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Washington Heights, Manhattan Historical Driving Tour, W. 155th to W. 180th Streets
Item 5 of 14
The Morris-Jumel Mansion, the oldest building in Manhattan, is a beautiful U.S historical landmark that was built in 1765 by Roger Morris, a British military officer. The Mansion served as a headquarters for both sides in the American Revolution. Currently, the building is a house museum that is preserved and open to the public. It has its own collection of archives and exhibitions. For the general public, there are constant events held at the mansion ranging for holiday celebrations to free guided tours.

The outside portrayal of the mansion which portrays the 20th century architecture that was used in its making.

The outside portrayal of the mansion which portrays the 20th century architecture that was used in its making.

One of the inner rooms of the mansion which is still preserved up to date.

One of the inner rooms of the mansion which is still preserved up to date.
The history of the magnificent Morris-Jumel Mansion dates back long ago to its first owner, Roger Morris. Morris was a British military officer who served as a member of the Executive Council of the Province of New York. Roger built the house in 1765 in order to accommodate his wife, Mary Philipse Morris, and himself. Their estate, which stretched over 130 acres from the Harlem River to the Hudson River, was named “Mount Morris”. The estate covered a massive amount of territory and was located on one of the highest points of elevation in Manhattan, offering a clear view of New Jersey, Connecticut, and all of New York harbor. The Morris family lived at the estate for 10 years from 1765 to 1775, the year in which the American Revolution began. Being a British military officer, Roger Morris was a British loyalist who went back to England at the start of the war, leaving his family and his life in America. His family relocated to the Philipse estate in Yonkers.
The house would go on to play a significant role during the American Revolutionary War. Because of its very strategic location and positioning in Manhattan, this house attracted the attention of General George Washington and his Patriot officers. They moved in and made the house their headquarters for five weeks in the autumn of 1776 (September 14~October 21). The location of the house was ideal since it provided a great overview of the surrounding area. Within the house, they planned their warfare strategies which eventually resulted in Washington's first victory, The Battle of Harlem Heights.  This victory was monumental because it gave the colonists hope that they could actually win the war and that America was not helpless. But, even though this victory was a great rallying moment for the Patriots, it still was not great enough to prevent a British takeover of Manhattan Island. With the British takeover, Washington and his troops were forced from the Morris-Jumel Mansion, and it was occupied by British forces. 

The house served as headquarters for the British and their allies for the remainder of the war. When the war finally concluded, the new government of the United States of America confiscated the Mansion and its property. Currently, it holds the title of the oldest remaining house in Manhattan and is now turned into a museum that depicts more than 200 years of New York's cultural history and art.

"History." Morris-Jumel Mansion. Accessed Web, 7/31/17.

"Morris-Jumel Mansion." Neighborhood Preservation Center. Accessed Web, 7/31/17.

"Morris-Jumel Mansion." New York Architecture. Accessed Web, 7/31/17.

Ward, Carol S. Morris-Jumel Mansion (Images of America). Charleston, South Carolina. Arcadia Publishing, 2015.