Days Gone By,  Landmarks

Morris Jumel Mansion – A Treasure in Washington Heights

The Morris Jumel Mansion is a hidden gem well worth a visit by Upper West Side explorers. Located off 161st Street and easily accessible via public transport, the mansion sits in an area increasingly recognized for its significance. The house is over 400 years old and holds the title of ‘oldest house in Manhattan.’


Built by British Officer Roger Morris in 1765, the Morris Jumel mansion can be found amidst a sea of high rises and brownstones. A fly on the wall might have heard many an interesting conversation over the centuries! George Washington used the house as a temporary headquarters after the defeat of his army at the Battle of Brooklyn. In addition, the house’s walls have entertained a who’s-who of famous revolutionary heroes, including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Alexander Hamilton.

Perhaps its most famous resident was Aaron Burr, who lived there in the 1830’s with his wife, Eliza Jumel. (You might know Aaron Burr as the man who shot and killed Alexander Hamilton in that infamous duel.) Eliza Jumel owned the house until she died in 1865.

A century later, the mansion was surrounded by the creative energy of the Harlem Renaissance. Famous figures of the 1940’s such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Joe Lewis, lived in the immediate neighborhood.

The mansion is designated a National Historic Landmark and a New York City Landmark. It is owned and managed by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.

What to Expect When You Visit

Today, the mansion inspires history buffs and serves as a welcoming community space. It offers educational events and has even hosted Paranormal Investigations and Candlelight Ghost Tours. It is said that Eliza Jumel, the former owner, has been seen roaming its halls!

The grounds are impeccably kept, with a picturesque garden and an unparalleled view of the East River. The interior has been beautifully restored, and it is easy to imagine what the house might have looked like in days gone by. The mansion continues to be a contemporary influence when channeling times past. Lin Manuel Miranda visited to gain inspiration when writing the musical ‘Hamilton‘!

Whether seeking a scary encounter, a cultural experience beyond the ordinary, or simply looking to step back in time, Upper West Siders will find that the Morris Jumel Mansion can more than satisfy them.  The Mansion is located at 65 Jumel Terrace, NY, NY 10032.

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