Hamilton Metz Field

Hamilton-Metz Field

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

This field honors United States founding father Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804), early 1900s legislator Herman A. Metz (1867-1934), and his wife Laura A. Metz.

One of the most influential military officers and statesmen in American history, Alexander Hamilton first arrived in New York in 1772 where he enrolled in King’s College (now Columbia University). As a member of the Continental Army in 1777, he saw combat at the Battle of Long Island (Brooklyn Heights), served as George Washington’s aide-de-camp, and led a regiment of New York troops at the Battle of Yorktown (1781).

After the war, Hamilton served with distinction as a United States Congressman (1782-1783) and Secretary of the Treasury (1789-1795). Hamilton also co-authored a number of the Federalist Papers. He died on January 31, 1804 from a gunshot wound inflicted by political rival Aaron Burr (1756-1836) days earlier.

Herman Metz, a native New Yorker and Cooper Union graduate, spent most of his life in New York politics. Serving as a member of the Board of Education for both Brooklyn and the City of New York and as City Comptroller (1906-1910), Metz was also appointed by Governor Charles Hughes (1907-1910) in 1907 to draft New York State’s charter. He was nominated for governor a few years later, but he withdrew from the race in favor of William Sulzer.

Later elected as a Democrat to the 63rd Congress (1913-1915), Metz lobbied on behalf of New York textile workers when dyes and other essential materials imported from Germany were halted by British-imposed economic sanctions. This measure was levied to curtail the rise of Germany’s military industrial complex. Metz further supported the interests of his country in World War I (1914-1918), where he achieved the rank of Lieutenant Colonel as the ordnance officer in the 27th Division.

In 1940 the jurisdiction of this field, located at the intersection of Albany, Lefferts, and East New York Avenues in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Wingate, was transferred from the Board of Education to Parks. Formerly known as Commercial High School, the Alexander Hamilton High School (now Paul Robeson HS) field’s transfer alleviated the school’s economic burden in caring for and maintaining the site. Dually, the changeover also contributed a recreation area to the community of Pig Town (renamed Wingate in 1954) for daily public use.

Alerted to the 1940 property transfer, the Metz family also donated several parcels of adjoining land to the City, improving the field in memory of Congressman Metz and his wife. Most recently, the site’s ball field has been slated for renovations. The installation of new turf and irrigation systems to maintain the field is scheduled for completion in 2002.

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