The Tontine Coffee House
The birthplace of the New York Stock Exchange.
In May 1792, the Buttonwood Agreement, a document signed by the first 24 stockbrokers in New York City, created what is now known as the New York Stock Exchange. The agreement was a kind of place name—it has been agreed upon underneath a buttonwood tree (also known as an American sycamore) outside of 68 Wall Street.
The signers of the agreement needed a place to conduct their business, and a coffee house seemed as good a place as any. So the Tontine Coffehouse, named after Neapolitan banker Lorenzo di Tonti, would become the first indoor home for the New York Stock Exchange. The funds to build the coffee house were generated by soliciting subscribers to buy $200 shares ($4,761.90 in modern day currency). As the members died, so did their initial investment and the profits were shared with one less member. When the original investors went from the original 203 to just seven in 1870, the assets of the coffeehouse were divided and distributed …