Hamilton Grange National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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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.

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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.

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This wine cooler is a replica of the one George Washington gifted to the Hamiltons.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Hamilton Grange Posts:

  • Hamilton Grange National Memorial
  • Hamilton Grange: Eliza Tour (Coming soon)

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Location: 414 W 141st St, New York, NY 10031

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: April 27, 1962

Date of my visit: August 23, 2014

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus and taken it around the Basin to the Jefferson Memorial.

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After visiting the Jefferson Memorial, we decided to just walk over to the FDR memorial instead of waiting for the bus, just to go one stop. It wasn’t too far.

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The Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Memorial is dedicated to the 32nd president of the United States and features four open-air rooms representing each of his four terms. As the president who saw America through the Great Depression and WWII, and also the only president to serve more than two terms, it’s understandable that his memorial is extensive.

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At the entrance is a bronze sculpture of FDR in his wheelchair. The original design of the memorial concealed FDR’s confinement to the wheelchair. In his main statue, he has a long cloak draped over it, much as he appeared in his public life to avoid appearing weak. This stirred up some controversy and The National Organization on Disability later raised funds for the addition of the statue at the entrance. FDR was not deterred by his disability from becoming a great leader.

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We followed the pathway through the rooms, past the sculptures (including one of Eleanor Roosevelt…she is the only First Lady included in a presidential memorial,) FDR’s quotes carved in granite and five water features, each symbolizing a major event in FDR’s presidency:

  • A single large drop – The crash of the economy that led to the Great Depression
  • Multiple stairstep drops – The Tennessee Valley Authority dam-building project
  • Chaotic falls at varying angles – World War II
  • A still pool – Roosevelt’s death
  • A wide array combining the earlier waterfalls – A retrospective of Roosevelt’s presidency *From Wikipedia

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Location: 1850 West Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 5/2/1997

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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Thomas Jefferson National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus, and took the bus all the way to the other side of the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial, intending to work our way back.

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Thomas Jefferson is an important Founding Father of the United States. He wrote the Declaration of Independence, served as Secretary of State under George Washington, was Vice President under John Adams and was elected the third President of the United States

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The neoclassical Memorial building was completed in 1943. The bronze statue of Jefferson was added in 1947. The site was originally planned to be used for a monument to Theodore Roosevelt, but his memorial was dedicated on an island in the Potomac in 1932.

Location: 701 E Basin Dr SW, Washington, DC 20242

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 4/13/1943

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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View of the Washington Monument from the Jefferson Memorial

Lincoln National Memorial

2007_1124(025)Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets for a hop on and off bus, after stopping at the Jefferson and FDR Memorials, we took the bus to the Lincoln Memorial.

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The Lincoln Memorial was built to honor Abraham Lincoln in 1922. It is across from the Washington Monument in the National Mall. Fifty-seven years after the Civil War ended and Lincoln was assassinated, this memorial was dedicated to the 16th president of the United States.

The memorial features a Greek temple design, a 19 foot statue of Lincoln and inscriptions of his famous Gettysburg Address on the walls. Because of Lincoln’s role in abolishing slavery, the memorial became a symbolic location for the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his ‘I have a dream’ speech here in 1963.

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Because we visited in the afternoon, it was quite crowded. But it was still moving to read some of the inscriptions and gaze upon the Washington Monument across the pool.

 

Location: 2 Lincoln Memorial Cir NW, Washington, DC 20037

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 5/30/1922

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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Federal Hall National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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The site at Federal Hall National Memorial began in 1703 as New York’s first City Hall. The Stamp Act Congress met here in colonial times to protest taxation without representation.  It was renamed Federal Hall when it became the first capital of the United States in 1789 and George Washington was inaugurated on its front steps.

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The capital and Congress moved to Philadelphia a year later and the original Federal Hall was demolished in 1812. The current building has been there since 1842. It was the Customs House and then the Treasury building.  In 1939 it became a National Memorial and now contains some relics dating back to Washington’s inauguration.

