Following Alexander Hamilton’s Footsteps in Albany, NY

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The Hamilton phenomenon is more than breaking records on Broadway and changing the face of the Great White Way, but it’s also reminding history buffs like me that we have a great and storied past to explore, often in our own backyards. As a child and an adult, I’ve been to Gettysburg, Williamsburg, St. Augustine, but I’ve forgotten that we have history from the same time right here in New York. In fact, much of our national Revolutionary War history took place in New York, from the battles to the newly formed government. This is especially true here in the capital region, near where I live.

Hamilton, the musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, the country’s first treasury secretary, the first political sex scandal, a man murdered by the Vice President of the United States.

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1 of 4 remaining smaller versions of a statue that stood on Wall Street in Manhattan.

Alexander Hamilton, who made New York his adopted home, who was married in Albany and spent summers there with his family, Chief of Staff to George Washington, traveling everywhere with him has made a resurgence in the Albany Capital Region (among other places including cementing his face on the ten dollar bill).
I’m a history buff, living in the heart of it, and I missed all of this in school; or I’d forgotten it. I don’t know which.

Lucky for us, however, sites in the area have jumped on the Hamilbandwagon and have set up special tours and exhibits. I recently went on a new tour at the Schuyler Mansion: “When Alexander Hamilton Called Albany Home.”

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The front of the Schuyler Mansion. The porch and vestibule pictured were not there during the Schuylers' time in the house, but was kept during the restoration because of the renown of the architect.

The Schuyler Mansion is the home of Hamilton’s in-laws, Phillip and Catherine Schuyler, Catherine herself a member of the equally impressive Van Rensselaer family. It is also the place where Alexander married his dear Eliza, a small room about the size of my own living room in the magnificent expansive English manor house.

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The Room Where it Happened. Alexander wed Elizabeth Schuyler in this room in front of a small group of family and friends.

A smaller room off the second hall served as a study for General Schuyler and was where Hamilton and Aaron Burr pored over legal texts when they worked together on a case. I have to admit, with the colorful green and the writing desk and books and maps, this was probably my favorite room and one I wouldn’t mind spending some time in behind the velvet rope.

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Study where Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr looked over General Schuyler's massive book collection for their work as lawyers.

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Those are actual books belonging to Phillip Schuyler.

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In a recent article in the Albany Times-Union, a trifecta of Hamilton events were highlighted and the ones I’d like to share with you here today.

Put together by the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, it includes information on the tour at the Schuyler Mansion that I mentioned earlier. Reservations are required and can be made by calling 518-434-0834 or visiting their website for more information.

The second part is a Free Walking Tour. Go to their website and download the PDF. This is the next item on my to-do list for this summer.

The third is an exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art titled, “Spotlight: Alexander Hamilton. Their information can be found at their website or by telephone at 518-463-4478.

Hamilton isn’t the only history to explore in this area. I hope to bring you a few more as the week progresses.

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