The history of Hamilton and several Founding Father's New York holds many stories. As one of the oldest European-founded cities in North America, it is a great place to see important places for revolutionary American history. A former base of the British in the New World, it became the headquarters of the Crown Forces in the Revolutionary War. Avid musical fans will recall that New York City was also the capital of the nascent USA before it "was traded down the river" by Alexander Hamilton in a shrewd negotiation with James Madison and Thomas Jefferson. Journey with your guide through history to see places where, if events had turned out differently, the USA you know today would not exist (dare we mention "the room where it [may have] happened"?).
- Walk where slaves were punished and liberty poles put up in City Hall Park
- See George Washington’s pew in St Paul’s Chapel
- Spend time where the Bill of Rights was written at the Federal Hall National Memorial
- Visit Alexander Hamilton’s grave at Trinity Church
- Stop by the original national banks and learn about Hamilton's role in establishing the US credit system
- See where a mob tore down George III on Bowling Green
- Experience the feelings of a successful revolution at Fraunces Tavern Museum where you can imagine revolutionary brothers making declarations about "not throwing away their shots"
- Learn about how the British left New York in Battery Park
A New Nation
Outside New York City Hall is City Hall Park. Now a common meeting place for the city’s inhabitants, it was historically the site of brutality: slaves suspected of starting fires in 1741 were burnt alive here. 25 years later, the first of five liberty poles were erected. Ten years later—though in the same spot, the Declaration of Independence was read aloud to George Washington and the Continental Army. Hear your guide tell you the history of the place before you set off together down Broadway to St Paul’s Chapel.
Built in 1766, and with King George III’s coat of arms still present on the balcony, this Episcopalian chapel is done in a Georgian architectural style. The place where George Washington worshipped after his inauguration, his pew is still there beneath an 18th century painting of the Great Seal of the United States.
Stepping through the Past
Moving towards Federal Hall and Trinity Church, your guide will tell you about the role that New York played during the Revolutionary War. As you walk through streets of lower Manhattan that burnt down following the retreat of Continental troops— an event which remains slightly controversial to this day— you will learn how Washington tried to prevent the British taking the city in 1776, escaping disaster across the East River in Brooklyn before being forced to retreat from Manhattan.
While the place is now covered by the marble Federal Hall National Memorial, your guide will be able to help you imagine the building it replaced. As the original Capitol Building of the USA, it hosted the Stamp Act Congress of 1765, the Continental Congress and the First Congress, including the writing of the Bill of Rights. From there, it is a short walk to Trinity Church where George Washington was a regular worshipper. Be sure to venture to the left of the church to see the grave of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton; a man who played a key role in America’s economic path and is the namesake of the 11 Tony Award winning Broadway musical.
Into the City’s Historic Heart
Passing the site of the Alexander MacComb House, the second presidential mansion of the USA where George Washington lived in 1790, your guide will take you into the heart of the New York Financial District; and the old colonial city. Stopping at Bowling Green, your guide will talk about how, in 1776, a crowd tore down a statue of George III to covert it into bullets for the Continental Army— leaving marks which can still be seen today. Walking within the heart of the old Dutch City, you will also venture down Broad Street – built on the site of a filled-in Dutch canal – to Fraunces Tavern where George Washington dismissed his officers in 1783.
As you near the southern tip of Manhattan, your guide will take you past the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House and tell you the story of Fort George (known as Fort Amsterdam before 1664), which used to stand on the site. Lastly, you will visit Battery Park, which played host to the British Army's 'Evacuation Day' of 1783 as the "world turned upside down."