Walk in the Footsteps of Alexander Hamilton Beginning with Four Seasons Resort Nevis
Fans of the blockbuster Broadway hit Hamilton may think they know the story of Alexander Hamilton’s life, but do they know that before the show made him a household name and before he impacted the history of the country that we now know as the United States of America, his story began on the small island of Nevis? That “little unknown island at the edge of the Caribbean” is just one of the many destinations where guests of Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts can walk in the footsteps of the US Founding Father, from Nevis to the Northeast.
In celebration of Alexander Hamilton’s 267th birthday, we’re highlighting some of the history that connects us, from Nevis to New York, Boston to Baltimore and Philadelphia to Washington, DC.
Alexander Hamilton was born on January 11, 1755 (or perhaps it was 1757 - historical records vary, and even Hamilton himself was unsure of his precise birth year) on the small Caribbean island of Nevis, a body of land neighbouring St. Kitts in the Lesser Antilles that was under British rule at the time and was known for its sugar plantations. Hamilton lived on Nevis until he was about seven (or nine) years old before moving with his mother to St. Croix.
Currently, travellers can visit the Alexander Hamilton Museum in the capital, Charlestown, where they can learn about his early life and what shaped him in his formative years. Hamilton's birthplace is located just 10 minutes from Four Seasons Resort Nevis, right across from the museum, in a two-storey building overlooking the Charlestown Harbour. There are numerous other historical sites dotted around the island that date back to the mid-1700s, all places Hamilton likely would have visited or been acquainted with.
Of course, guests of Four Seasons Resort Nevis can also experience a piece of Nevisian and American history when staying in one of the suites inspired by and named after Nevis' most famous native son. In the recently redesigned one-bedroom Alexander Suites, the décor is light, clean and fresh, while preserving the humble charm of Nevis with hints of Caribbean notes from the botanical wallpaper in the bedroom to the uniquely designed chairs that feature the island's ambassador, the green vervet monkey. Guests will come to find that the 1,761 square foot (164 square metre) ocean-facing suite is an inviting space ideal for entertaining - hosting family and friends for an intimate dinner around the table with seating for up to eight or unwinding outdoors on the expansive patio for a nightcap while enjoying the Caribbean breeze and sweet sounds of Nevis.
After leaving Nevis, Hamilton moved to St. Croix where he lived for eight years before emigrating to what would eventually become the United States in 1772. He first landed at the port of Boston, not far from Faneuil Hall, which, in those days, sat on the town’s waterfront.
Although New York may have more of a connection to this key figure to the formative years of the United States, Boston can also make a small, yet important, claim on the Founding Father. His influence was such that a town on Boston’s North Shore was named after him in 1793.
For visitors who want to stand in Hamilton’s virtual presence, two pieces of art depicting his likeness crafted by prominent artists reside in the city: an 1806 oil portrait by John Trumbull on display at the Museum of Fine Art,s and a statue crafted by William Rimmer erected on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall in 1865. The State Library of Massachusetts also has a rich and eclectic collection of works on and by Hamilton, ranging from an 1865 reprint of the original Federalist, numerous biographical works including a so-called “dramatised” biography (The Conqueror by Gertrude Atherton), complete sets of Hamilton’s compiled works, and even a fascinating pamphlet chronicling the Burr-Hamilton duel that eventually took Hamilton’s life in 1804. All three of these sites are located within two miles of both Four Seasons hotels in Boston – Four Seasons Hotel Boston and Four Seasons Hotel One Dalton Street.
New York City
From Boston, Hamilton proceeded quickly to New York City, where he soon entered law school at King’s College, the precursor to Columbia University. After serving as chief staff aide to George Washington in the Revolutionary War, he became a key advocate for the United States Constitution while pursuing life as a lawyer and civic leader in New York City, founding the Federalist Party. In 1784, Hamilton helped the founding of the Bank of New York and in 1789, President Washington appointed him as the first Secretary of the Treasury while the federal government was based in New York City, a role in which he laid the foundations for America’s financial system.
Hamilton was a New York City resident for more than 30 years before meeting his ignominious end when, on July 11, 1804, he was mortally wounded in a duel with then-Vice President Aaron Burr, a bitter political rival of whom Hamilton had been sharply critical. Both Hamilton and his wife Elizabeth were interred at Trinity Church.
In New York City, fans of Hamilton can explore his impact in places other than the theatre stage, especially in the city’s oldest neighbourhood, the Financial District. A short half-mile walk from Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown, history buffs can discover how Wall Street, the Stock Exchange and the financial system all began with this young immigrant.
