Freedom fighter, statesman, financial genius, adulterer.
These are the impressions Alexander Hamilton has left on his Broadway-based fans. But the sites and exhibits in Philadelphia’s Historic District prove there’s plenty more to the real Hamilton.
An exhibit at the National Constitution Center highlights the competing ideas of Hamilton and his rivals. At benches in the district, Once Upon A Nation storytellers reenact the legendary Hamilton-Washington bromance and the Hamilton-Burr rivalry.
This fall, the Museum of the American Revolution will debut an interactive playscape about how Philadelphia and Hamilton combined forces to found the nation. Just beyond the district in 2019, the multi-Tony-winner will enjoy a three-month run at the Forrest Theatre.
Here are the sites where Hamilton shaped his — and America’s — legacy.
When delegates gathered at Independence Hall for the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Hamilton was the only one of New York’s three delegates who signed the U.S. Constitution. Discussions were contentious but Hamilton, who authored the Federalist Papers, ultimately helped convince other delegates to support the Constitution.
Where: Independence Hall, 520 Chestnut Street
Built in 1795 to 1797, when Philadelphia was the U.S. capital, the First Bank was Hamilton’s solution for the nation’s enormous war debt. As Treasury Secretary, Hamilton also developed a standard currency to be used by all the states. Although the First Bank is not open for visitation, the classic architecture makes for stunning photos.
Where: First Bank of the United States, 116 S. 3rd Street
In creating the First Bank of the United States, Hamilton did what had never been done before: He created the first central bank not owned by a monarch. While construction of the First Bank building was underway, the newly created federal bank was housed in Carpenters’ Hall from 1794 to 1797.
Where: Carpenters' Hall, 320 Chestnut Street
A post shared by Dave G (@mrdgoldman) on May 24, 2016 at 11:33am PDT
A post shared by Dave G (@mrdgoldman) on May 24, 2016 at 11:33am PDT
In 1792, Congress approved plans for the first U.S. Mint, Secretary of the Treasury Hamilton’s brainchild. The modern descendant of the original Mint building features a video that outlines Hamilton’s role in creating the money-making facility. Free, self-guided tours take about 45 minutes to complete.
Where: United States Mint, 151 N. Independence Mall East
Although the home where Hamilton, his wife Eliza and their children lived is gone, a plaque marks the location where they rented a house from 1790 to 1795. When Eliza was out of town, it was here that Hamilton engaged in a scandalous, career-ending affair with the very married Maria Reynolds.
Where: Alexander Hamilton's Former Home, 226 Walnut Street
Living at 3rd and Walnut streets, Hamilton spent time up the street at the home of colonial power couple Elizabeth and Samuel Powel, a popular gathering place for Philadelphia elite. Tour guides mention a letter Hamilton wrote to wife Eliza, in which he asked her if she had been taking her medicine, and suggested she think of the advice that Mrs. Powel once gave her regarding her health.
Where: 244 S. 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106
There was no love lost between Hamilton and Ben Franklin’s grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache. At The Aurora Print Shop, now the Franklin Court Printing Office, Bache railed against Hamilton and the other Federalists in his publications.
Where: Franklin Court Printing Office, 320 Market Street
Beyond the imposing, Corinthian-columned façade, this building served as the second federally authorized Hamiltonian national bank from 1816 to 1836. Today, it’s a portrait gallery of prominent 18th- and 19th-century Americans, including a standout painting of Hamilton by Charles Willson Peale.
Where: Second Bank of the United States, 420 Chestnut Street
A young Captain Hamilton was a rising star in George Washington’s army and a key player in the revolution. At the Museum of the American Revolution, visitors view Washington’s authentic Headquarters Tent, where Washington, Hamilton and others plotted military strategies throughout the war. On October 27, 2018, the museum debuts Hamilton Was Here: Building a Nation in Revolutionary Philadelphia. The new, hands-on exhibit — featuring playful interactives, scenic environments and facilitated games — reveals how Hamilton and the city of Philadelphia itself combined to help found a nation. It will be on view through March 17, 2019.
Where: Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
A life-size bronze in Signers’ Hall at the National Constitution Center pays homage to the critical role Hamilton played in the country’s founding and framing. A special exhibit created by and on display at the museum through December 31, 2018 explores Hamilton’s fraught relationships with James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Aaron Burr through rare documents and artifacts.
Where: National Constitution Center, 525 Arch Street
Visitors can witness true tales of U.S. history — free of charge, and throughout each day — at 12 Once Upon A Nation benches throughout the Historic District, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. The bench outside the National Constitution Center reveals the fascinating story of Washington’s and Hamilton’s collaboration to shape the U.S. presidency. In this reenactor interaction, Hamilton persuades Washington to be the first U.S. president, then helps Washington become the first president to step down in the world’s first peaceful transition of power between rulers. The bench outside the Museum of the American Revolution hosts a retelling of the jealous and dramatic relationship between Hamilton and Aaron Burr, from Washington’s encampment at Valley Forge to the fatal duel that ended Hamilton’s life.
Where: Various locations including the Museum of the American Revolution, 101 S. 3rd Street
Hamilton fans can eat, drink and make merry at City Tavern, a recreation of the original tavern where Hamilton, Washington and the gang often gathered after a hard day of debating the U.S. Constitution. Modern-day patrons can sip a colonial-style shrub or quaff Alexander Hamilton’s Federalist Ale, a crisp, hoppy brew.
Where: City Tavern, 138 S. 2nd Street
The Tony Award-winning and Broadway sensation comes to the Forrest Theatre as part of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts’ Broadway Philadelphia series. Based on Ron Chernow’s biography, Hamilton has a book, music, and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical supervision and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire.
Where: Forrest Theatre, 1114 Walnut Street
For fans of the blockbuster musical who can’t get enough Hamilton, a downloadable app, created by Philadelphia writer Catherine Price, connects some of the hit songs to Philadelphia landmarks where it all happened. The app is available in the Apple App store or Google Play.
Book the Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package for stays through September 3, 2018 and get FREE hotel parking as well as free tickets to the Museum of the American Revolution, free tickets for a ride on the Ferris wheel and roller skating at Blue Cross RiverRink Summerfest, a $25 CHeU Noodle restaurants gift card, free mini-golf and a carousel ride at Franklin Square, free passes to ride the PHLASH Downtown Loop and a $10 Lyft credit.