The ‘Hamilton’ Craze Keeps Drawing Visitors to New Jersey

NJTV News | July 13, 2016 | More Issues
Historian says the musical has ‘done a great service in making people think and talk and ask’

The Tony, Grammy and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway musical “Hamilton” is drawing more tourists than ever to sites in New Jersey that are related to American revolutionary Alexander Hamilton, the musical’s main focus.

Among them is Morristown’s Schuyler-Hamilton House, where Hamilton courted his wife Elizabeth, or Betsy, Schuyler, and likely asked for her to marry during the winter of 1779-80. Curator of collections and head docent Pat Sanftner estimates visitor numbers have increased from about four people a month to about 20 a week — a big increase for a volunteer-run historic site that’s only open two hours a week.

Sanftner said that, although Lin-Manuel Miranda — the writer of “Hamilton” — takes artistic liberties with Hamilton’s story, he made the right call with his changes. “It has done a great service in making people think and talk and ask,” she said. “And that is the best thing that any historian could ask for.”

Ninet Katoe was visiting from Georgia with her daughter and a friend. Fans of the musical, they made touring Hamilton-related sites top of their to-do list.

One of the most significant sites is in Weehawken where, on July 11, 1804, sitting vice president Aaron Burr fatally shot Hamilton in a duel. Hamilton was 47 years old. The event is marked by a bust of Hamilton; behind it is the rock on which he is said to have laid his head after he was shot.

The Alexander Hamilton Awareness Society is hosting several events this month at historic locations in New Jersey and New York to mark the life and death of this fascinating Founding Father.

Read the full story on NJTV News Online, a content partner of NJ Spotlight.