On a Walk Past the Morris-Jumel Mansion


The deserted, haunted quality of the oldest mansion in Manhattan is — like so much of Washington Heights — almost exhilarating when you consider the extremes of neglect it has endured to join us here today. The sign tells us that George Washington made his headquarters here during the fall of 1776, following a British retreat at the Battle of Harlem Heights. This seems like a long time ago, until we wonder if perhaps the English elms remember; then again, we reconsider, they have so many reasons to look forlorn.

We stop to listen more closely and from within the house we hear the low murmur of conversation; apparently President Washington has returned to dine with John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams (future presidents, these three), along with Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox and Candy Darling also in attendance.

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