My running club offered a history-themed run on one of its usual Saturday runs. It was led by a fellow club member on his own initiative. He proposed it on our FB discussion page and it was wildly supported by us, so he created an Alexander Hamilton themed run because of the musical’s extraordinary popularity. So while I’m not able to get tickets to see Hamilton, I got to see the places where he roamed during his time on earth. This took place way back on Nov 12th, but I’m only getting around to it now.
Ben and I messed up a little at the beginning. We actually showed up to the wrong Trinity Church. We accidentally went to St. Paul (of Trinity Church), which was the third stop. When I wondered why no one else was there, I looked at the directions and belatedly realized that we had to be at the other Trinity Church. Luckily the two churches are only a quarter mile apart.
The first Trinity Church is where Alexander Hamilton is buried, kinda funny to start with the site of one’s burial, but what can you do about it? I showed up to the run wearing InknBurn’s yoga pants that look like jeans. My friends asked incredulously if I was wearing jeans because they really do look like jeans. Next thing I knew, I was being felt up by several hands who had to touch to verify that it really was technical material.
The first three stops we all stayed together as a group because the stops were close together. Once we got to the West Side Highway, we broke up naturally into different pace groups. It was a nice brisk day and I was happy to be out and running. I felt a little differently once we got to Columbia University because 1) I was feeling hungry, 2) I was tired, and 3) OMG, the HILLS! Everending incline. I thought we would never get to The Grange, Hamilton’s home.
The Grange is a pretty cool museum (not to be confused with a restaurant with the same name) that’s a National Park Service Site. It’s absolutely free to visit. There’s a permanent exhibit about Hamilton’s life and history. I learned that calling someone, “You puppy!” was a major insult back then. (Bandit disagrees and thinks this is very species-ist.)
The total run was about 10 miles, although all of our Garmin watches gave wildly different distances because the GPS signal freaked out when we were in downtown. Great history run and I hope PPTC hosts another history run.
Below is the description of our stops (lightly edited for length and grammar).
- Trinity Church is an Episcopal parish dating back to 1696. In 1696 a small group of Anglicans (members of the Church of England) petitioned the Royal Governor Benjamin Fletcher of New York, then a mercantile colony, for a charter granting the church legal status. The parish received its charter from King William III on May 6, 1697 and was built in 1698. During the American Revolutionary War the city became the British military and political base of operations in North America, following the departure of General George Washington and the Continental Army shortly after Battle of Long Island and subsequent local defeats. The church was destroyed in the Great New York City Fire of 1776 that started in the Fighting Cocks Tavern, destroying nearly 400 to 500 buildings and houses and leaving thousands of New Yorkers homeless. Construction on the second Trinity Church building began in 1788; it was consecrated in 1790. President Washington and members of his government often worshiped at this church. Additional parishioners were John Jay and of course….A. Ham aka ALEXANDER HAMILTON!!! The church was torn down after being weakened by severe snowstorms during the winter of 1838–39. The construction for the third and current Trinity Church began in 1839 and was finished in 1846. During the September 11, 2001 attacks, as the 1st Tower collapsed, people took refuge from the massive debris cloud inside the church. The church is surrounded by burial grounds, where ALEXANDER HAMILTON, William Bradford, Franklin Wharton, Robert Fulton, Captain James Lawrence and Albert Gallatin are buried.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which is one of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks of the United States. Alexander Hamilton spearheaded a movement advocating the creation of a central bank, the First Bank of the United States was established in 1791 located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- St Paul’s Chapel, built in 1766, is a chapel of the Parish of Trinity Church, and at the time of its erection, was the tallest building in New York City. St Paul’s is also the location of George Washington’s inauguration in 1789. The Hearts of Oak, a militia unit organized early in the American Revolutionary War, and comprised in part of King’s College (later, Columbia University) students, would drill in the Chapel’s yard before classes nearby. Alexander Hamilton was an officer of this unit. After the attack on September 11, 2001, St. Paul’s Chapel served as a place of rest and refuge for recovery workers at the WTC site.
- Look across the Hudson River at Weehawken, NJ when passing the Intrepid Museum on the West Side Highway. This is the location of Hamilton’s death when he lost in a duel with Aaron Burr.
- Columbia University was once known as King’s College and was where Alexander Hamilton attended school.
- The final stop was Hamilton Grange. Hamilton Grange National Memorial preserves the home of founding father Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton commissioned architect John McComb, Jr. to design a Federal-style country home on a 32-acre estate in upper Manhattan. This house was completed in 1802 and named “The Grange” after his father’s ancestral home in Scotland.