Originally posted on April 9. Monarchists are still entertaining!
Boston has more than its share of firsts: the first public school in the United States (Boston Latin School, our one-time alma mater), the oldest continually-operating university (Harvard) and, perhaps most importantly, the oldest continually-operating restaurant, Fanueil Hall’s Union Oyster House, which opened in 1826. Everyone knows about Union Oyster House’s history as a restaurant, but did you know that before it began serving food, it housed such varied businesses as a dry goods store and the offices of the radical pre-Revolutionary War newspaper “The Massachusetts Spy”? Did you know that this quintessentially American restaurant used to be the home of a French King? In 1796, Louis-Phillippe, who would become France’s last reigning monarch, spent several months living on the building’s second floor while in exile from France. He supported himself by giving French lessons to young women in the area. Next time you’re indulging in briny oyster goodness on Union Street, impress your friends by telling them about the French monarque who walked those boards first.