Hamilton Heights’ Alexander Hamilton’s ‘The Grange’ Was His Last Home Before the Duel

July 12, 2017

Like other well-to-do New Yorkers in the late 1700s, Alexander Hamilton and his family moved to Harlem Heights in Upper Manhattan, a rural area with cool breezes that also provided an escape from the yellow fever threat in Lower Manhattan, according to the National Park Service (NPS).

Hamilton, the first secretary of the U.S. Treasury, commissioned architect John McComb Jr. to design a Federal-style country home on the Hamilton family‘s 32-acre estate in 1801. After moving in upon its completion in 1802, the family called the house “The Grange,” after the ancestral home of Hamilton’s father in Scotland.

Hamilton lived at The Grange for just two years. On July 11, 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr  shot him in that infamous duel. Hamilton died on July 12, 213 years ago today. [Photos: Alexander Hamilton Lived Here Until the Infamous Duel]

During Hamilton’s short time at The Grange, he and his wife, Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton,entertained friends, colleagues and leaders in the house and its surrounding gardens, according to the NPS. But it wasn’t close to Hamilton’s law office — it took him about 90 minutes by carriage to commute to work in Lower Manhattan.

After Hamilton’s death, Elizabeth owned the house until 1833. The Grange was later acquired by St. Luke’s Church in 1889, the same year the church moved the entire house from West 143rd Street to West 141st Street and Convent Avenue. The church also used The Grange as a temporary chapel, according to the NPS.

In 1924, the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society acquired The Grange, with the mission of re-establishing it as a historic site and museum, according to the NPS. But almost four decades later, in 1962, the house changed hands again. This time, the NPS took control of the house, and the U.S. Congress named it the Hamilton Grange as a National Memorial, according to the NPS.

In 2008, the NPS moved the house to its third location at St. Nicholas Park in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood of Harlem. The public can visit The Grange for a free NPS tour, where guides delve into the life of Hamilton and his family, showing artifacts such as a silver wine cooler given to Hamilton by George Washington.

Original article on Live Science.

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