Friday, Jan 20, 2012
New York, NY – Hamilton Grange National Memorial received a welcome visitor on Jan. 14 when “General Hamilton” himself visited the home for his 257th birthday celebration. Hamilton, portrayed by a living-history specialist, spent time upstairs in the historically-furnished areas of the home, gave a short address in the ground floor visitor center, and afterwards mingled and took questions.
Questions from guests covered topics ranging from his time as an aide-de-camp under Washington, to the articles of the Constitution, to his relationship with his children, to his education, and to his Federalist viewpoints. One bold visitor queried the General on his “dalliance” with a Mrs. Maria Reynolds, notable as it is considered the first scandal of its kind to tarnish a national political figure.
More than three times the normal number of visitors for a Saturday attended General Hamilton’s birthday celebration, the first special program since the site’s grand re-opening in September 2011. Though the normal 15-person capacity for the historically-furnished floor remained in effect, the open-house hours for self-guided tours were extended to accommodate the additional crowds.
“It was gratifying for us to see the turnout and the interest of so many people in the life and story of Alexander Hamilton,” said Shirley McKinney, superintendent of Hamilton Grange National Memorial. “We look forward to providing additional sometimes non-traditional programs to expand that interest.”
Notable attendees to the event included Tony and Grammy award-winning creator-composer-lyricist and Tony nominated actor Lin-Manuel Miranda. Miranda, a Washington Heights native, is currently working on a hip-hop chronicle of Hamilton’s life called “The Hamilton Mixtape.” He recently kicked off the new season of Lincoln Center’s “American Songbook” series with a preview performance of this work-in-progress. “The Hamilton Grange is a wonderful piece of living history, tucked away square in the middle of Uptown Manhattan,” Miranda said. “I would encourage anyone interested in the history of our amazing city to plan a visit. Happy birthday, Mr. Hamilton. You throw a swell party.”
Of the visit, “Hamilton” said, “I can’t tell you how lovely it is to visit my ‘sweet project.’ What the National Park Service has been able to do is so interesting for me.”
Referring to the new location of the Grange – its third, he said, “While it is certainly in a different aspect than perhaps I am used to, it is so charming, and so akin to its original setting.”