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Alexander Hamilton map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This larger-than-life-size statue depicts Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804), the eminent statesmen for the fledgling nation of the United States. The monument, located along Central Park’s East Drive at 83rd Street near the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is unusual in that it is carved entirely of granite. Hamilton’s grandson John C. Hamilton donated the piece to the City in 1880.

Sculptor Carl H. Conrads (1839–1920) represents Hamilton in Colonial-era clothing. Born in the British West Indies, Hamilton moved to New York in 1772 for his formal education, attending King’s College (now Columbia University). While still a teenager, he volunteered for service in the Revolutionary War in a New York artillery company, where he rose to the rank of captain. From 1777 to 1781, Hamilton served as an aide-de-camp to General George Washington (1732-1799) at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

After the war, in 1780, Hamilton married Elizabeth Schuyler, connecting himself to one of New York’s most powerful families. Hamilton was admitted to the bar in 1782 and began to practice law in New York. He also served as a delegate in the Continental Congress and served in the New York State Legislature, playing an important role in the ratification of the United States Constitution in New York.

A supporter of strong federal government, and co-author of many of the Federalist Papers, Hamilton was appointed the first Secretary of the Treasury by President Washington in 1789, when the new government was set up in New York City. While holding this position, Hamilton laid out his legacy in fiscal policy, giving the new nation both a circulating medium and financial machinery. His concentration on business aided the growth and development of New York City as a financial center. He also provided public credit and developed plans for a congressional charter for the first Bank of the United States.

A lesser-known aspect of Hamilton’s influence on our developing nation was his innovative proposal to create the Revenue Marine, which is now the United States Coast Guard. He also played an important role in the creation of both the United States Navy and Naval Academy through the Naval Act of 1784. Hamilton retired from his cabinet position in 1795 but stayed active in public life. He resumed his law career and remained an important political advisor, starting the New York Evening Post (now the New York Post) in 1801 to present his opinions.

Alexander Hamilton was the most distinguished resident of the neighborhood that later became known as Hamilton Heights. In 1800, he began construction of his country home in Harlem. The estate, known as the Grange, is located on Convent Avenue and 141st Street in Harlem Heights and was completed shortly after his death in 1804, when Hamilton was fatally wounded in a duel with political rival Aaron Burr (1756–1836). Hamilton is buried in Lower Manhattan’s Trinity Church cemetery.

Photo of Alexander Hamilton statue in Central Park

Alexander Hamilton Details

  • Sculptor: Carl H. Conrads
  • Description: Standing figure (over life-size) on intergral plinth, on pedestal
  • Materials: Westerly granite
  • Dimensions: Total H: 15'5" W: 7'10" D: 7'10"
  • Cast: 1880
  • Dedicated: November 20, 1880
  • Donor: John C. Hamilton, a grandson
  • Inscription: HAMILTON / PRESENTED BY / JOHN C. HAMILTON / 1880 /

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

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