When the Marine Corps turns 250, Marines may get to raise a pint to the Corps in the place where it supposedly all began.

The nonprofit Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation announced in a news release Monday it has acquired land to rebuild “an authentic reproduction” of the tavern where, as legend has it, the few and the proud got their start.

The plan is to establish the reconstructed Tun Tavern in time for the Marine Corps’ 250th birthday in November 2025, according to Sue Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the foundation.

Retired Lt. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, president and CEO of the Marine Corps Association, said in the release, “With the Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation leading the way, Marines of past, present and future will have their rightful gathering spot in the very city where the Marine Corps was formed.”

In November 1775, when Samuel Nicholas was tasked with raising two battalions of Continental Marines, he headed to Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern, according to traditional Marine Corps lore. Though Tun Tavern was destroyed in 1781, it has enjoyed a long afterlife as a symbol of the Marine Corps’ birth.

Tun Tavern has retained its title as the traditional birthplace of the Marine Corps despite doubts raised by one prominent Marine historian about in which bar, exactly, Nicholas launched his recruiting efforts. In his 1974 book “The United States Marines: A History,” Brig. Gen. Edwin Howard Simmons, then the director of Marine Corps history and museums, asserted that the Conestoga Waggon — a tavern owned by the Nicholas family — was more likely where Nicholas snagged his first recruits.

The Marine Corps is not the only organization that regards Tun Tavern as a hallowed site in its history.

Tun Tavern also is the birthplace of Freemasonry in Pennsylvania. The St. George, St. Andrew and Friendly Sons of St. Patrick societies were founded or held meetings in the tavern, according to the foundation.

And Tun Tavern “purportedly” is where John Adams and the Naval Committee met in 1775 to write the documents structuring what is now the Navy, the foundation said in the release.

The Tun Tavern Legacy Foundation plans to create a functioning tavern and restaurant, with historical exhibits and special events geared toward educating visitors about the establishment’s history. Profits will go to the causes of the organizations founded at the tavern, according to the news release.

The land sits at 19 South 2nd Street in Philadelphia’s Old City neighborhood, within 250 yards of the original Tun Tavern site.

Acquiring the land was the first step, Rob Brink, the foundation’s board chair and deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Free and Accepted Masons, said in the release. The next step is fundraising.

Funds are coming from private donations, corporate partnerships, foundation support, and federal and state grants, according to the release.

The foundation plans to hold a groundbreaking ceremony in November 2024, according to the release.

Irene Loewenson is a staff reporter for Marine Corps Times. She joined Military Times as an editorial fellow in August 2022. She is a graduate of Williams College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the student newspaper.

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