The Broadway hit musical Hamilton may focus on its namesake Founding Father, but it also tells the story of his wife, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton. Born in Albany to a powerful Dutch family, Eliza Schuyler Hamilton grew up to be an inspirational philanthropist. Her accomplishments include founding New York's first private orphanage and opening the first school in New York City's Washington Heights neighborhood. Eliza outlived Hamilton by almost fifty years and was instrumental in preserving his legacy following his death.
To celebrate Eliza's birthday (August 9), we are launching a scavenger hunt to Discover Eliza Schuyler Hamilton's Albany! Find the hidden star at each historic site and snap a photo. Submit photos of all of the hidden clues by August 21 for a chance to win a gift basket filled with Hamilton and Schuyler-themed goodies from the Albany Institute of History & Art! Below learn about Eliza's connection to each stop on the scavenger hunt and for How To Play & Rules.
Stop 1: Schuyler Mansion
Address: 32 Catherine St, Albany, NY 12202
Mansion is open Wednesday – Sunday, 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM (Reservation only)
COVID-19 Safety Policies & Protective Measures
Visit Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site to explore the historic mansion where Eliza Schuyler Hamilton was born and raised. Her father, Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler, and mother, Catharine Van Rensselaer, both descended from affluent Dutch families and raised eight children in the Georgian-style mansion. After a whirlwind courtship, Eliza Schuyler married Alexander Hamilton on December 14, 1780 in one of the mansion's elegant parlors. For a few years, Hamilton and Eliza even lived at the Schuyler Mansion together! She also gave birth to two of their children in the mansion.
Stop 2: Ten Broeck Mansion
Address: 9 Ten Broeck Pl, Albany, NY 12210
Mansion is open on Saturdays, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM and Thursdays, 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Reservation only)
The historic Ten Broeck Mansion was built in 1798 for Revolutionary War General Abraham Ten Broeck. The Ten Broecks and the Schuylers, two prominent Albany families, were close friends and acquaintances. Both of the family's mansions also had extensive formal gardens. During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, these gardens were spaces where more formal societal rules were relaxed and were utilized for women's exercise, enjoyment, art-making, solitude, and courtship. These Hudson Valley estate gardens were often cared for by enslaved persons. James Brown, a free person of color, was a noted African American Master Gardener who designed several Hudson Valley estate gardens in the early 19th century, and he worked on estates similar to the Ten Broeck's. Wander through the formal gardens at Ten Broeck Mansion and reflect on what life may have been like for Eliza Schuyler Hamilton during this time period.
Stop 3: Quackenbush Square
Address: Quackenbush Square, Albany, NY 12207
Olde English Pub is open for takeout and dining in the garden. Discover Albany Visitors Center is temporarily closed.
The Battle of Saratoga was stressful for the Schuyler family - and the city of Albany! In the summer of 1777, word reached Albany that troops led by British General John Burgoyne were advancing upon on Albany from the North to seize the City. Eliza's father Major General Philip Schuyler, was strategizing to save Albany from British capture and to ensure that the American Revolution continued. As Burgoyne’s troops drew closer to Albany, Philip instructed his wife Catherine to burn their wheat fields and scatter the horses at the family's beloved summer home in Stillwater, to ensure the British army could not claim their supplies as their own. Catherine burned them personally and supervised the evacuation. Following the Colonist’s victory at the Battle of Saratoga, Burgoyne retreated and spitefully burned the Schuyler's summer home. He was then captured and escorted to Albany by Col. Henry Quackenbush and his 5th Regiment of Albany County militia. They stopped at the historic Quackenbush House, now home of the Olde English Pub, for refreshments before continuing the journey to Schuyler Mansion. It is commonly believed that Eliza first met Hamilton in Albany later that year, but imagine the terror and uncertainty for the Schuyler family and city of Albany during the summer of 1777.
