The Schuyler Mansion - home to many 18thc members of the Schuyler family including Eliza Schuyler Hamilton - was built in the 1760s by Eliza's father, General Philip Schuyler (1733-1804). The general was determined to make his house the biggest and most fashionable in Albany, and he traveled to London himself to buy everything for his stylish new home from the latest in costly wallpaper to a fancy papier-mâch ceiling. He succeeded grandly, too: set high on the hill to the south of the city, the large brick Georgian-style house on an 80-acre estate was the first building travelers saw as they arrived from New York, and it impressed everyone who saw it, including such illustrious guests as Benjamin Franklin, the Marquis de Lafayette, and Martha Washington.
But after the General died in 1804, none of his surviving eight children had interest in occupying the house, which was now not only a bit old-fashioned, but also facing encroachment from the growing city. The house itself was sold in one parcel, and the surrounding estate was marked into streets and building lots, with the proceeds divided among the Schuyler children. With a touch of gallantry, a quality seldom ascribed to real estate developers, some of the streets were named after members of the Schuyler family.
About three blocks from the Mansion (which still stands as a landmark open to the public) are these two street, where Eliza and Alexander Hamilton will forever intersect. It makes the romantic in me sigh happily.
Photograph ©2017 by Susan Holloway Scott
I, Eliza Hamilton by Susan Holloway Scott will be published September 26, 2017, by Kensington Books. Pre-order now here.