overview

Founding Father Alexander Hamilton lived in this house – which was built for him and his family in 1802 – until his death in 1804, though the house has since been relocated twice.

As a young aide-de-camp to George Washington, Hamilton wrote a series of passionate letters to fellow soldier John Laurens.

Header Photo

Credit: Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2016.

On the Map

 
Photo Above

Engraving of Alexander Hamilton (1835) by John F.E. Prud'homme. Source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

History

Although known as something of a womanizer, during the Revolutionary War, while both served as aides-de-camp to George Washington, Alexander Hamilton (1755 or 1757-1804) had a highly eroticized relationship with John Laurens (1754-1782) of South Carolina. This is evident primarily from a series of passionate letters written by Hamilton between 1779 and 1782.

“I wish, my Dear Laurens, it might be in my power, by action rather than words, [to] convince you that I love you. I shall only tell you that ‘til you bade us Adieu, I hardly knew the value you had taught my heart to set upon you.”
Alexander Hamilton, April 1779 to John Laurens

And later that year, he refers to himself as “a jealous lover” when Laurens fails to answer his letters. These letters have been dismissed as no more than literary flourish, although Hamilton’s executor saw fit to censor portions of them. As William Benemann states in his book Male-Male Intimacy in Early America, “There is no irrefutable proof that Laurens and Hamilton were lovers, but there is sufficient circumstantial evidence to render indefensible any unqualified pronouncement that they were not.” (pp. xxi-xxiii)

Hamilton Grange is the major surviving location in New York City associated with Hamilton. The elegant Federal style house was built for him and his family in 1801-02 and he lived there until his death in 1804. Since that time, the house has been moved twice, though always remaining on land that originally belonged to Hamilton. In 1889, it was relocated 250 feet from its hilltop location to a plot of land next to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church at 435 West 141st Street. Over time its porches were removed, but it was made a National Memorial in 1962.

In 2008, the house was moved to its current site in St. Nicholas Park and was restored over the course of several years by the National Park Service.

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