Orange Key Guide Service
Nassau Hall as the U.S. Capitol

After the Revolutionary War, the Continental Congress was left without the power to levy taxes and therefore could not pay the soldiers. Afraid that rioting soldiers might harm the government body in Philadelphia, delegates decided a location change was necessary. Congress thus fled across the river to New Jersey, settling down in the dignified collegiate edifice of Nassau Hall, which became the Capitol of the United States from June to November 1783.

Ordinary meetings of government officials took place in the upstairs library, but ceremonial meetings were held in the prayer hall (now the Faculty Room). It was in Nassau Hall that the Continental Congress officially received word about the signing of the Treaty of Paris, which formally ended the Revolution. In October, Congress received the first foreign minister accredited to the independent United States, Peter John Van Berkel from the Netherlands. George Washington also came to Princeton to receive the official thanks of Congress for his wartime service, at which time the trustees commissioned his portrait.

In 1956, the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative three-cent stamp in orange and black to mark the bicentennial of Nassau Hall's construction. In 1961, Nassau Hall was declared a National Historic Landmark.

(Adapted from Legends & Lore.)