Hamilton sites (United States/Caribbean)

With the resurgence of interest in Alexander Hamilton, thanks to the popular Hamilton the Musical’s recent release on Disney+, many families would like to plan trips to take their little Hamilfan to Hamilton-related sites.  While extensive travel may be curtailed due to the current pandemic, staycations or all-American road trips are still allowed (of course, abide by all federal, state, and local rules and regulations). 

Take a look at this comprehensive list of Hamilton sites that may be nearby and add one to your road trip!  Many of the sites also have virtual tours so if you aren’t hitting the road this summer, you can still “see” the Hamilton fun.  As always, be sure to check each individual historical site’s own website for the latest on closures and/or reopening.

Virginia

While Hamilton didn’t spend much time here, his relationship with the Virginian founding fathers means that there is a lot of Hamiltonian history in the commonwealth!

  • Yorktown: A must-see site for any Hamilton fan is the place where “the world turned upside down.”  In Virginia’s Historic Triangle, Yorktown’s battlefield is where you can stand in the very spot where Hamilton’s troops took the bullets out of their guns and defeated the British (check out the video tour here).  While the National Park Service visitor center/museum is still closed due to COVID, you can download the new Yorktown Tour Guide app for a GPS-enabled driving tour of the battlefield, which is open.  Don’t miss the outstanding American Revolution Museum at Yorktown before you leave! 

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  • Monticello: Home of Hamilton’s political enemy, Thomas Jefferson, Monticello has also reopened and has a great online interactive Hamilton-themed tour of the estate.  Your kids will love hearing about how Jefferson liked to keep a bust of Hamilton opposite his own.

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  • Montpelier: Home to Jefferson’s friend turned political enemy, James Madison, Montpelier is a great place to learn more about Hamilton and Madison’s partnership in writing The Federalist Papers.  The house and grounds are open for tours.

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  • Highland: Home to James Monroe, our nation’s 5th President, Hamilton never visited Highland and Monroe is not a character in the musical.  However, in reality, Monroe was one of the 3 Members of Congress to confront Hamilton about the Reynolds payments.  Eliza never forgave Monroe for his involvement, even decades later.  Highland is currently still closed due to the pandemic but you can take an online virtual tour here.

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Washington, DC

Hamilton was no longer in the Presidential cabinet when the capital moved from Philadelphia to Washington, DC in 1800.  However, there are a few Hamilton-related sites to see here (see this article for even more!).

  • Statue of Alexander Hamilton in front of the Treasury building: Located beside the White House and behind fencing, this statue resides at the “home that Hamilton built.”

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  • National Archives: Step into the National Archives building to see the original US Constitution, signed by Alexander Hamilton (currently closed due to COVID – see online version here).

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Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania was Hamilton’s home during his time as Secretary of the Treasury and was the site of several of his misfortunes, including his near-death experience from yellow fever and the Reynolds scandal.

  • Valley Forge: The site of Washington’s winter camp in 1777-78, Hamilton would have worked in Washington’s quaint rock home as his “right-hand man.”  You can usually tour the home but it is currently closed due to COVID.  The grounds are quite extensive and beautiful, perfect for a socially-distanced hike or bike.
  • Washington Crossing Historic Park: Hamilton was part of Washington’s daring crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night in 1776.  The outside spaces at the park are open.
  • Philadelphia: Serving as the site of the Constitutional Convention and the nation’s capital, beginning in 1790, there are many Hamilton sites here!  Check out this great article for even more sites to visit.
    • Independence Hall: Site of the Constitutional Convention, where Hamilton did indeed talk for 6 hours, this building is one of the most revered in American history.  It is also where the Declaration of Independence was debated and signed.  While the building is currently closed, you can view the gorgeous exterior and walk around some of the most revered blocks in American history. IMG_4678
    • 226 Walnut Street and/or 79 South Third Street: While Hamilton’s home is no longer standing, this is the location where Eliza and Alexander lived while he was Secretary of the Treasury (and where Maria Reynolds visited!).  Ron Chernow’s book lists the South Third Street location, which is where the Museum of the American Revolution now sits.  Both addresses are within a block of each other.
    • Museum of the American Revolution: One of the best museums on Revolutionary War history, it is still closed due to the pandemic.  However, you can take a virtual tour and explore the past “Hamilton was Here” exhibit.  The museum also has a great virtual walking tour of Hamilton sites in Philly.IMG_4733
    • National Constitution Center: Currently closed, this museum is dedicated to exhibits on the US Constitution, including Signers Hall where you can see true-to-life statues of Hamilton, Washington, and Madison.  You can also take a virtual tour of last year’s Hamilton exhibit.
    • Hamilton walking tour app: Don’t miss any of the Hamilton sites in Philadelphia with this app!

