Obsessed with freedom fighter, statesman, financial genius and adulterer Alexander Hamilton? Hamilton fans your time has arrived! Our family has enjoyed revisiting the American Revolution singing along to the Broadway soundtrack again and again. My fourth grader wants to visit places from Hamilton’s life. Want to add a little of George Washington’s aide and our first treasury secretary’s history in your travels? The City of Philadelphia offers fabulous sites showing how the immigrant from the Caribbean shaped his and America’s legacy. You won’t have to wait for it. Below are some great ways to Walk in Hamilton’s Footsteps in Philly from Visit Philadelphia.
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 regale visitors with accounts of heated debates Hamilton engaged in about the U.S. Constitution.
The Sites Of Hamilton’s Philadelphia Life:
- When delegates met 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.
- 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. Located at 116 S 3rd Street, the First Bank is not open for visitation, however the classic architecture makes for stunning photos.
- The home where Hamilton, his wife Eliza and their children lived is gone, however a plaque marks the location where they rented a house circa 1700-1795. When Eliza was out of town, it was here at 226 Walnut Street that scandalous, career-ending affair with the very married Maria Reynolds took place.
- In creating the Bank of the United States, our first treasury secretary 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 at 320 Chestnut Street.
- In 1792, Congress approved plans for the first U.S. Mint, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton’s brainchild. The modern descendent 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 at 151 Independence Mall East.
- Living at 3rd & Walnut Streets, Hamilton was a frequent visitor of the Powel House, home of Elizabeth and Samuel Powel. Located at 244 S. 3rd Street, the Powel’s were 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.visit the Powel House.
- There was no love lost between Hamilton and Ben Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache. At The Aurora Print Shop at 320 Market Street, now the Franklin Print Shop, Bache railed against Hamilton and the other Federalists in his publications.
- Among the many legendary heroes whose portraits hang in the Second Bank of the United States at 420 Chestnut Street, 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.
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 at 101 South 3rd Street, visitors can see Washington’s authentic Headquarters Tent, where the General, Hamilton and others plotted military strategies throughout the war.
- 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 at 525 Arch Street.
- 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 around 3rd & Chestnut Streets.
- Hungry visitors can fuel up for a day of Hamilton sightseeing at The Little Lion Restaurant located at 243 Chestnut Street, 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.
- Drink and make merry at City Tavern at 138 S. 2nd Street, 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.
- 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.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is the perfect resource in planning your next visit to Hamilton’s Philadelphia. On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website visitphilly.com and blog at uwishunu.com, explore things to do, upcoming events and themed itineraries in the city of Brotherly love. When in Philly, stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.
Philadelphia is such an amazingly preserved historic town to visit – for families, for couples, for a girl’s weekend – really for anyone wanting a glimpse of our founding as a nation. How awesome being in the room where it happened in Independence Hall! Still the same decor as when the Declaration of Independence and US Constitution were debated, adopted, and signed. Don’t throw away your shot to walk where Hamilton walked and to try country’s best Cheesesteaks. After one visit to Philly and weighing in on the age old question: Geno’s or Pat’s, trust me “You’ll be back!”
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