Home of a Founding Father or National Treasure
West Harlem is the only community in the northeast that is home to two national memorials — Ulysses S. Grant National Memorial Park (see Riverside Park) and Alexander Hamilton’s Hamilton Grange. The Grange, which was named for Hamilton’s ancestral estate in Scotland, was his country home, designed by John McComb Jr., and originally sat on Hamilton’s 32-acre estate-the house was erected on what is now 143rd Street. Hamilton was one of our Founding Fathers and the first Secretary of the Treasury. The two-story Federal-style frame house was completed in 1802, just two years before his death in a duel with Aaron Burr, another Founding Father, and the nation’s third Vice President. The Grange was moved four blocks west to Convent Avenue in 1889. The original porches and other features were removed for the move. The staircase was removed and retrofitted to accommodate a makeshift entrance on the side of the house and the original grand Federal-style entrance was boarded up. To make room for the development of a row house community, the developer gave the Grange to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, which in 1885 erected its landmark church at 141st Street and Convent Avenue after moving uptown from Greenwich Village. The Grange was wedged between the church and an apartment building which obscured its original beauty. It was purchased by the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society in 1924, opened to the public nine years later, and donated to the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1962. In 1960 the property was designated a National Historic Landmark and in 1967 it was designated a New York City landmark. It was moved inside St. Nicholas Park (still inside the boundaries of Hamilton’s original estate) in 2008, which allows it to be returned to its former glory with the original porches, main entrance doorway, and main staircase. When it reopens some time in 2011, the public will again be allowed to enjoy guided tours inside the national landmark.
Checkout the statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church before going into The City College (CCNY) of the City University of New York. Here you will find the most beautiful Collegiate Gothic-designed buildings in New York City.
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Posted by Max on 13th Jan 2012
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