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