The Tun Tavern (the "Tavern") was a brew house built by Samuel Carpenter in 1685. It was located on Philadelphia's historic waterfront at the corner of Water Street and Tun Alley leading to Carpenter's Wharf near what is today known as "Penn's Landing."
Historically, it is regarded as the "First Brew House" built in Philadelphia in 1685, and among the very first in the country. Carpenter's purpose in building the Tavern was to commence the development of the Philadelphia waterfront which he intended as a site for various businesses. The Tavern soon developed a reputation for fine beers in the City of Philadelphia and maintained that reputation for over a century. Its name is derived from the old English word "Tun" meaning measured cask, barrel, or keg of beer.
During the years following the inception of the Tavern, several events occurred at the Tavern which are of historical significance:
The first meetings of the St. George's Society (forerunner of today's "Sons of the Society of St. George") were held at the Tavern. The Society was a charitable organization founded to assist needy Englishmen arriving in the new colony.
The first meetings of the St. John's #1 Lodge, a Grand Lodge of the Masonic Temple, were held at the Tavern. The election of the first Worshipful Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania was held at the Tavern; subsequently Benjamin Franklin was its third Grand Master. The Masonic Temple in Philadelphia, recognizes the Tavern as the birthplace of the Masonic teachings in this country; there are estimated to be over 2.3 million Masons in the United States today.
The then proprietor expanded the Tavern into "Peggy Mullan's Red Hot Beef Steak Club at Tun Tavern," which was known to host George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin and on occasion the lst and 2nd Continental Congress.
Tun Tavern was the site for the founding of the St. Andrews Society, a charitable group dedicated to helping underprivileged settlers from Scotland settle in Philadelphia.
Colonel Benjamin Franklin organized the Pennsylvania Militia and utilized the Tavern as a gathering place to recruit the area's first regiment of soldiers to suppress Indian uprisings.
November 10, 1775
On November 10, 1775, Robert Mullan, the proprietor of the Tavern and son of Peggy Mullan, was commissioned by an act of Congress to raise the first two battalions of Marines, under the leadership of Capt. Samuel Nicholas, the first appointed Commandant of the Continental Marines. Nicholas's grandfather was also a member of the Tun Tavern Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and it is this relationship between Mullan, Nicholas and the Tavern which has resulted in Tun Tavern being acknowledged as the birthplace of the United States Marine Corps. There are an estimated three million active and retired U.S. Marines worldwide who have been exposed in their military training to the historical significance of Tun Tavern. Each year on November 10th, around the world Marines toast the Marine's birthplace on the most significant date in the history of the Corps.