Real Estate Hamilton Grange in Harlem: A tour through the founding father’s home By Lauren Cook firstname.lastname@example.org Updated January 11, 2017 9:35 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet Email Walking toward the little yellow house on a hill in the heart of Harlem, you wouldn’t know that this was the home of one of the most influential figures of America’s beginnings, unless you were looking for it. Set inside St. Nicholas Park at the corner of West 141st Street and St. Nicholas Avenue is the site of founding father Alexander Hamilton’s home, known as the Hamilton Grange National Memorial. An orphaned immigrant from the Caribbean island of Nevis, Hamilton arrived in New York City in 1772 at age 17 to study at King’s College (now Columbia University) and quickly became a rising star in his support for the Revolutionary War. After the war, Hamilton played an integral role in creating the Constitution and served as the country’s first secretary of treasury, among many other significant accomplishments. In 1802, architect John McComb Jr. completed a country home for Hamilton, his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton, and their eight children on a 32-acre estate 9 miles above what was New York City at the time (basically just lower Manhattan). Hamilton dubbed the home “The Grange” after his father’s ancestral home in Scotland. The two-story home, built in the Federalist-style (Hamilton was co-author of the Federalist Papers, after all), features four bedrooms, a formal dining room, living room, study and kitchen. Unfortunately, Hamilton enjoyed his prized home for only two years before he was killed in a duel with Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804. His wife and children remained in the home until about 1835, when Elizabeth moved to Washington, D.C. We recently took a tour of The Grange, which is a National Park Service site. The park service offers free educational tours of Hamilton’s historic home, allowing for history to come alive right before your eyes. Though certainly an intriguing history lesson for kids, Hamilton’s story told through the time capsule of his very own home is something every New Yorker can enjoy. For more information on guided tours at The Grange, visit nps.gov/hagr/index.htm . Scroll down to learn more about The Grange and Alexander Hamilton. The many addresses of The Grange Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The current location of Hamilton's home is not the original address. In fact, the home has been moved twice. It was first built on what is now 143rd Street but had to be moved sometime around 1888-89 to make way for street paving as the grid system moved uptown. When it was on the verge of being demolished, St. Luke's Episcopal Church saved the structure and moved it to what is now 287 Convent Ave. Fast forward 120 years to 2008 and The Grange was moved again, this time by the National Park Service as part of an effort to restore the home to its former glory. It took crews six hours to roll the historic house down two city blocks to its current location at 414 W. 141st St. Walking into a piece of history Photo Credit: Lauren Cook Despite the two moves, all of the walls, floors and plaster are original to the home, which is evident in the creak of the floorboards as you walk about. Though it features several original artifacts, many of the furnishings in The Grange are replicas of pieces that would have been used during the late 1700s and early 1800s, according to the park service. Hamilton was known to call The Grange his "sweet project" and had a heavy hand in choosing the details of the home, from the molding to the window decorations, down to the flooring. The Grange has four bedrooms upstairs and a living room, study and dining room on the main floor. The kitchen was in the basement, which is now part of the visitor's center. Stone bust of Alexander Hamilton Photo Credit: Lauren Cook In the entryway sits a stone bust of Hamilton, made to look like a Roman senator, welcoming you to the home. Though it's a replica, the original was kept by his wife throughout her life and she was known to have referred to it as "my Hamilton," according to the park service. The living room Photo Credit: Lauren Cook Everything in The Grange has been restored to look as it was in 1802, down to the color of the walls and even the green drapes. The room is fitted with Louis XVI-style furniture and features five original chairs, but good luck guessing which are real and which are fake. Hanging on the wall is a copy of a portrait of President George Washington, who sent the Hamiltons the original as a gift. As part of Washington's cabinet, Hamilton had a close relationship with the president and considered him a mentor. Hamilton's pianoforte Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The pianoforte is an original artifact from Hamilton's home. According to the park service, it was made by English pianist and manufacturer Muzio Clementi. Original fireplace Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The Italian marble fireplace is another original piece from the home. Although the mantle was rebuilt by the park service, the marble is the same that Hamilton sat in front of more than 200 years ago. The dining room Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The dining room is where the family hosted guests, and the Hamiltons sure knew how to throw a party, according to the park service. The furniture is Hempel-style with period pieces from the late 1700s, including a tea set with wooden handles to keep from burning your hand, used to decorate the space and give you an idea of how the Hamiltons lived. Wine cooler from George Washington Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The dining room features a replica of a wine cooler that President Washington gave the Hamiltons as a gift. The original sold at auction in 2012 for over $782,000, according to the park service. Seth Kaller, a dealer in historic documents, told Bloomberg news the wine cooler is unique because "it has the historic associations between Washington and Hamilton. Plus it's a New York story because the nation's first capital was here." Hamilton's study Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The story goes that no one was allowed into his study, unless Hamilton invited them in, according to the park service. The irony of a tour group standing in the middle of the room while this anecdote was told was not lost on anyone. Hamilton designed this room himself and purposely chose the deep, rich green -- not thinking of money, but rather to bring the natural beauty of his estate indoors. It was also intended to be as small as it is. Hamilton had a much larger office on Wall Street in New York City, where most of his work and business was conducted. The office features a period piece replica desk as well as a replica of his famous traveling desk. Original books from Hamilton’s library Photo Credit: Lauren Cook Though the bookcases in the office are replicas of what Hamilton used at the time, the office does offer some original artifacts in the form of five books from his personal library. The books have Hamilton's wife Elizabeth's signature inside. The Grange bedrooms Photo Credit: Lauren Cook The Grange has four bedrooms: one for Hamilton, one for Elizabeth, one for their two daughters and one for the two oldest sons. However, the floor is off-limits to guests. There are no artifacts upstairs, only empty space where the rooms once were, according to the park service. The Grange tour information Photo Credit: Lauren Cook Whether you're looking to while away an afternoon in the city or want to extend your knowledge of the founding father beyond "Hamilton: An American Musical," taking a tour of The Grange is well worth your time. The National Park Service offers ranger-led tours at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. You can take a self-guided tour from 12 to 1 p.m. and 3 to 4 p.m. on those same days. It's recommended that you arrive a half-hour early if you want to take a ranger-led tour. Bonus: All tours are free. By Lauren Cook email@example.com Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic Secrets of Alexander Hamilton's New YorkHe might've been the greatest New Yorker of all time. ‘Hamilton’ inspires a booming cottage industryFind out where you can get your "Hamilton" fix in NYC. Comments We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.