For over seven decades, Alexander Hamilton statue had sentineled the entry to The Grange, the former rural estate of its namesake. Hamilton had built the house on Harlem Heights in 1802. But barely two years later, on July 11, 1804, his political rival Aaron Burr dispatched him with a pistol shot during a duel that remains famous to this day.
Hamilton Grange Relocated
In 1889, The Grange gave way to imminent development on West 143rd Street. The wood-framed Federal-style manse was relocated two blocks south to a location on Convent Avenue near West 141st Street. It sat shouldered between two stone buildings for more than a century.
In June 2008, the National Park Service relocated Hamilton’s house again (by now called the Hamilton Grange National Memorial), this time around the corner to West 141st Street between Convent- and St. Nicholas Avenues to a more sylvan setting in St. Nicholas Park.
But Hamilton’s statue was left behind. His heroic likeness now looms above a fence that bounds the vacated lot where his homestead had stood. It has its own story to tell.
Alexander Hamilton Statue
In 1892 the Hamilton Club in Brooklyn, a literary society that fostered public libraries, wanted something impressive to mark the entrance of its lodge on Clinton Street in Brooklyn Heights. The club looked to one of the most distinguished American sculptors of the day to create a sculpture of its namesake: William Ordway Partridge (1861-1930).
Partridge was then living in Paris. He accepted the Hamilton Club’s commission on a condition: he wanted first to exhibit a model of the statue in Chicago. Indeed, it was in Chicago, at the legendary “White City” of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, that Partridge unveiled Hamilton and some other works in plaster form.
On October 4, 1893, Partridge followed his Chicago presentation by unveiling the bronze version of his Alexander Hamilton statue in front of the Hamilton Club in Brooklyn. When the club honored Hamilton’s birthday on January 11, 1896, keynote speakers Booker T. Washington and Woodrow Wilson passed by the heroic monument. The statue stood there until the club closed forty years later.
In 1936, the Hamilton statue relocated to Convent Avenue in Harlem’s Hamilton Heights, where it stands today.