Hamilton Grange was the home of Alexander Hamilton, who was the first United States Secretary of the Treasury, a Founding Father, and a political philosopher.
Alexander Hamilton commissioned architect John McComb Jr. to design a Federal style country home on a sprawling 32 acre estate in upper Manhattan. This house was completed in 1802, just two years before Hamilton’s death, and was named “The Grange” after the Hamilton family’s ancestral home in Scotland. The house remained in the family until 1833. Since that time, the Grange has been moved two times, in 1889 to its location at 287 Convent Avenue and most recently to its new home in nearby St. Nicholas Park. The National Park Service manages the site as a National Memorial.
In 2005, The Grange was 250 feet from its original home and hemmed in on three sides by adjacent buildings. Stripped of its porches, with its interior heavily modified, the Grange was far from the “sweet project” that Hamilton envisioned in 1802 – a rural retreat overlooking his New York. A new location was found one block away: St. Nicholas Park, the bucolic refuge at the heart of the vibrant Hamilton Heights community, and part of Hamilton’s original estate. Historic Preservation firm John G. Waite Associates, Architects spent three years investigating the original building fabric, searching for clues of its original appearance and ensuring that the move, new systems, and accessibility features would cause minimal damage to the house. JGWA designed the move and oversaw the construction of a new cellar and basement for mechanical systems and exhibits.
The Grange was finally lifted over the adjacent church and then moved – no ordinary technical feat. It would take three more years to restore the house. JGWA prepared a Historic Furnishings Plan and then determined interior finishes and reproductions of Hamilton’s furniture. Lost interior and exterior features were reconstructed. JGWA also worked with graphic and exhibit designers to develop the basement displays.The use of recycled materials is inherent in preservation, and the Grange is no exception. Brownstone blocks from the 1889 basement were reused for the porch foundation. The 1970s porches were disassembled and reconfigured to recreate the historic porches. Energy- efficient fixtures light the exhibition and service spaces. On the exterior, roof runoff is collected and directed to newly landscaped areas of indigenous plants once found on Hamilton’s property.