The Grange


Thomas Fleming opens his book Duel talking about Alexander Hamilton at the Grange:
”Alexander Hamilton welcomed the year 1804 at his country estate, The Grange, seven miles north of New York City, on the two hundred foot high ridge known as Harlem Heights.  Not long after he arose, a bone chilling rain began sluicing out of a gray sky.  The two story house, with its high porches and four rectangular chimneys (two of them fakes for symmetry), had been designed by John McComb, creator of New York’s City Hall and other distinguished buildings.  From the front porch, which faced south, there was a magnificent view of New York City, its immense harbor, and the mighty Atlantic beyond Sandy Hook.  Through the floor-to-ceiling bay windows of the elegant octagonal dining room there was an equally compelling view of the Harlem River valley, turbulent Hell Gate, and the swift-flowing East River.  From similar windows on the other side of the parlor, Hamilton surveyed the broad Hudson River and its majestic western bluffs, the Palisades.  Beyond stretched the vast American continent, peopled by a scant four million Americans and perhaps a million Indians.”


On the Sunday before his famous Duel with Aaron Burr, (two hundred years ago from yesterday) Alexander Hamilton played on the grass of the Grange with his children and wife Eliza, before returning to his Cedar Street townhouse on Monday, and traveling by boat (about where we are right now) to Weehawken on Wednesday.


The Hamilton Historical Society web site tells us that McComb also designed Gracie Mansion, the New York City Mayor’s residence. The Grange was built in 1802. In 1889, it was moved several hundred yards away to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  In 1924 JP Morgan purchased the house for the American Scenic and Historic Preservation Society. In 1962 Congress authorized purchase as a national memorial, and in 1988 Congress funded restoration.


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