photo by: Victor Jolyot/Flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0

February 17, 2016

"Where" Tells Your Story: A Hamilton Tour, Act Two

"Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?" may be the final line of the hit musical "Hamilton," but preservationists know that sometimes who tells your story isn't, in fact, a who, but a where.

Earlier this week, we highlighted the places from Act One of the Broadway hit "Hamilton" that tell the story of the "ten-dollar founding father without a father." We pick up our pilgrimage with the locations referenced in Act Two, as A.Ham continues to rise up in American politics and make enemies along the way.

"What'd I Miss?"

France is following us to Revolution
There is no more status quo
But the sun comes up and the world still spins
I helped Lafayette draft a declaration
Then I said 'I gotta go
I gotta be in Monticello.' Now the work at
Home begins...

West front of Monticello

photo by: Ric Barrick, City of Charlottesville

Thomas Jefferson's Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Monticello—Charlottesville, Virginia

Thomas Jefferson's home sweet home in Virginia may not have been a favored spot of Alexander Hamilton himself, but it is certainly one of the important structures of the period. Hopefully you'll get a chance to spend more time there than Jefferson who spent most of his time in France or the nation's capital (wherever it was at the time) than he did at home: I just got home and now I'm headed up to New York.

Daily tickets are available year-round to visit the house and the grounds. Make sure to check out the great tours that are offered there, including a look at the Hemings family life at Monticello.

"Cabinet Battle #1 & #2"

Ladies and gentlemen,
you coulda been anywhere in the world tonight,
but you're here with us in New York City.
Are you ready for a cabinet meeting???

Federal Hall—New York City

Known as the Birthplace of American Government, Federal Hall was the site of the original cabinet meetings. You can visit the interior of Federal Hall Monday through Friday (for free!) The front steps and the statue of George Washington (pictured in the image at the top of the story) are always available to the public and, if you felt so inclined, it wouldn't be terribly inappropriate to relive the cabinet battles on those steps.

Plaque dedicated to the original spot of Thomas Jefferson's NYC residence, aka "The Room Where It Happened" in Broadway's "Hamilton."

A plaque (along with National Trust staffer Priya Chhaya) commemorates Thomas Jefferson's former residence at 57 Maiden Lane in New York City.

"The Room Where It Happens"

My God!
In God we trust
But we'll never really know what got discussed
Click-boom then it happened
And no one was in the room where it happened

Jefferson's Residence, 57 Maiden Lane—New York City

Like Aaron Burr, we'll never have a chance to be in the room where it happened. Jefferson's New York City residence was the setting for the infamous "Dinner Table Bargain" on 1790 which aligned the interests of Hamilton, Jefferson, and Madison. The house has long since been demolished but there is a plaque, erected in 1929, that you can visit.

View of Mount Vernon from across the grounds

photo by: Sarah Heffern

George Washington's Mount Vernon in Mount Vernon, Virginia.

"One Last Time"

I wanna sit under my own vine and fig tree
A moment alone in the shade
At home in this nation we've made
One last time

Mount Vernon—Mount Vernon, Virginia

One of George Washington's greatest acts was stepping down from the presidency when, "after forty-five years...dedicated to [the nation's] service with an upright zeal," the venerated Virginian veteran retired to his ancestral home at Mount Vernon. The estate is open daily and includes a distillery where you can relax and have a drink with George.

View of Hamilton Grange

photo by: Paterson Great Falls/Flickr/CC by ND 2.0

Hamilton Grange in New York City.

"It's Quiet Uptown"

The Hamiltons move uptown
And learn to live with the unimaginable

Hamilton Grange—New York City

Completed in 1802, Hamilton Grange became a haven of silence for Alexander and Eliza after the death of their son Philip. The house was moved in 2008 after the neighborhood around it grew and restricted restoration efforts. In its new location, the house is closer to the atmosphere that the Hamiltons enjoyed for their brief period here together.

"Your Obedient Servant/The World Was Wide Enough"

Then stand, Alexander.
Weehawken. Dawn.
Guns drawn.
You're on.

Weehawken Dueling Ground—Weehawken, New Jersey

After thirty years of disagreements (we'll avoid the itemized list), Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel at Weehawken, across the river in Jersey (everything is legal in New Jersey...). The Burr-Hamilton duel is the most famous and controversial duel to be held here. Look for the bust of Hamilton when you visit to find the approximate spot where the duel happened. When you visit the dueling ground, make sure to get a glimpse of the stone at the base of the monument where it is said that Hamilton, mortally wounded, rested after being shot by Burr.

If you want to see the dueling pistols used by Hamilton and Burr in their duel, head to JP Morgan Chase Headquarters in New York City.

Sign at Weehawken Dueling Ground commemorating Hamilton-Burr duel

photo by: Billy Hathorn/Wikimedia Commons/CC by SA 3.0

Exterior angle of Trinity Church on Wall Street, NYC, where Alexander Hamilton is buried.

Trinity Church on Wall Street in New York City is the final resting place of Alexander Hamilton, Angelica Schuyler, and Eliza Schuyler Hamilton.

"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story"

Every other founding father story gets told
Every other founding father gets to grow old
But when you're gone, who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story?

Trinity Church—New York City

Buried beneath an elaborate monument at Trinity Church, Alexander Hamilton lies near his wife Eliza and her sister Angelica. Even though "His enemies destroyed him, America forgot him," his legacy lived on through the work of Eliza, who outlived him by fifty years. She fought fiercely to honor his memory, collecting stories of his life, documenting his writings, and establishing the first private orphanage in New York City.

Eliza not only worked to preserve her husband's memory, but that of George Washington by raising funds to create the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

Kirsten Hower is part of the National Trust’s social media team. When she’s not helping save places, she’s using social media to help stop art crime.


Announcing the 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

See the List