The original Blue Anchor Tavern was built at the corner of High Street and Broad Street in 1750 by Richard Smith, Jr. The Third Provincial Congress of New Jersey met at the Tavern in 1776, and adopted a new State Constitution on July 2, 1776. In addition to declaring independence from Great Britain - two days early - this constitution granted voting rights to all citizens worth 50 pounds, and numerous women and minorities voted throughout the state until an all-male State Assembly again restricted the right to white males in 1809.
During the Revolution, the Tavern lodged George Washington, as well as American generals Knox, Green, Steuben, Cadwalader, Reed, Dickinson and Maxwell. On the opposing side, Count Donop, General Rahl, and Knyphausen rested here.
In 1856, the current Blue Anchor Inn was built on the same site. Known as the Beldin House in the 1860's, and later as the Metropolitan Inn, it served such guests as General Ulysses S. Grant, General George B. McClellan, Congressman McKinley, and Woodrow Wilson. It was used as a Republican headquarters during Lincoln's presidential campaign, and lodged stars of the stage in town for performances at the nearby Birch Opera House.
The Blue Anchor Inn is presently owned by the City of Burlington, and is being offered for sale for $1.00 - yes,one dollar! to any party willing and financially able to renovate it in accordance with the guidelines of the National Historic Trust, including renovation of the facade.