Hamilton Grange wins Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award
The New York Landmarks Conservancy has announced the winners of the 22nd Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards. The Banner Building, Central Park Police Precinct, New York City Center, Hamilton Grange National Memorial, New-York Historical Society, Rod Rodgers & Duo Multicultural Arts Center and St. Patrick’s Cathedral Rectory are among the recipients that will be recognized at the April 25, 2012 Ceremony at the New-York Historical Society.
The coveted awards, called the “Preservation Oscars,” are named after dedicated New Yorker Lucy G. Moses. They recognize individual leadership and outstanding preservation work. This work provides jobs, promotes tourism, maintains beloved institutions and protects the character of the City.
“The awards are a celebration of outstanding restoration projects throughout the city as well as some extraordinary individuals,” said Peg Breen, President of The New York Landmarks Conservancy. “The awards are a perfect reminder that preservation creates local jobs and encourages tourism. It’s a joyous evening as we salute great work and great people.”
Hamilton Grange National Memorial, the country estate of Alexander Hamilton, is located in St. Nicholas Park in Harlem. Now, after nearly 40 years of planning, the building has been restored and moved to a location that recalls the time when he lived there.
John McComb, Jr., who also designed New York’s City Hall, was the architect of the 1802 Federal-style house. Upon completion, it was set on 34 wooded acres far from the City, at approximately West 143rd Street. In 1889, St. Luke’s Church acquired the building and moved it to Convent Avenue and 141st Street. The building was substantially altered, as the front porch was lost; and the entrance rebuilt on the former side elevation. When the federal government took possession of the property in 1962 to create a Hamilton monument, planning began to move the building again, to a site more evocative of its original setting. Starting in 2005, design studies and detective work began, to ensure that the house could be moved with minimal damage. It was determined that raising the Grange 40 feet in the air over the Church, sliding it out and lowering it onto Convent Avenue would conserve the greatest amount of original building fabric, despite considerable challenges.
Following construction of a new cellar and basement to house mechanical systems and exhibit spaces, the relocation of the Grange got underway. In June 2008, the 298-ton building was driven down the 10% grade of 141st Street and into the Park where it was slid onto the foundations. It would take three more years to restore the house. Many character-defining features that had been lost over time, including the balustrades, wood shingle roof, and front and rear porches, were replaced. The fireplaces, wood mantels, and plaster ornamentation of the octagonal parlor and dining room, have been restored to reflect the details, materials, and colors of Hamilton’s time. Furnishings include reproductions of furniture owned by Hamilton.
Today, the 8,000 square-foot building, which is open to the public, is located within the boundaries of the family’s original estate. It is a fitting home for the legacy of New York’s only founding father – Alexander Hamilton.
For more information, please visit www.nylandmarks.org.