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Feb 16 2017

Alexander Hamilton's Legacy Remains Strong In Philadelphia's Historic District

Visitors Can Go Beyond Broadway & Follow Hamilton’s Philadelphia Footsteps

Freedom fighter, statesman, financial genius, adulterer. Fans of the blockbuster hit Hamilton know some of the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, but there is plenty more to discover in Philadelphia’s Historic District. The new Museum of the American Revolution, opening on April 19, 2017, will offer a glimpse into the Hamilton-Washington bro-mance. A tale debuting this summer from the Once Upon A Nation storytellers will get to the root of the fatal Hamilton-Burr duel. And in Independence Hall, National Park Service rangers often regale visitors with accounts of heated debates Hamilton engaged in about the U.S. Constitution. Just beyond the district, the Tony-winner itself arrives in town as part of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Broadway Philadelphia, for a to-be-announced run in the 2018-2019 season.

Here are more sites where Hamilton shaped his—and America’s—legacy:

The Sites Of Hamilton’s Philadelphia Life:

  • When delegates gathered at Independence Hall for the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Hamilton was the only one of New York’s three delegates who signed the U.S. Constitution. Discussions were contentious but Hamilton, who authored the Federalist Papers, ultimately helped convince other delegates to support the Constitution. 520 Chestnut Street, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov
  • Built from 1795-1797 when Philadelphia was the U.S. capital, the First Bank was Hamilton’s solution to the problem of dealing with the nation’s enormous war debt. As Treasury Secretary, Hamilton also developed a standard currency to be used by all the states. Although the First Bank is not open for visitation, the classic architecture makes for stunning photos. 116 S. 3rd Street
  • In creating the Bank of the United States, Hamilton did what had never been done before: He created the first central bank not owned by a monarch. While construction of the First Bank building was underway, the newly created federal bank was housed in Carpenters’ Hall from 1794-1797. 320 Chestnut Street, (215) 925-0167 carpentershall.org
  • In 1792, Congress approved plans for the first U.S. Mint, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton’s brainchild. The modern descendant of the original Mint building features a video that outlines Hamilton’s role in creating the money-making facility. Free, self-guided tours take about 45 minutes to complete. 151 Independence Mall East, (215) 408-0114, usmint.gov
  • Although the home where Hamilton, his wife Eliza and their children lived is gone, a plaque marks the location where they rented a house circa 1790-1795. When Eliza was out of town, it was here that Hamilton engaged in a scandalous, career-ending affair with the very married Maria Reynolds. 226 Walnut Street
  • Living at 3rd & Walnut Streets, Hamilton was a frequent visitor of the Powel House, home of Elizabeth and Samuel Powel, one of Philadelphia’s most prominent colonial-era power couples. Tours mention Hamilton’s letter to his wife Eliza, in which he asked her if she had been taking her medicine and suggested she think of the advice that Mrs. Powel once gave her regarding her health. 244 S. 3rd Street, (215) 627-0364, philalandmarks.org
  • There was no love lost between Hamilton and Ben Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache. At The Aurora Print Shop, now the Franklin Print Shop, Bache railed against Hamilton and the other Federalists in his publications. 320 Market Street, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov
  • Among the many legendary heroes whose portraits hang in the Second Bank of the United States, the portrait of Alexander Hamilton that Charles Willson Peale painted circa 1790-1795 is a standout. The Parthenon-like building has been transformed into a portrait gallery of prominent citizens of the 18th and 19th century. 420 Chestnut Street, (215) 965-2305, nps.gov

For Even More Hamilton:

  • The young Captain Alexander Hamilton was a rising star in George Washington’s army and a key player in the Revolution. At the new Museum of the American Revolution, visitors can see Washington’s authentic Headquarters Tent, where the General, Hamilton and others plotted military strategies throughout the war. 101 S. 3rd Street, (215) 253-6731, amrevmuseum.org
  • The four pages that are the foundation of American government wouldn’t have come about without the influence of Alexander Hamilton. Life-size bronze statues of him and the other signers of the U.S. Constitution are on display at the National Constitution Center. 525 Arch Street, (215) 409-6600, constitutioncenter.org
  • A few minutes on Once Upon a Nation’s free storytelling bench near the Museum of the American Revolution will give visitors a glimpse into the complex relationship between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Washington favored Hamilton over Burr during the encampment at Valley Forge. The two rivals’ feud percolated to a high heat in Philadelphia before terminating in a fatal duel. Visitors can hear this tale and many others at 13 benches throughout the Historic District from Memorial Day through Labor Day. 3rd & Chestnut Streets, (215) 629-4026, historicphiladelphia.org
  • Hungry visitors can fuel up for a day of Hamilton sightseeing at The Little Lion restaurant, a casual-meets-upscale dining spot that bears Hamilton’s nickname and serves up American comfort cuisine. Among the specialty drinks on the menu: a Lions Tea, made with bourbon, African nectar tea and brown sugar. 243 Chestnut Street, (267) 273-0688, thelittlelionphilly.com
  • Hamilton fans can eat, drink and make merry at City Tavern, a recreation of the original tavern where Hamilton, Washington and the gang often gathered after a hard day of debating the U.S. Constitution. Modern-day patrons can sip a colonial-style shrub or quaff Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Ale, a crisp and hoppy pale ale. 138 S. 2nd Street, (215) 413-1443, citytavern.com
  • For fans of the blockbuster musical who can’t get enough Hamilton, a new downloadable app, created by Philadelphia writer Catherine Price, connects some of the hit songs to Philadelphia landmarks where it all happened. The Alexander Hamilton Walking Tours app is available in the Apple App store or Google Play.

 

Philadelphia’s Historic District campaign, from VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, showcases the city’s incomparable place in early American history and the still vibrant neighborhoods of Old City, Society Hill and the Delaware River Waterfront. The campaign celebrates America’s most historic square mile in the country’s first World Heritage City, as designated by the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and H.F. (Gerry), the initiative runs through September 2018.

Between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends, visitors can engage with costumed history makers, hear stories of the real people of independence and take part in colonial reenactments. And every day of the year, they can tour, shop, dine and drink in the area just like the founding fathers and mothers once did. For more information about all there is to see and do in Historic Philadelphia, go to visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com.

 

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