Haddonfield, which has become known as a sculpture-garden-of-a-town over the last decade, has added another major piece of sculptural art — a life size American Revolution soldier standing guard in front of the historic Indian King Tavern Museum.
The bronze statue was commissioned by the Haddonfield Outdoor Sculpture Trust (HOST) and created by Island Heights, NJ, sculptor Brian Hanlon. The $50,000 work took eight months to complete and adds to the historic allure of the 273-year-old tavern that played a significant role in the American Revolution and is today a popular tourist site.
The tavern was originally built in 1750 at a time when Haddonfield was a hub of local colonial culture, politics, and finance. A popular gathering spot for locals and travelers, the tavern played a role in the American Revolution.
Located just a few miles from Philadelphia that was then the capital of the revolting colonies, Haddonfield was raided by British troops who stole food and supplies from the tavern as well as the rest of the town and its surrounding farmlands. In another incident, British Hessian mercenary troops took over the Haddonfield for a period in 1771. In a skirmish in 1778, a group of Continental soldiers operating out of Haddonfield attacked a British supply convoy near the town.
The tavern’s second floor hall was also the region’s largest indoor space, a fact that became important when large battles around Trenton caused the New Jersey Colonial General Assembly to flee south and seek another venue for its legislative meetings. It ended up operating out of the Indian King Tavern’s meeting hall for nine months, passing laws governing elections, courts and townships. On March 29, 1777, the Assembly adopted the Great Seal of the State of New Jersey, making the Indian King Tavern the birthplace of the state seal and symbolically heralding its change from British colony to independent state.