Collector's of New York superlatives flow to Manhattan's oldest private residence. Dating to 1765, the Morris-Jemel Mansion managed not only to survive the burning of Manhattan during the American Revolution but more impressively, the 250 years of frenetic urban development that followed. Best of all, it's regal status managed to bestow landmark designations on the entire neighborhood, preserving Jemel Terrace as one of the most unique blocks on the island.
What You Will See
The gorgeous home, originally a summer home for the wealthy Morris family, has aged gracefully and is one of the country's finest examples of colonial architecture (with a few Federalist additions). The mansion contains nine lavish rooms filled with period furniture and artifacts, including items owned by George Washington (who briefly used the home as his military headquarters) and Aaron Burr (who briefly married into the Jemel family. Guided tours are occasionally available, but visitors are usually invited to explore on their own.
Why You Should Go
There is much more to the mansion than its title of 'Manhattan's Oldest Home.' History runs deep at the mansion, with colonial legends like George Washington, General Henry Clinton, and Aaron Burr all having once called the manor their home. But it is a draw on its own contemporary merits as one of the city's most beautiful homes, historic or otherwise, filled with rare treasures from a bygone past. Plan on exploring the grounds and nearby neighborhood as part of your visit.
This summer, the oldest surviving residence in Manhattan features and exhibit celebrating a unique period in its own fascinating history. Instead of looking in further detail at its role in colonial New York or the revolution, this exhibit looks at the fifteen-year transition from private historic residence to public preservation and museum. A perfect way to introduce yourself to the home if you have not yet visited.