A bit further uptown, visitors can also visit Hamilton’s country estate, The Grange at 141st Street, in Hamilton Heights (now known as modern-day Harlem), which was built in 1802 and was the only home Hamilton ever owned. In 2006, Hamilton's home was moved a few blocks to the north end of St. Nicholas Park at 141st Street near Hamilton Terrace. Today, Hamilton Grange National Memorial is operated by the National Park Service and is dedicated to telling the story of Hamilton and his home. Other New York City parks named for Hamilton include Hamilton Metz Field in Brooklyn and the Federalist Triangle in Queens.
In 1782, as a New York Representative to the Congress of the Confederation, Hamilton travelled quite often to the then United States Capital of Philadelphia, a city he would call home for much of the next 15 years of his life.
Not only did Hamilton live in Philadelphia while a member of the Congress of the Confederation, but also in during the summer of 1787 while a member of the Constitutional Convention. Therefore, it’s no secret that visitors looking to explore Hamilton’s Philadelphia, should begin their journey at Independence Hall. On a visit to Independence Hall today, guests are able to enter the Assembly Room, which is set up to look just as it did in 1787 when Hamilton signed the United States Constitution.
While Independence Hall is the most notable site in Philadelphia related to Alexander Hamilton, there is still plenty more to see. From 1789 until 1795, while serving as Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton spent much of his time working in a two-storey brick building located on South 3rd Street. While the building that housed Hamilton’s offices no longer stands today, a plaque commemorates its presence. He also made his mark on the city with the First Bank of the United States, which still stands on South 3rd Street, not far from the location of Hamilton’s treasury office, as well as the creation of the United States Mint. The original location of the US Mint in Philadelphia no longer stands, but a plaque commemorating its former location can be found at 631 Filbert Street.
Throughout much of Hamilton’s time in Philadelphia, he lived and worked within just a few square blocks of Philadelphia centred upon Independence Hall, where the US government was set up in Philadelphia. These important historical sites are located within a one-mile walk from Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center.
Hamilton travelled to Maryland in 1786 to address the profound challenges of the Articles of Confederation. The Annapolis Convention, formally titled the “Meeting of Commissioners to Remedy Defects of the Federal Government,” was held over several days in mid-September at Mann’s Tavern in Annapolis. The Annapolis Convention set the events in motion that led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 and the drafting of the Constitution that guides the nation to this day.
Maryland’s capital city of Annapolis is only a 45-minute drive from Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore and offers a fantastic opportunity for a day trip excursion along the Chesapeake Bay. Experience a customised walking tour of notable sites, including the historic location of Mann’s Tavern today, which is marked by a plaque placed by The Maryland Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the Maryland State House, and the William Paca House and Garden.
Although Alexander Hamilton always called New York home, his image and influence can be found all around Washington, DC. Hamilton was no longer in the Presidential cabinet when the capital moved from Philadelphia to DC in 1800, however he still left an indelible mark on the nation’s capital.
While Hamilton never lived in the city, long after his death, in 1848, at age 91, his widow moved into her daughter’s residence at 13th and H streets, Northwest. Visited by senators and Presidents, she often showed off a silver wine cooler given to her husband by George Washington as well as a bust of Hamilton, a copy of which is now on display at the Treasury. She lived here until her death in 1854.
For visitors to the city, Hamilton is most notably immortalised with a statue on display in the Rotunda of the US Capitol, emphasising his role in the framing of the new nation's government. His right hand holds the Federalist Papers, which he wrote to promote the ratification of the Constitution and directs attention to his left hand resting upon papers that represent the Constitution. There is another statue located in front of the Treasury building beside the White House.
The National Archives play home to the original US Constitution, signed by Alexander Hamilton, while the Library of Congress displays his original papers, including his original notes on a new form of government at the Constitutional Convention. The Smithsonian National Museum of American History hosts a repository of important American historical artifacts, such as a mid-19th century portrait of Hamilton’s wife Eliza and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton costume in its collections.
Four Seasons Hotel Washington, DC is located down the street from the White House on Pennsylvania Avenue and only one mile from the National Mall, home to the many museums and historical locations where Hamilton’s history can be experienced.
Each of these above-mentioned hotels is highlighting Hamilton history with on-property activations throughout January 2022, including special events and offers, a Hamilton-inspired Spotify playlist available at the Fitness Centre, Nevisian-inspired massages and enhancements offered at the Spa, specialty cocktails at the bar and via in-room dining, and more.
Four Seasons Resort Nevis, West Indies