This is an update from Darren Boch of the National Parks Service:
The National Park Service (NPS) is planning to reopen Hamilton Grange National Memorial to the public beginning this September 17. The
Grange has been closed to the public for nearly five years, going through a
move and an “extreme makeover” designed to make Alexander Hamilton’s ‘Sweet Project’ look and feel as welcoming to us as it did to Hamilton and his family when they moved in in 1802. As we get closer to the opening date, details for the opening celebration will be released.
This report is from Darren Boch from the National Parks Service:
Interior restoration work is continuing at Hamilton Grange National Memorial. Teams have recently begun work on the historic fireplaces, replacing damaged bricks and preparing the fireplaces to receive their facings. Another team is working on the door frames for the dining room. A mock-up of one of the massive doors will be used during this phase of the restoration, while the historic doors remain in Lowell, MA to be fitted with mirrors and replicated hardware for reinstallation into the dining room. The home’s mirrored dining room walls, a signature feature of Hamilton’s “Sweet Project,” reflected the view from the room’s triple hung windows and were designed to make guests feel as if they eating in an outdoor gazebo. We are very excited about the progress and pleased with the great care our staff and contractors are taking to make the ‘Grange’ look as much as it did when Alexander Hamilton stepped through its doors for the first time in 1802. As of now we do not have a date set for the reopening of the home, but we are hopeful for the middle of this summer.
National Park Service conservators are working to restore the home’s historic plaster using a technique that injects a special adhesive behind the plaster that creates a bond between the plaster and the lath supporting it.
The visitor center, located on the ground floor of the Grange, is beginning to take on its final appearance. The drywall is up, taped and finished. Outlets for electricity and the state-of-the-art multimedia exhibits have been roughed in.
The visitor center will have a hardwood floor made from reclaimed lumber. The use of historic boards is not only environmentally friendly; it also ties the new ground level portion of the Grange to the historic levels.
Reclaimed lumber is also being used where applicable to replace damaged or missing sections of wooden trim throughout the home. The reclaimed wood is of a similar type to the home’s historic fabric and it has already fully “aged”, making it ideal for this type of application.
This morning I stumbled upon an amazing snow sculpture in the north part of the park. Pictures above and below shows a couple carved out of snow sitting on a rock. The piece of art is located just south of the west 141st street staircase, near the Hamilton Grange.
While photographing it, a couple came up and asked how it was doing. Low and behold, the artists themselves came to check on it! The artists are Rebecca Kassay and Andrew Thomas who live just north of the park. He is an architect and she has been involved in sculptor arts. To celebrate their 1st year together yesterday, they created this lovely piece of art. (They are pictured below with their work).
It can still be seen just south of the lower part of the west 141st street staircase. Enjoy it today in the park before it melts!
Harlem artists Rebecca Kassay and Andrew Thomas with their work.
Below is an update from Darren Boch of the National Parks Service on the Hamilton Grange National Monument.
Work continues apace in restoring Hamilton Grange National Memorial. A gate has been installed to protect the new handicap accessible lift, the Horticultural Society is continuing to care for the thirteen sweet gum trees planted on the site, and the exterior has been scraped and readied for painting. Inside the home, plaster repair is being done to the fireplace in the parlor, molding is being stripped and the exhibit team is diligently working on how best to tell the story of this Founding Father and the house he called his “sweet project.”
A National Park Service conservator steams the water-soluble historic paint off the cornice moldings in the parlor of Hamilton Grange after having used a chemical stripper (orange color) to remove the modern latex as well as the lead-based paint. The team uses bamboo picks and dental instruments for the fine detail work. The bone colored areas are where 200 years of paint has been removed to reveal the intricate detail of the egg and dart design on the molding. Once the cleaning has been done the cornice will be given a fresh coat of paint to return it to its appearance when Hamilton lived there.
A third-year graduate student in the Conservation program of the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University uses a dental pick to carefully coax decades of paint from the deep crevices of the egg and dart design on the cornice molding in the parlor of Hamilton Grange. The work is painstaking, requiring more than a month for the four-person team to clean the moldings in just the parlor.
The Hamilton Grange is expected to open Spring 2011. Check back at this website for more info.
The American Scottish Foundation is holding a fundraising lecture and reception at Federal Hall on June 16th. The proceeds from the event will help establish a beautiful authentic Scottish garden near Alexander Hamilton’s Historic home in St. Nicholas Park. Follow the link below to RSVP for this important event.
If you have any questions you can contact the American Scottish Foundation by email them firstname.lastname@example.org
Update: Due to delays the Hamilton Grange will now open to the public in Spring 2011.
Update provided from Darren Boch of the National Parks Service:
Anyone walking near Hamilton Grange National Memorial lately has noticed that the exterior of the home has really begun to look just as Hamilton
constructed his “sweet project” in 1802. The faux finish on the ground level has been done, turning stucco into “stonework,” and the decorative
railings have been installed and painted. And this being spring, the landscaping is beginning to bloom and the grass seed has taken root.
Phase One of the restoration project, which covered most of the exterior work and landscaping, is nearing completion. The NPS restoration team
recently inspected the HVAC, fire suppression, alarm, electric, water and sewer systems and we are now moving toward Phase Two, which will cover the
interior restoration work, including the hanging of the sidelights and the staircase. If all goes according to plan, the interior “finishing” phase of
the project should be completed in early 2011.
The elevator to take handicapped visitors from the ground level to the first floor has been installed and tested.
An electrician works on a floor outlet which is expected to power an exhibit in the ground floor visitor center.
The National Parks Department has produced a video virtual tour of the Hamilton Grange. It is below. The Grange is expected to open in late 2010. It is located in St. Nicholas Park on West 141st Street between Convent and St. Nicholas Avenues. To view progress and photos of the Grange follow St. Nicholas Park on Twitter @stnickpark or click here to view all our postings on the Hamilton Grange.
Lin-Manual Miranda, the writer and composer for the Tony Award-winning musical “In The Heights” is working on a hip hop concept album about Alexander Hamilton. Below is a link to his performance for President Obama back in May 2009 of some of the work. We obviously would be delighted if some of this music would be performed when the Hamilton Grange opens this fall! We’ll keep you posted on events.
Celebrate Alexander Hamilton’s 254th birthday with the National Park Service and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation on January 10.
From 10 a.m to 4 p.m., the Morris-Jumel Mansion will recognize the day with a re-enactor portraying Alexander Hamilton, a presentation by an NPS Ranger on Hamilton Grange National Memorial, and period music. It will be a fun day for the whole family!
We are expecting the birthday celebration next year (2011) this event will take place at the Hamilton Grange in St. Nicholas Park.
The Grange received $2.4 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which will enable the National Park Service to complete the interior restoration of the home. Work on the interior has begun and we expect to reopen the memorial to visitors in the fall of 2010.
The front entrance of the house has regained much of its original appearance. The porch is in place and the front steps are awaiting additional work. The front door frame has been returned to its exact original position in the home’s façade – a feat the National Park Service’s historic architect said he was extremely pleased with considering the structural changes that were made to the house and the door frame itself following its first move in 1889. Stylistically, it is interesting to note that the square pillars supporting the floor of the front porch exactly match the dimensions and placement of the columns supporting the porch roof so that they appear to be continuous vertical lines.
Stephen Spaulding, a historic architect with the National Park Service, meets with a contractor on December 2 to discuss how to best replicate the
faux finish Hamilton ordered for the lower level of the Grange.
The New York Horticultural Society plants trees before the winter sets in.
The rear porch has been installed and the risers for the rear steps have been completed. The only netting that remains on the house is in the rear.