Hamilton Grange National Memorial: Grand Re-Opening on September 17, 2011

By: Dylan Rodgers

What do you know about Alexander Hamilton?  That he was one of the Founding Fathers?

-Absolutely, everyone can agree to that.

How about the fact that he is on the Ten Dollar BIll?

-Sure, why not?

Did you know he was a member of congress who was killed in a duel over comments he made about a presidential candidate?

-O.K., that one's new.

I will admit that I didn't know much about Alexander Hamilton until I did some research for this post.  I was unsure about his role in the making of our Constitution, other than his laying down his famous signature.  In truth, he was an economist/politician/philosopher/author and just all-around interesting.

Alexander Hamilton was crucial in the creation of America's new Constitution after the Revolutionary War.  He helped construct the foundation of understanding behind the Constitution, by writing essays explaining what the constitution meant and why uniting the territories under a common goal was important.  The Federalist Papers, of which Hamilton authored 52 of the 85, are key to understanding the Constitution in context.

I am personally impressed with Hamilton's writing in the Federalist Papers.  It is eloquent and direct, like Emerson without the playfully sharp wit.  Much of his focus was put into the contrast of our Constitution and the British Imperial government, always fixed on united, sovereign states being a necessary structure for democracy and civil rights.

Alexander Hamilton commissioned John McComb Jr. to help design his Federal style home on a huge 32 acre stretch of land in Harlem, NY that was completed by 1802 and named "The Grange." He had only lived there two years when he was struck with a fatal blow in a duel with his political rival Aaron Burr.

The Grange was moved to the edge of Saint Nicholas Park so that the public can fully appreciate the fascinating home that Alexander Hamilton himself helped design.  The fact that it is still intact after 203 years, dismisses any question as to the beauty in its structural integrity to say the least.

The Grange is currently not open because of the second phase of its restoration process, but it is scheduled to reopen on September 17th of this year.  The entire building will be open to public viewing.  Once it does open, it will serve as a viewing glass into the life of a man who was integral to the understanding of the original American Dream.

Photo: Wally Gobetz