UPPER MANHATTAN EMPOWERMENT ZONE

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Theatrical Works Shine Light on Cultural and Historic Significance of Upper Manhattan Neighborhoods

Date:    Monday, July 11, 2016

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s world-renowned Broadway shows, In the Heights and Hamilton, have shed light on the cultural vibrancy of Upper Manhattan, from its diverse neighborhoods to its historic landmarks. Morris-Jumel Mansion, a landmarked site and a museum located in Washington Heights, is the oldest remaining house in Manhattan and preserves over 250 years of New York history, art, and culture. The mansion was built in 1765 on a country estate called Mount Morris, which stretched over 130 acres from the Harlem to the Hudson Rivers. Mount Morris was one of the highest points in Manhattan and offered unobstructed views of New Jersey, Connecticut, and all of the New York Harbor. The original owners of Morris-Jumel Mansion returned to England during the American Revolution, and the mansion became George Washington’s headquarters for five weeks. From this strategic location, he planned the Battle of Harlem Heights, Washington’s first victory of the war. Aaron Burr, famously known for killing long-time political opponent Alexander Hamilton, once lived in the mansion with his wife, Eliza Jumel, one of the richest widows in New York and the owner of the house.

Composer, lyricist, and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda was inspired by Morris-Jumel Mansion and wrote several hit songs for the Hamilton score in Aaron Burr’s former bedroom. Carol Ward, Executive Director of Morris-Jumel Mansion, recognizes the impact of Hamilton on the museum’s increased visitorship. She notes that Hamilton has attracted a “whole new younger crowd, who might not have been interested in history before.” Ward estimates that visits to Morris-Jumel Mansion have increased by 40% since the debut of Hamilton.

Hamilton Grange, a National Park site and Alexander Hamilton’s former home, has also seen an increase in tourism in recent months. According to a June 14 article in the Lowell Sun, Hamilton Grange saw as many visitors in the first five months of 2016 as it did in all of 2015.

To learn more about Morris-Jumel Mansion, please visit www.morrisjumel.org.

To learn more about Hamilton Grange, Alexander Hamilton’s former home, please visit https://www.nps.gov/hagr/index.htm.

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