“There are moments
that the words don’t reach
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable
They are standing in the garden
Alexander by Eliza’s side
She takes his hand
It’s quiet uptown”
- From ‘Hamilton‘ Lyrics by Lin Manuel Miranda from the song ‘It’s Quiet Uptown’
On September 16, 1776, The Battle of Harlem Heights featured George Washington leading 2,000 soldiers against 5,000 British, led by General William Howe. 30 Americans lost their lives and 100 were wounded. The British suffered 90 deaths and 300 wounded. The battle was Washington’s first victory during the Revolution and boosted American morale.
Included under Washington’s leadership was Captain Alexander Hamilton. The Battle took place roughly a mile away (Present Day Morningside Park) from Hamilton Grange. It is conceivable the idea was planted into Hamilton’s mind to live in the area someday occurred during the month of September in 1776.
In 1800, Hamilton purchased 18 acres from pharmacist Jacob Schieffelin and an adjoining 22 acres physician Samuel Bradhurst. His home was completed in 1802 and had views of the Harlem River and Hudson River. Included on the property was a duck pond, and yes, a garden.
As Harlem grew, so did the buildings around Hamilton’s Home. Sandwiched between a church and an apartment building, Hamilton Grange was neglected and overlooked. In 2008, The National Parks Department moved the house 250 feet to where it stands today at 414 West 141st st. The former residence doesn’t have the views it once did, but for history lovers like myself, it’s exciting to walk on the boards where Hamilton stepped and see the home he envisioned would be the place where he and Elizabeth could find peace and quiet.
We all know he didn’t get the quiet moments he coveted for himself and his family. On July 12th, the day after Alexander Hamilton’s duel with Aaron Burr, Alexander left Elizabeth behind and their 5 children. Elizabeth remained in the house until 1848, when she moved to Washington D.C to reside with her daughter Eliza.
The basement of the home provides visitors with a movie detailing Alexander Hamilton’s life and a small museum includes artifacts and a timetable of important events. Guided tours are offered 3 times a day at 10 am, 11 am, and 2 pm and last 30 to 45 minutes. Self-guided tours are between 12 – 1 and 3 – 4. The visitor center is open from 9 am to 5 pm year-round except on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Admission is free.
If you’re with kids, don’t forget to pick up a Junior Park Ranger booklet from the Rangers. Once complete, the kids will receive a Junior Park Ranger badge.
Getting There: There is no parking lot, but I usually have success in that area finding street parking. By subway, take the 1 train to the West 137th Street stop on Broadway and go North to 141st Street and make a right. Walk East towards Hamilton Terrace. For the A, B, C, or D train, get off at West 145th Street stop on St. Nicholas Avenue. Go south to 141st Street. Make a right onto 141st Street and head west one block to Hamilton Terrace
For more information on Hamilton Grange, click here.
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