Albany is a 400-year old city with many fascinating tales of historical legends, infamous bootleggers, literary luminaries, and other "famous faces" walking the streets. Keep reading for exciting stories about the time that these "famous faces" spent in Albany. We will also highlight local spots related to these figures that you can still visit today.
Let's go upstate! Before becoming a sensation in the Broadway hit musical, Alexander Hamilton was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. His writings in the Federalist Papers helped usher in our form of government and he was the first Secretary of the Treasury under George Washington. He married Elizabeth Schuyler, the daughter of a prominent Albany family, so he spent quite a bit of time in New York's Capital City. Albany formed the backdrop for some of the most important arguments that he had, including the one that led to his untimely death. Keep reading to learn more about #HamiltonInAlbany!
Visit Hamilton's in-law's mansion! Located in Albany's South End, the Schuyler Mansion State Historic Site was the home of Revolutionary War General Philip Schuyler and his family. After a whirlwind courtship, Hamilton married Eliza Schuyler 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. On a tour, view the parlor where the famous wedding occurred and see Philip Schuyler’s law library where both Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr studied. The mansion offers two reservations-required focus tours, When Alexander Hamilton Called Albany Home and Women of Schuyler Mansion.
The Albany Institute of History & Art, the second oldest museum in the country, has a special, must-see exhibit "The Schuyler Sisters & Their Circle" on display until December 29. This exhibit is full of historic treasures that will excite every Hamilton fan. Wander through the exhibit to explore the world of the Schuyler women as mothers, social managers, business women and influencers. View Eliza Schuyler's wedding ring, a rarely displayed portrait of Angelica Schuyler, a lock of Alexander Hamilton's hair, Aaron Burr's watch fob and more. After glimpsing into the world of the Schuyler family, browse the pop-up Schuyler Marketplace to take home Schuyler Plum Jam, Schuyler Tea and more souvenirs.
While Albany does not boast a statue of Hamilton, visitors to City Hall are greeted by his father-in-law (and mentor!) Philip Schuyler. Schuyler and Hamilton were Federalist allies. Schuyler also chose Hamilton as a delegate for the Constitutional Convention. Following the Revolutionary War, Schuyler served as the first Senator of New York. But in 1791, he lost his seat to Aaron Burr. This is considered to be the beginning of the rivalry between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr.
Downtown Albany's State Street
At downtown Albany's 50 State Street, in a building that no longer stands, was a pivotal moment in Hamilton's life. The building at 50 State Street was the home of Judge John Tayler. Tayler hosted a dinner party at the home 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.
Perched above Albany's Arbor Hill neighborhood is the historic Ten Broeck Mansion. The mansion was built in 1798 for Revolutionary War General Abraham Ten Broeck, a close friend of Philip Schuyler. Abraham's son, Dirck Ten Broeck, was a law clerk for Hamilton and had a lunch date set with Hamilton in New Jersey 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." A recording of the letter by local theatre company, Creative License, is available during tours of the mansion.
The congregation of the First Church in Albany, part of the Reformed Church in America, was established in 1642. It is the second oldest congregation in New York State. Aaron Burr's daughter, Theodosia, was married here and the Schuylers were members of the church congregation. After Hamilton's untimely death, the Reverend Eliphalet Nott from the First Presbyterian Church, gave a stirring eulogy On the Death of Hamilton, which was considered a driving force in the eventual outlaw of dueling. Visit the church to see the oldest pulpit in America and view the magnificent Tiffany windows.