Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum

Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum - NeoPopRealism Journal The Morris-Jumel mansion museum was built 11 years before the Revolution, in 1765, by British Colonel Roger Morris and his American wife, Mary Philipse.
The breezy hilltop location proved an ideal location for the family's summer home. Known as Mount Morris, this northern Manhattan estate stretched from the Harlem to the Hudson Rivers and covered more than 130 acres. Loyal to the crown, the Morrises were eventually forced to return to England as a result of the American victory.
During the war, the hilltop location of the Mansion was valued for more than its cool summer breezes. With views of the Harlem River, the Bronx, Long Island Sound to the east, New York City & the harbor to the south, the Hudson River and Jersey Palisades to the west, Mount Morris proved to be a strategic military headquarters.
GeorgeWashington made his headquarters here at the Mansion during the fall of 1776. It was during this period that the General's troops forced a British retreat at the Battle of Harlem Heights.
President Washington returned to the Mansion on July 10, 1790, & dined with members of his cabinet. Guests at the table included three future Presidents of the United States: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and John Quincy Adams. Alexander Hamilton and Henry Knox were in attendance as well.


The departure of the British at the close of the revolution did not end the upheaval in the life of the Mansion. Serving as an inn for New York City-bound travelers, ownership of the house passed through many hands. Finally, in 1810, the Mansion was restored to its original purpose as a country house by the French emigrant Stephen Jumel and his wife Eliza.Stephen and Eliza added new doorways and stained glass to the facade of the Mansion. As regular visitors to France, they furnished much of the house in the French Empire style. Many of those objects, including a bed said to have belonged to the Emperor Napoleon, remain in the Mansion today.Stephen Jumel died in 1832, and Eliza, then one of the wealthiest women in New York, later married the former U.S. Vice President, Aaron Burr. Their marriage lasted just two years. Eliza retained ownership of the Mansion until her death in 1865. After a twenty-year court battle, which was finally settled by the U.S Supreme Court, the property was divided and sold.The Mansion itself survived the subdivision along with a small plot of land. In 1894 it was purchased by General Ferdinand P. and Lillie Earle. In tune with the deep patriotic sentiment of the late 19th century, the Earle's revered Washington and the Mansion's history as his headquarters. They persuaded the City of New York to purchase the house and remaining property in 1903 and to preserve it as a monument to the nation's past.In 1904 the Washington's Headquarters Association, formed by four chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution, took on the task of operating the museum. Today, the Morris-Jumel Mansion, Inc., an independent not-for-profit corporation assumes that responsibility.

The Mansion is built in the Palladian style, with a second story balcony and a two-story front portico supported by classical columns. The two-story octagon at the rear of the house is believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the colonies.
The first floor of the 8,500 square foot house features rooms for family and social gatherings, and includes the parlor in which Madame Eliza Jumel married Aaron Burr in 1833. Across the hall stands the dining room where Washington likely entertained his guests in 1790. At the far end of the hall, the octagonal drawing room, or withdrawing room as it is properly known, provided a grand setting for social gatherings. Bedrooms on the second floor include those of George Washington, Eliza Jumel, and Aaron Burr. The basement houses the colonial-era kitchen and tells the story of domestic servitude at the Mansion. The room features the original hearth and a bee-hive oven as well as a collection of early American cooking utensils.
Through architecture and a diverse collection of decorative arts objects, each room of the Morris-Jumel Mansion reveals a specific aspect of its colorful history from the 18th through the 19th centuries.

References:
www.morrisjumel.org
Category: Articles
Historical Museums

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