The Museum of the City of New York celebrates and interprets the city, educating the public about its distinctive character, especially its heritage of diversity, opportunity, and perpetual transformation.
Alexander Hamilton was born in Nevis, a Caribbean island, and orphaned at a young age. A benefactor who noticed his talents sent him to New York at age 17 and funded his education at Kings College (now Columbia University). He published articles in local newspapers in support of the revolution while still a student. His talents and leadership skills continued to be recognized, winning him a position as an artillery captain during the revolutionary war. He was also appointed President Washington's aide-de-camp (a personal assistant to a person of high rank).
Hamilton was the first US secretary of the treasury and coauthored the Federalist Papers, which led to the ratification of the US Constitution. At the time, there were two main political parties, the Democratic-Republican Party and the Federalist Party. Hamilton was a staunch Federalist and was active in his work against the opposing party. His rivalry with Aaron Burr, a Democrat-Republican, would eventually lead to his death.
Hamilton Grange is a Federal style home designed by architect John McComb Jr. and completed in 1802. Federal style homes follow a square or rectangular design that is complemented by simple exterior elements such as a porch or patio. The House was named Hamilton Grange after Hamilton's Scottish Ancestral Home. Today it serves as a preservation of Hamilton's life and contributions to the United States of America. However, Hamilton only lived in the house for two years. He died on July 11, 1804, after being wounded in a duel with Aaron Burr.
In 2008 the National Park Service moved Hamilton Grange from Convent Avenue to St. Nicholas Park, its second move from its original location. As part of the move, the orientation of the house was changed from southwest to northeast. There was significant debate regarding the reorienting of the house. On the one hand, the general rule of preservation states that the original orientation should be maintained if a house or building is moved. However, Hamilton and his architect had wanted the house to face northeast when it was built. Its new location in St. Nicholas Park is on a piece of land that was once part of Hamilton's estate.
Learn more about the history, architecture, and the feat of relocating Hamilton Grange to its current site in this video created by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.
Cover Photo Credit: National Park Service