Nassau Inn

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Nassau Inn
File:Nassau Inn Logo.jpg
File:Nassau Inn.jpg
The Nassau Inn
General information
Country United States
Renovated December, 2012
Demolished 1937 (original)
Technical details
Floor count 6
Other information
Number of rooms 188
Number of restaurants 1
Facilities 14 Meeting rooms, 10,000 square feet (930 m2)
Parking Hulfish Garage and Chamber Street Garage
Nassau Inn
Nassau Inn is located in Mercer County, New Jersey
Nassau Inn
Location 10 Palmer Square, Princeton, NJ
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Built Original 1756
Current location 1938
Part of Princeton Historic District (#75001143[1])
Designated CP 27 June, 1975

The Nassau Inn is the only full service hotel located in downtown Princeton, New Jersey, USA. It first opened at 52 Nassau Street in 1769 in a home built in 1756. The Inn experienced British occupation during the American Revolution and played host to members of the Continental Congress when it met in nearby Nassau Hall. In 1937, the original inn was demolished to make way for the Palmer Square development and a new, much larger, inn opened at 10 Palmer Square in 1938. The hotel's restaurant, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, has a large mural by Norman Rockwell, depicting Yankee Doodle, behind the bar. It is within walking distance of Princeton University.


File:Historic American Buildings Survey Nathaniel R. Ewan, Photographer May 25, 1937 EXTERIOR - SOUTH ELEVATION - Nassau Inn, Princeton, Mercer County, NJ HABS NJ,11-PRINT,8-1.tif
The Nassau Inn (original location) in 1937, showing the west wing, built 1756, and part of the east wing, Mansion house, built 1846 by Charles Steadman


The inn's first building, constructed in 1756 using brick imported from Holland, was built as the home of Judge Thomas Leonard, an eminent local citizen who had helped woo The College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) to relocate to Princeton.[2] On his death in 1769, the house was turned into a hotel by Christopher Beekman, who gave it the name College Inn. The Inn quickly became the center of town life, and with its location on the King's Highway, at the midpoint between New York City and Philadelphia, played host to many of the notable figures of colonial America, including Paul Revere, Robert Morris, and Thomas Paine.[3]

The Inn experienced the vicissitudes of the American Revolution, with the British occupation of Princeton in 1776 followed by George Washington's victory at the Battle of Princeton. In 1783, the Continental Congress met in Nassau Hall, with many Founding Fathers staying in the Inn. Hageman's 1879 history of Princeton relates that Mayor Morford of Princeton insisted that the assembly had met in the Inn, with its ballroom serving as the Court of Chancery.[4]

Nineteenth Century

Christopher and Grace Beekman retired as proprietors of the Inn around the turn of the 19th century. John Gifford took over management of the hotel, renaming it the Nassau Inn, sometimes Nassau Hotel, and hanging a sign depicting Nassau Hall at the entrance. In 1846, a new building, known as Mansion House, was built by noted local builder/architect Charles Steadman on the east side of the original structure, which then became known as the west wing. In the 1880s the two buildings were combined.[5]

Palmer Square

The Yankee Doodle Tap Room inside the inn, with a Norman Rockwell mural behind the bar

In the 1930s Edger Palmer, a major donor to Princeton University and leading figure in the town, desired to bring an urban redevelopment to Princeton similar in concept, if not scale, to Rockefeller Center in New York. This led to the 1936–1939 creation of Palmer Square, a public square and planned development that combines stores, restaurants, and apartments, with a post office and a new building for the Nassau Inn.[6] The original buildings of the Inn were demolished; their former site is now Tiger Park, with a tiger statue commemorating Edger Palmer, standing opposite Nassau Presbyterian Church. The new Inn was built facing the square and has itself come to be considered historic with its fine interiors and Norman Rockwell mural in the Yankee Doodle Tap Room.[7]

The Inn underwent a 120 bed expansion in 1985, such that the hotel spans Palmer Square East.[8]


The hotel has 188 guest rooms, and 14 banquet rooms, with over 10,000 square feet (930 m2) in meeting space. Approximately 120,000 guests check in each year. [9] It's close proximity to Princeton University helps to maintain high occupancy rates at the inn.[10][11] The hotel allows pets, with a cleaning fee. It is a popular wedding venue, with an outdoor patio available for ceremonies. The restaurant, the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the bar and lounge area has a fireplace. Parking is available in the nearby Hulfish or Chambers Street garages.[12]

See Also


  1. "Princeton Historic District" (PDF). National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Hageman, John Frelinghuysen (1879). History of Princeton and Its Institutions, Volume 1. J.B. Lippincott & Company. p. 42.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Our History". Nassau Inn.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Hageman, John Frelinghuysen (1879). History of Princeton and Its Institutions, Volume 1. J.B. Lippincott & Company. p. 168.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Men in costume walk down Nassau Street, in front of the old Nassau Inn". Princeton Historical Society.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Princeton's Historic Sites and People". Princeton Historical Society.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Gilbert, Ellen (July 2, 2008). "Historical Society Sponsors Tour that Imagines Princeton in the 1930s". The Town Topics.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Nassau Inn Addition Tops-Out". The Town Topics. May 8, 1985.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Nassau Inn preparing for expansion". The Daily Princetonian. 2008-02-04. Retrieved 2012-05-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Report: University has big local economic effect". The Daily Princetonian. 2008-12-02. Retrieved 2012-05-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Nassau Inn given permission to expand". The Daily Princetonian. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2012-05-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Fact Sheet" (PDF). Nassau Inn.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External Links