The oldest house in Manhattan

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Up close to the northern tip of Manhattan you will find the Morris-Jumel Mansion which is the oldest house on the island of Manhattan. It is a beautiful old house and it is open for visit for the few people who actually leave the lower parts of Manhattan to make it up to this northern tip of the island.

The house was built in 1765 by Roger Morris who was born in Britain and an officer in the British army – he was married to a Mary Philipse Morris who was born in the America.

They lived together in the house for 10 years till 1775 when the American Revolution began. Then the war started as loyalist and an officer in the British army Roger had to leave New York to go to Britain. The house was then used by George Washington as his headquarter from September 14 till October 20 1776 – hence it was his headquarter during the Battle of the Harlem Heights which were the first victory for Washington as the leader of the continental army. Despite the victory in the Battle of Harlem Heights the continental army was in great risk of being cut off on the island of Manhattan so Washington decided to leave the house and evacuate across the Hudson to the relative safety of the mainland.

After Washington left the British army used it as their headquarter for a while. So the house has been the headquarter of both sides in the war of American independence.

 

After the war the houses was confiscated by the Americans and the Morris family left America for Britain. After a while the house was sold in 1810 Stephen Jumel who gave the second part of the name to the mansion. The family lived there and apparently had several important dinner guest including no less than 3 presidents of USA, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams. After Stephen died his widow Eliza got married to the former vice president of USA Aaron Burr.

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Back in 1882 most of the land belonging to the estate was sold off and a lot of row houses were built on the 115 acres of land. The row houses are actually also interesting to visit if you make it up here to see the mansion.

The house has been a museum since 1904 and it is nice to visit an old house to see how the well-off used to live in New York before the era of penthouses.

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the bed

The house has a large collection of furniture which some claim is the best collection of Georgian furniture in the US. The furniture includes a bed which supposedly belonged to Napoleon and several items which used to belong to Roger Morris, George Washington and Aaron Burr. The house have 9 decorated rooms and when you go visit the house don’t forget to go downstairs where there is the big kitchen where they made the meals for the former inhabitants of the house.

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12 comments

      1. yes indeed it is a norm I guess the closer you are the less you are incline to see it and then move on. Sometimes is the same in France when I realise never been by it yet it is close even from home lol! I said, it takes a resident and traveler to see most. Cheers

        Liked by 1 person

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