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We visited Federal Hall after touring the 9-11 Memorial a few blocks away on a chilly winter day. We arrived in time to take a tour of the building with a ranger. He pointed out a lot of the architectural features and talked about the historical significance of the site.

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The ranger pointed out some cracks in the wall over one of the doorways, with gauges to monitor movement. When the Twin Towers fell in 2001, the impact caused tremors which damaged Federal Hall’s structure.

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In Sept 2002, a year after the attacks, Congress convened in Federal Hall for the first time in over 200 years to show support for New York’s recovery. In 2004, Federal Hall closed for a two-year renovation to repair the damage.

Location: 26 Wall St, New York, NY 10005

Designation: National Memorial

Date designated or established: 1939

Date of my visit: February 24, 2012

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View of the NY Stock Exchange from the steps behind George Washington’s statue. The statue was placed in this spot in the late 1800s, and is believed to be where he stood on his inauguration day.

Vietnam Veterans National Memorial

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

It’s been over ten years since we spent a day touring the many monuments and memorials in Washington DC while on a road trip to visit family in South Carolina. We’d purchased tickets on a hop on and off bus, after stopping at the Lincoln Memorial, we walked over to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial honors those who served in the armed forces, died fighting or went MIA during the Vietnam War. The main section is the Memorial Wall which was completed in 1982. It is inscribed with over 58 thousand names on 144 granite panels.

There is a hushed and somber feeling as you as you follow the path past the wall. The reflective surface was designed to portray the past (the engraved names) and the present (the reflection of those looking at them) simultaneously. There was a veteran on hand helping visitors find names and make rubbings. Some left flowers behind.

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Nearby is a bronze statue named The Three Servicemen depicting three soldiers who appear to gaze at the wall in tribute to their fallen brothers.

Location: 5 Henry Bacon Dr NW, Washington, DC 20245

Designation: National Memorial

Date designation declared: 11/13/1982

Date of my visit: November 7, 2007

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Mount Rushmore National Memorial

presday1Location: 13000 SD-244, Keystone, SD 57751

Designation: National Memorial

Date NPS designation declared: 3/03/1925

Date of my visit: 7/28/2009

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Happy President’s Day! In honor of the holiday, I thought I’d drag this oldie-but-goodie out of my archives. Mount Rushmore is a 60 foot sculpture of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln carved into the Black Hills of South Dakota. The site was established in 1925 but construction was not completed until 1941. Sculptor Gutzon Borglum designed and oversaw the construction of the memorial. His son Lincoln took over for him in the final year of the project, after the elder Borglum died.

presday3This is one of those parks that you need to get to as soon as they open, especially if you visit in the busy summer months. It’s very crowded. I was traveling with extended family through South Dakota and our kids were  little at the time, more interested in climbing rocks than learning about this giant outdoor sculpture. We walked the presidential trail, which is less than a mile, but with many steps to get a closer look at the sculpture. We visited the sculptor’s studio and may have watched the film in the visitor’s center…I really can’t remember. We attended a talk with a ranger who was also a Lakota Sioux and offered the Native American perspective on the history of the area. But the kids were getting antsy at this point, so we moved on to the next stop of the day’s itinerary.presday4

We later visited the Crazy Horse Memorial, not far from Mount Rushmore, where we actually gained a better understanding of what it took to create Mount Rushmore back in the days of dynamite and hand chisels. Construction on this monument to the Sioux Chief began in 1948 and has been conducted by multiple generations of the same family. Being privately funded, the work is slow, the project is the largest mountain sculpture in the world and will probably not be finished in my lifetime. The tour and the visitor’s center are well done and a must see if you’ve come all the way to South Dakota to see Mount Rushmore.

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A model in the Crazy Horse Memorial visitor’s center shows what the mountain will look like when completed, with a view of the actual sculpture in progress through the window behind it.