Tun Tavern was a tavern and brewery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which served as a founding or early meeting place for a number of notable groups. It is traditionally regarded as the site where what would become the United States Marine Corps held its first recruitment drive during the American Revolution. It is also regarded as one of the "birthplaces of Masonic teachings in America."
The tavern was erected in 1685 at the intersection of King (later called Water) Street and Tun Alley. Tun Tavern was named for the Old English word "tun", meaning a barrel or keg of beer. In the 1740s, a restaurant, "Peggy Mullan's Red Hot Beef Steak Club", was added to the tavern.
Organizations founded in the Tavern
Tun Tavern hosted the first meetings of a number of organizations. In 1720, the first meetings of the St. George's Society (forerunner of today's "Sons of the Society of St. George") were held there. The Society was a charitable organization founded to assist needy Englishmen arriving in the new colony. In 1732, the tavern hosted St. John's Lodge No. 1 of the Grand Lodge of the Masonic Temple in its first meetings. (The Masonic Temple of Philadelphia recognizes Tun Tavern as the birthplace of Masonic teachings in America.) In 1747, it became the founding point of the St. Andrew's Society, which, similarly to the St. George's Society, aided newly arriving Scottish.
Tun Tavern was a significant meeting place for other groups and individuals. In 1756, Benjamin Franklin used the inn as a recruitment gathering point for the Pennsylvania militia as it prepared to fight Native American uprisings. The tavern later hosted a meeting of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and the Continental Congress.
According to tradition, Tun Tavern was where the United States Marines held their first recruitment drive. On November 10, 1775, the First Continental Congress commissioned Samuel Nicholas, a Quaker innkeeper, to raise two battalions of Marines in Philadelphia. The tavern’s manager, Robert Mullan, was the "chief Marine Recruiter." Prospective volunteers flocked to the place, enticed by cold beer and the opportunity to join the new corps. The first Continental Marine company was composed of one hundred Rhode Islanders commanded by Captain Nicholas. Each year on November 10, U.S. Marines worldwide toast the memory of colonial inn.
The early history of Lodge No. 2 is the history of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania and in fact all of America. http://lodge2.org/l2history.html
Tun Tavern burned down in 1781, near the end of the American Revolution. Its location is occupied by Interstate 95, where it passes along Penn's Landing. Tun Alley once existed between Walnut and Chestnut Streets east of Front Street. A commemorative marker on the east side of Front Street indicates the site, across from Sansom Walk.
- "Tun Tavern History". Retrieved 2007-04-14.
- Sturkey, Marion F. (2001) Tun Tavern (excerpt from "Warrior culture of the U.S. Marines") USMC Press. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- Its name was occasionally rendered as "Three Tons" and "Three Tuns" in J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott. 1884. History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., Vol. I, pp. 203, 236. See also Harry Kyriakodis, Philadelphia's Lost Waterfront (The History Press, 2011), at 89-90, 95.
- The restaurant was called "Peg Mullen's celebrated beef-steak and oyster house" in John F. Watson and Willis P. Hazard. 1909. Annals of Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania, Philadelphia: Leary, Stuart & Co., Vol. I, pp. 394-395, 464-465, 469; "Peg" was also rendered "Pegg" in contemporary works, but not "Peggy."
- J. Thomas Scharf and Thompson Westcott. 1884. History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & Co., Vol. I, p. 233.
- "Tun Tavern Historical Marker". Retrieved 2010-11-08.