Built in 1765, it served as headquarters for both sides in the American Revolution

The Morris-Jumel Mansion, located at 65 Jumel Terrace in Roger Morris Park in Manhattan’s Washington Heights district, is the borough’s oldest residence. Roger Morris, a British military commander, erected it in 1765 and it functioned as a headquarters for both sides of the American Revolution.

Lower Manhattan, the Hudson River, including the Palisades, the Bronx, Westchester, the Long Island Sound, and the Harlem River were previously visible from the mansion’s location on Coogan’s Bluff. It is located in Roger Morris Park, a New York City park inside the Jumel Terrace Historic District, but is not part of the historic district.

The mansion was erected in 1765 for Roger Morris, a British military officer serving on the Executive Council of the Province of New York, and his American-born wife, Mary Philipse Morris; they resided in it for 10 years, from 1765 to 1775, when the American Revolution started. Morris and his family moved to England as British loyalists at the onset of the war, while his wife and family stayed at the Philipse estate in Yonkers. Morris returned in 1777, after the city had been taken by the British, and became the Inspector of Refugee Claims until 1783, when he and his family fled for England following the Revolution’s triumph.

Between September 14 to October 20, 1776, General George Washington utilized the estate as his temporary headquarters when his troops was forced to flee Brooklyn Heights following their defeat at the Battle of Long Island by the British Army led by General William Howe.

This mansion is one of the most visible relics of the Battle of Harlem Heights, following which it served as the headquarters for British Lieutenant General Sir Henry Clinton and Hessian commander Baron Wilhelm von Knyphausen.

The home was taken by the Commissioners of Forfeiture at the close of the Revolutionary War because the Morrises were Loyalists, following which it operated as a farmhouse and a bar, “Calumet Hall,” a popular stop along the Albany Post Road.

The mansion was purchased in 1810 by Stephen Jumel, a wealthy French businessman who had moved to the United States, for himself, his wife and former mistress, Eliza Bowen Jumel, and their adopted Mary Bowen, who was assumed to be Eliza’s stepsister’s daughter. The Jumels rebuilt the home, installing the Federal style entry and redecorating the inside in the Empire style, in order to be welcomed into New York society. Because they were not socially acceptable in New York, the Jumels relocated to France in 1815, but Eliza returned from 1817 to 1821. She returned with Stephen Jumel’s power of attorney in 1826, and he returned in 1828.

After Stephen died in 1832 from injuries sustained in a carriage accident, Eliza married the notorious ex-vice president Aaron Burr in the front parlor of the mansion; she petitioned for divorce in 1834, which was granted in 1836, soon before his death. Eliza then split her time between Saratoga, NY, Hoboken, NJ, and lower Manhattan. Her stepdaughter’s family resided at the home with her until 1862; Eliza Jumel died in 1865; in her final years, she became extremely eccentric, if not mad.

The Jumel family divided the estate’s 115 acres (0.47 km2) into 1058 lots in 1882, on which several row homes were erected, some of which are now part of the Jumel Terrace Historic District.

The home may be seen in historical photos of the ballpark that feature Coogan’s Bluff. The Polo Grounds Towers now rise where the stadium previously stood.

The mansion itself was bought by New York City in 1903 from the Earles and transformed into a museum administered by the Washington Headquarters Association; the museum opened in 1904 and was refurbished and refurnished in 1945. The Department of Parks and Recreation owns the home, which is a member of the Historic House Trust.

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