Credit: National Archives

Tun Tavern Recreated

One of the lasting legacies of the Bicentennial was the recreation of historical buildings, enjoyed by Americans for many decades since.

Another key historic building deserves to be recreated: Tun Tavern, the hallowed birthplace of the Marine Corps.

Although Tun Tavern was destroyed in 1781, it lives on in the heart of all Marines. Every Marine recruit learns that the first Marines were recruited at Tun Tavern in 1775, and its image is burned in each Marine's memory. Each year on November 10, Marines worldwide toast the memory of Tun Tavern in Philadelphia as the acknowledged birthplace of the Corps.

Commonly known as "The Tun" in colonial times, the tavern’s history extends beyond the Marines. Constructed in 1686, The Tun was likely frequented by William Penn, who founded Pennsylvania and laid out Philadelphia only a few years before. The Tun was the birthplace of Freemasonry in America in 1731. In 1747, Benjamin Franklin recruited militia at the tavern for what later became the Pennsylvania National Guard. Also in 1747, Tun Tavern was the founding location of one of the first immigrant aid societies, the St. Andrew’s Society. When George Washington was appointed to command the Continental Army in June 1775, the Continental Congress honored him at a banquet at Tun Tavern. In Fall 1775, the Naval Committee, headed by John Adams, met at The Tun and crafted the Articles of War to guide America’s new Navy. Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and many members of the Continental Congress met informally in Tun Tavern.

George Washington

John Adams

Credit for portraits: Independence National Historical Park

Benjamin Franklin

Credit: Library Company of Philadelphia

A temporary replica of Tun Tavern was built for the 1926 Sesquicentennial Exposition in Philadelphia. For the 2026 Semiquincentennial, Homecoming 250’s partner The Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation will recreate The Tun as a permanent, operating tavern. The Semiquincentennial and area redevelopment provide an unmatched opportunity to realize the dreams of many Marines, Masons, and others: to raise a pint of beer or ale at Tun Tavern. Although its original site at Water Street is now occupied by Interstate 95, we are working to recreate The Tun as near as possible to its original site .

Credit: Library Company of Philadelphia

The recreated Tun Tavern will honor all of its history, and serve as a gathering place for Marines, Masons, and others for many years to come. It will operate as a charitable venture, with proceeds helping to maintain the tavern and to fund charities serving Marines, veterans, and others. Homecoming 250 will make the recreated Tun Tavern center stage for the Marine Corps’ 250th celebrations, as well as the Navy 250th. For many years thereafter, the operating Tun Tavern will provide a magnet drawing Marines from across the Nation, and a historical attraction for Philadelphia’s residents and visitors.

If you want to support celebrating the Marine 250th at a recreated Tun Tavern, JOIN UP or DONATE today!