Morris Jumel Mansion – A treasure in Washington Heights
If I were to ask most New Yorkers where the oldest house in Manhattan was located I bet 8 of 10 would never say Washington Heights let alone that it is the Morris Jumel Mansion. Sadly up until 6 months ago you could have counted me as one of those 8, as even though I had lived in NYC for over 5 years, I had never even heard of the MJM. Yet there it stands, perched upon the second highest natural location on the island of manhattan amidst a sea of high rises and brownstones.
To give a little history, the MJM was built by Rodger Morris in 1765. It has accrued its share of exciting historical events as George Washington used it for a period of time as a temporary headquarters after his army was defeated at the battle of Brooklyn. It’s walls have entertained a whose who of famous revolutionary heroes including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton among others. Although its most famous resident is most likely Aaron Burr who lived there with his wife and owner of the house Eliza Jumel. You might know Aaron Burr as the man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in an infamous duel.
But now, the house sits as a historical landmark of a time long ago. The grounds are impeccably kept with a beautiful garden out back and a fantastic view of the East River. Inside you will find a beautiful restoration of what the house might have looked like when its more famous residents used to live there. They are constantly engaging in community events and bringing in unique art installations to pair with the historical decor. If you are ever looking for a unique NYC experience that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions, the MJM can more than satisfy. This goes for both tourists and the other 8 of 10 locals that are curious to what New York was before it was New York City.
*Photos courtesy of Morris Jumel Mansion