Alexander Hamilton Home Will Be Preserved (USVI)

St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, 4/17/2008 – The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national nonprofit land conservation organization, said today that it will acquire for preservation the boyhood home of Alexander Hamilton on the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.

Known as Estate Grange, the 115-acre property was owned by Hamilton’s aunt and uncle, James and Ann Lytton. The home was built in 1753, and Hamilton lived there with his mother Rachel and brother James from about age 10 to about age 17. While he was at the home, he began writing for the local newspaper, developing skills he later used as author of the Federalist Papers. He was also one of America’s founders and was the first Secretary of the Treasury.

“This will give us the opportunity to tell the story of yet another chapter of colonial Christiansted, which is closely associated with the Christiansted Historic Site. It adds tremendous appeal when you have a founding father as a central figure for the story,” said Joel Tutein, superintendent of Christiansted National Historic Site and Buck Island Reef National Monument. “We hope to do wonderful things once this goes through.”

The site is the subject of S. 1969, the “Alexander Hamilton Boyhood Home Study Act,” proposing a study to include the site in the National Park System. The bill is sponsored by Sen Orrin Hatch, R-Utah.

“Preserving this historical landmark is critical in honoring Alexander Hamilton’s memory and carrying on his legacy. The Trust for Public Land’s agreement to purchase of this Founding Father’s boyhood home is an important step in that direction,” said Sen. Hatch. “The next step is to bring the Estate Grange under the protective umbrella of the National Park System. If adopted by Congress, S. 1969 lays the groundwork for that to happen.”

The property passed through many hands after Hamilton’s family before being bought by the Armstrong family after the 1928 hurricane. The Armstrongs restored the property, and have maintained it with the thought that it would one day be recognized as Hamilton’s childhood home, according to John D. Merwin, Trustee of the M.K. Armstrong Trust and a former governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

“The family is very pleased that the property will be put to use as a memorial to Alexander Hamilton, giving more significance to his early years in the islands,” Merwin said.

TPL will acquire it on behalf of the Virgin Islands and eventually, plans call for it to be protected by the National Park Service as a National Historic Site.

“This property has very high historical significance, and TPL is excited to be working with the government of the US Virgin Islands and the National Park Service to preserve it,” said John Garrison, field office director of TPL’s Southwest Florida office. “We need to protect the places which tell our nation’s story.”

The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, rural lands, and other natural areas, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres of land in 46 states, as well as Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. In Florida, The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission.