginia, named after a hero of the Revolution, General Joseph Martin, offers its sincere congratulations to Fraunces Tavern on the occasion of its 260th anniversary”.
After receiving the Proclamation, along with the framed dollar bill discovered by Turner, Sons of the New York Revolution manager Scott Dwyer responded by email on January 14 to thank the city of Martinsville for the gift.
“Your package arrived just in time to be included as part of our own anniversary recognition,” Dwyer wrote.
“We sincerely thank the City of Martinsville for joining us in celebrating the 260th birthday of patriot and innkeeper Samuel Fraunces who purchased 54 Pearl Street, a building that was instrumental in laying the foundations of the Revolution American,” Dwyer told the Bulletin. “We are honored to share with Martinsville a commitment to preserving and commemorating the history of the American Revolutionary era.”
Lawson said, “It’s those cool things we can do by honoring others that put us above other people. We are very grateful to Council Member Turner for coming up with the motto and making this recognition possible.
Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 2360. Follow him @billdwyatt.