Stop 4: Crailo State Historic Site
Address: 9 1/2 Riverside Ave, Rensselaer, NY 12144
Mansion is open for self-guided tours on Wednesday to Sunday (Reservation only)
COVID-19 Safety Policies & Protective Measures
Legend has it that Eliza Schuyler Hamilton and her husband Alexander Hamilton may have stayed at Crailo State Historic Site during September 1793. After contracting and recovering from Yellow Fever, the couple fled Philadelphia. On the journey to Schuyler Mansion, when they reached the banks of the Hudson River (on the Rensselaer-side), they were not allowed to cross into Albany due to the fact that they had both contracted the disease. While awaiting for permission to cross, it is assumed that the couple stayed at Crailo, as it was owned by Eliza's relatives.
Stop 5: First Church
Address: 110 North Pearl Street Albany, NY 12207
Building and offices are closed. Grounds are open.
The congregation of the First Church in Albany, part of the Reformed Church in America, was established in 1642. While the original church no longer stands, the congregation is the second oldest in New York State and the Schuylers were members! Eliza's son, Philip Hamilton, was baptized there. She had a religious upbringing and was extremely devout throughout her life. After Hamilton's untimely death, Reverend Eliphalet Nott delivered a stirring eulogy On the Death of Hamilton at the church that was considered a driving force in the eventual outlaw of dueling. Eliza never remarried and lived to the age of 97.
How To Play & Rules:
1. Drive to each of the five locations featured above.
2. Find the hidden star pictured below at each site and take a photo. (Please note that all markers are placed on the grounds of the historic site)
3. Share your scavenger hunt adventure on social media! We want to follow along! Tag the historic sites (handles are above), Discover Albany (handles below) and use hashtags #ElizaSchuylersAlbany and #HamiltonInAlbany to share your Eliza Schuyler-inspired journey. (Encouraged but not required to win)
4. Email the photos of the star at each historic site to firstname.lastname@example.org to be entered to win by 8:00 PM on Friday, August 21.
5. Entries are accepted through 8:00 PM on Friday, August 21. A random winner will be selected on Monday, August 24. The winner will receive a gift basket with Hamilton and Schuyler-themed goodies from the Albany Institute of History & Art. The winner will be contacted through the email that they used to submit the photos to email@example.com.
BONUS: Drive-By Stops & Podcast
The below stops are not required to be entered to win the gift basket, but are additional "drive-by" stops to enrich your knowledge of Eliza Schuyler and Alexander Hamilton.
50 State Street: At downtown Albany's 50 State Street, in a building that no longer stands, was a pivotal moment in Hamilton's (and Eliza Schuyler's!) life. The building was the home of Judge John Tayler. Tayler hosted a dinner party attended by Alexander Hamilton, Philip Schuyler and Taylor's son-in-law Dr. Charles D. Cooper. Cooper later composed a letter about the evening, claiming Hamilton called Burr "a dangerous man and ought not to be trusted." The Albany Register obtained a copy of the letter and published it. When Burr demanded a retraction, Hamilton would neither admit nor deny the allegation. This fueled the already brewing feud between the rivals and ultimately led to the infamous deadly duel.
Philip Schuyler Statue: In front of Albany City Hall's steps is a statue of Philip Schuyler. He was a lifelong resident of Albany and owned the most enslaved people in the New York State. To make room for more inclusive stories, Mayor Kathy Sheehan announced the removal of the statue out in front of Albany City Hall. As of August 2020, the statue as not been removed yet. Learn more about the enslaved people of Schuyler Mansion on the historic site's blog.
Fort Orange Club: Built in 1810 as the private residence of Samuel Hill, the Fort Orange Club has been a private club since 1880. Between 1819 – 1827 it was a boarding house named “Soulden House.” Reportedly, Aaron Burr, then disgraced by the duel with Hamilton, stayed the night here. Address: 110 Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12210
Creative License Podcast: Abraham Ten Broeck's son, Dirck, was a law clerk for Alexander Hamilton and had a lunch date planned with Hamilton in New Jersey on the day of the ill-fated duel. Tragically, Dirck found himself sitting vigil at Hamilton's deathbed. Dirck penned a letter detailing the duel and the passing of his "dear departed friend." Listen to recording of the letter by local theatre company, Creative License, at this link.