Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! For National Park Week, in light of social distancing orders, many parks have made virtual tours available. Click here for a 10-minute tour of Alexander Hamilton’s home with Jordan Fisher (from the musical Hamilton) and Ranger Vlad. Also worth viewing is the short clip about Eliza Hamilton…this is the program we attended at the Grange last year
Hamilton Grange National Memorial preserves the mansion of Alexander Hamilton. Built in 1802 on Hamilton’s land in Harlem, the structure has been relocated twice. In 1889, St. Luke’s acquired the home and moved it 500 feet to sit next door to the church where it functioned as a chapel. In 2008, the National Park Service restored the home to a natural setting, moving it to nearby St. Nicholas Park.
The Grange is the only home Hamilton ever owned. Hamilton was a penniless orphan from the Caribbean. He came to America as a shipping clerk, took up the cause of the American Revolution and is considered one of the founding fathers of the United States.
Hamilton was George Washington’s Aide for most of the war and a hero of the decisive Battle of Yorktown. He was instrumental in the ratification of the constitution and became our nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury in George Washington’s cabinet where he founded the National Reserve, the US Mint and our currency.
In semi-retirement from his political career, Hamilton purchased a tract of land near the Hudson River in Harlem. Back in those days, this was the countryside…it was nine miles and 90 minutes by carriage to New York City.
Hamilton commissioned an architect to build a mansion on the property. He provided legal representation for the builders so that they could keep working on the Grange after they were arrested on suspicion of murder.
The Grange was completed in 1802, but Hamilton would live there with his family for only two years before his fateful duel with Aaron Burr. Upon his death, Hamilton’s political rivals sought to dismiss or take credit for his accomplishments. But Hamilton’s widow, Eliza, who survived Alexander by 50 years, spent the rest of her life ensuring that Alexander Hamilton’s legacy would not be forgotten.
Now in the midst of a public park, visitors can view a brief film on the life of Alexander Hamilton in the theater on the ground floor. There is also a small museum and gift shop on the ground floor, which is where the kitchen would have been. Tour the historic floor with a ranger or during one of the open houses…in the home’s original location, the Hamiltons could see the Hudson River from their dining room.
Hamilton Grange Posts:
Location: 414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031
Designation: National Memorial
Date designated or established: April 27, 1962
Date of my visit: March 24, 2019
21 thoughts on “Hamilton Grange National Memorial: Virtual Tour”
Very interesting informative post.
Thanks so much!
I can’t believe this is so close to New York City and we will definitely not miss it on our next trip there —-Sigh!!!!
It’s IN New York City, but it’s all the way uptown in Harlem. Surrounding neighborhood is fine during the day, but not sure what the subway ride would be like. Back in Hamilton’s day this was wilderness and it took him 90 minutes to ride to his law office by carriage
Must have been quite an effort to relocate the whole building twice! I wonder what Hamilton would make of the current location and surroundings?
There are photos of the move in the visitor center…quite a feat! The park it’s in now is the only patch of greenery left in what was once a wilderness
Did they dismantle it piece by piece and then re-assemble it at the new location, or did they jack it up and tow it? I find the concept of towing whole buildings around the countryside bizarre, but I know that sort of thing happens elsewhere. When we were in NZ a few months ago we even visited a church that had been towed – in its entirety – to a new location. It’s amazing what can be done, isn’t it!
From what I recall, they took some external parts off and then moved the whole thing. We actually saw old photos of another historic house in Oregon being pulled by horses on rollers to it’s new location.
Wow, wish I’d witnessed that!
Those silly men and their duels!
I grew up in NYC, but never got the chance to visit the Hamilton Grange. Thank you for including it on your website.
Thanks for reading and commenting 😊
This is so cool!
I took the tour of the house and ground a few years ago for my blog when I was walking around Hamilton Height (or Washington Heights whatever they call it these days). Ever since the musical “Hamilton” came out, the rangers said the house has doubled or tripled at that time the traffic from tourists. That is nice to hear. As usual, a great write up.
Talk to you soon.
Thanks! I don’t think any high school history class can bring history to life the way these Park sites do. Most people learn about Hamilton in school and it’s a dry recitation of facts and accomplishments…doesn’t do much to preserve a legacy. It’s great when something like a musical provokes interest in and examination of history. Kudos to Lin Manuel Miranda for telling Hamilton’s story so well.
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A New York City place I’ve never visited, grew up on Long Island. Need to rectify that, thanks for this reminders.
Grew up in Staten Island, didn’t even know about this place until a few years ago 😀