H is for Hamilton

Located at  414 West 141st Street, New York, NY 10031
Memorial Website:  https://www.nps.gov/hagr/index.htm

Hamilton Grange National Memorial

The Hamilton Grange National Memorial is the home of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton. This handsome memorial is a must-visit for any person interested in the early history, especially financial history of the United States.

Hamilton played a significant role in forming the fundamental principles and policies of a young United States. An economic visionary and financial genius, he was instrumental in putting in place a new financial system and economy for the nation. 

He actually came to America looking for military glory, and promptly joined the American revolution at the age of 18. He rose in ranks to become Lieutenant Colonel. Always eager for action, he had his horse shot out from under him in the battle of Monmouth. He leaves the army in 1781 after the surrenderer of the English commander Lord Cornwallis. (The revolution officially ended on in 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.)

Later in 1798, he was appointed Inspector General of the army and second in command by George Washington when Washington assumed his position as the head of the US army, in view of worsening US-French relations. Hamilton began building an army, and his plans for training officers ultimately evolved into the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Alexander Hamilton was appointed the first Secretary of the treasury, by George Washington, the first president of the nation. Hamilton took over a nation mired in debt, established a modern financial system, restored the nation’s credit, promoted a mixed economy of manufacturing and farming, and helped bind the states together into a single nation.

Hamilton was a prolific writer who wrote his first political pamphlet at the age of 17, ‘A Full Vindication of the Measures of Congress,’ supporting the right of the First Continental Congress to authorize a trade boycott of England. Among other publications, he has authored 51 of the 85 essays, collectively called ‘The Federalist Papers’, supporting the ratification of the Constitution. James Madison and John Jay were co-authors.

Hamilton and 31 others set forth the guiding principles for an anti-slavery group, the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves. The society pledges not only to show compassion towards those held in captivity but also to work towards their freedom.

Hamilton supported federal assumption of all state debts to stimulate the economy and strengthen the Union, in his report ‘First Report on the Public Credit’ written after much research and study and submitted to the Congress. When this plan faced heavy attack, Hamilton struck a deal with Madison to encourage northern members of Congress to move the nation’s capital to Philadelphia for 10 years, and then to a Southern site on the banks of the Potomac River, in exchange for Virginia’s support for federal assumption of state debts.

The end to a brilliant life came in a duel in 1804, when Aaron Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. No one knows the specific reason but it is believed to be based on gossip that at a dinner party, Hamilton stated Burr is a ‘dangerous man, and not to be trusted’. Hamilton was grievously wounded and died the next day.

The Grange is believed to be the only home Alexander Hamilton ever owned. It was moved from the original spot two blocks away in 1889, and again in 2008, but the current 1-acre site is part of Alexander Hamilton’s original 32-acre estate. 

It is built in the Federal style, completely symmetrical. The home’s interior rooms have been restored to their original condition. The foyer, parlor, study and dining room are open to the public. 

The two octagonal rooms, the parlor and dining room, are filled with windows on one side each. With the ability to open the doors between the rooms, and open the windows to the outdoors, these rooms would have created a pleasing open-air feeling in the home.

Rooms which were the sleeping quarters of the family are on an upper floor and not open.

By today’s standards, the house is not big. The open rooms give a clear of the family’s outer face… how they met with others, entertained, and did business.

The memorial is full of useful information about the beginnings of our country. There are also some exhibits that are hands-on and interactive within the house. The website too, has a ton of information, including a virtual tour of the place.

Comments (5)

  1. Joy Weese Moll

    I saw this building in a segment on PBS when some of the cast of Hamilton visited.

  2. Chrys Fey

    This would be an interesting, historical place to visit/tour.

  3. Deborah Weber

    Interesting and informative post. The lovely photos make me want to visit. Octagon-shaped rooms are a favorite of mine.

  4. Molly of Molly's Canopy

    I loved visiting Hamilton Grange. I knew the home had moved, but did not know it is still on part of his former estate. Excellent photos.

  5. Jeanne Friedrichs

    The author, Ria, posted a very thorough and interesting account of Hamilton & his legacy. The photos of the Grange house are lovely to see. Thanks for your research.


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