Photograph from Wikimedia CommonsJim.henderson 

For nearly eighty years Gracie Mansion has been known as the official residence of New York City’s mayor, but this yellow wooden house on the Upper East Side has a storied history that began long before the first mayor moved in. Built on an important Revolutionary War site, the house was constructed in 1799 as a country home for the notorious New York merchant Archibald Gracie. Ownership and purpose of the home changed many times after the Gracie’s moved out until Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, moved into “The People’s House” in 1942.

1. Alexander Hamilton died in front of the ballroom fireplace

The fireplace that Alexander Hamilton died in front of.
The fireplace that Alexander Hamilton died in front of.

After being shot in the infamous duel with Aaron Burr in Weehawken, New Jersey in 1804, Alexander Hamilton was brought to the home of the Bayard family, a prominent Anglican family on Jane Street in the West VillageIt was in that house in front of the fireplace that Hamilton supposedly spent his last moments before dying the next day, on July 12th, 1804.

When an addition to Gracie Mansion went through construction in 1966, the fireplace from the Bayard home was installed in the ballroom. The fireplace is one of many remnants left in New York City from that fateful duel, including the pistols that were used by Hamilton and Burr, which are part of the permanent collection of JP Morgan Chase Headquarters.