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.