New Jersey

This state is the site of several of Hamilton’s important military achievements and where he fell in love with Eliza.  See more about the extensive sites in this article.

  • Sandy Hook Lighthouse: This is where Hamilton first led troops into battle against the British in June 1776.  The beach is open but the interior of the lighthouse remains closed.
  • Trenton: After crossing the Delaware with Washington’s army, Hamilton participated in the Battle of Trenton.  Nearby Hamilton Township likely gets its name from him!  Check out the Old Barracks Museum, the Battle of Trenton Monument, and Mill Hill Park (monument and park open currently, museum open by reservation).
  • Princeton: Hamilton was with Washington’s army at the Battle of Princeton in 1777.  You can visit the Princeton Battlefield State Park (open).  It was after the Battle of Princeton that Hamilton was asked to be on Washington’s staff.
  • Morristown: You can visit the site where Alexander fell in love with Eliza at a winter’s ball.  Washington’s headquarters and the visitor center are closed but the grounds are open.  You can even stroll by the Schuyler/Hamilton house in town where Alexander courted Eliza (inside of home is still closed)!
  • Monmouth Courthouse: This is the site of the infamous “Attack, retreat!” by the Charles Lee-led Continental troops in 1778.  You can visit the Monmouth Battle Monument in the town of Freehold.
  • Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park: Founded as an industrial community by Hamilton in 1792, the grounds are currently open for visitors.
  • Weehawken: Hamilton met his final demise here in a duel with Aaron Burr, overlooking the city he helped to build.  It’s now named Hamilton Park and you can purportedly see the very boulder on which Hamilton rested his head after being shot.

New York

The State of New York contains some of the most important sites in Hamilton’s short life.

  • Schuyler Mansion in Albany: Currently closed, this home upstate is where Eliza and Alexander wed in 1780.  This is a great video tour of the home since we can’t visit inside right now!
  • Schuyler house at Saratoga: This is the home where Philip Schuyler welcomed his son-in-law, Alexander, and daughter, Eliza, along with other politicians and dignitaries.  The home is currently closed due to the pandemic but you can visit the grounds and the nearby battlefield.
  • New York City is where Hamilton settled after arriving from the Caribbean, and it remained his home until his death.  “The Greatest City in the World” served briefly as the new nation’s capital and is where the Federal government began.  One of the best ways to see many of the sites in NYC is to participate in a Hamilton-themed tour, such as Hamilton’s New York.  See this article for even more sites!  Sites in NYC include (all currently closed for the pandemic):
    • Hamilton Grange: The home “uptown” that Hamilton built shortly before his death, although it has been moved twice since he built it.  Check out this video tour while it is currently closed.
    • Trinity Church Wall Street: This is the church that Hamilton attended and where he is buried, along with Eliza, Angelica, Philip, and Hercules Mulligan.  Check out this fascinating video tour of the church and its many connections to Hamilton! 
    • Federal Hall on Wall Street: It is the site (not the original building) where the new Federal government took shape, including the Executive branch offices (including Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton).
    • Fraunces Tavern: This is where many Revolutionary events took place, including George Washington’s farewell to the troops (which Hamilton did not attend).
    • Museum of American Finance: While it sounds pretty boring, this museum is a great place to learn more about our financial system.  And it’s located on the site of the original Hamilton-founded Bank of New York.
    • The Battery: This is the site of Hamilton’s defense from a British attack in 1776 that left several of his men dead from an exploding cannon.
    • Hamilton homes/offices: While none of the original buildings are still standing, you can still visit the addresses.  However, the vast concrete canyons of modern New York make these addresses feel a bit hollow.
      • 58 Wall Street-now 57 Wall Street (where the Hamiltons lived for 10 years)
      • 54 Cedar Street (where Hamilton spent his last night on earth)
      • Bayard mansion-now 82 Jane Street (where Hamilton died after his duel with Aaron Burr)

Caribbean

As you probably know, Hamilton was not born in what would become the United States of America.  He was born on the Caribbean island of Nevis, where you can visit his birthplace – now part of the Nevis Historical and Conservation Society as the Alexander Hamilton Museum. 

Alexander spent the formative years of his youth on St. Croix, where you can take a self-guided tour of the important Hamilton sites, including Christiansted.  

All of these sites are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Once travel restrictions are lifted, these sites would make a great addition to a Caribbean vacation.

Books to Read:

Here is a link to my favorite Hamilton books for kids, teens, and adults.  Bookshop.org is an Amazon alternative that supports independent bookstores.  This link is an affiliate link where I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

What’s your favorite Hamilton site or book?  Comment below!

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