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Great Places: Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY

In 2004, before I started my travel blogging, we visited the Schuyler Mansion in Albany, NY. The Schuyler Mansion is a historic house, right in the heart of Albany, NY, and was once the home of General Philip Schuyler. You don’t hear too much about Philip Schuyler in American history, but he was a very influential man and came from a very influential Dutch family. He is most known today as the father-in-law of Alexander Hamilton. In fact, Hamilton was married in the Mansion (it was called “The Pasture” by General Schuyler) and spent a few years there while he served in the New York legislature.

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The Schuyler Mansion sits atop a small knoll over the bustling capitol streets. As a matter of fact, when you enter the grounds, there is a quiet hush on the property. You barely notice the trucks and cars whizzing down the streets, nor the boats chugging up and down the nearby Hudson River. The grounds remind me somewhat of an English cottage (or perhaps Dutch). There are flowering trees everywhere, and the brick buildings lend a homey and comfortable feel.

The Mansion was completed in 1763. It has hosted such luminaries as Alexander Hamilton as mentioned, George Washington, Benedict Arnold, Benjamin Franklin, and the notorious British General Johnny Burgoyne who, after his surrender at the Battle of Saratoga, was comfortable and graciously served here.

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Photo courtesy of bcsd.k12.ny.us/middle/michalek/schuyler%20website%20creation/schuyler_mansion.htm.

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Photos courtesy of (flickr.com/photos/44124324682@N01/2172338198/sizes/o/in/set-4776) mharrsch.

Philip Schuyler died in 1804, not long after his son-in-law Hamilton in the fated duel with Aaron Burr. The large plot of land was carved up and sold, and the house used as a private residence for nearly 90 years. It then became an orphanage for some years.

On October 17th, 1917, the Mansion was sold to the State of New York and became a National Historic Site. Oddly enough, this was exactly 140 years after Burgoyne’s surrender at Saratoga.

When we visited the Mansion, it was quite sparse. A few of the rooms were still undergoing renovation (unchanged since the orphanage days), and furniture was in the process of being acquired. We saw the hatchet mark on the stair banister rail.

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Legend holds that the hatchet slice was made during an Indian raid at the time of the American Revolution– Philip Schuyler’s family had been targeted; the women and children spotted the marauding savages and scrambled to run up the stairs to hide. It is said that one of the Schuyler daughters, holding a baby, narrowly missed death by hatchet when the weapon caught the staircase wood instead of her head. This is the legendary story– it is unconfirmed but makes for a good thriller!

The Schuyler Mansion is open from April to October, and closed for the winter except on special occasions. We’ve been so tempted to attend their special Christmas and Twelfth Night celebrations, but Albany is a lengthy drive for us in the winter.

The Schuyler Mansion is an understated jewel amongst the riches to be found in New York State history. I think Philip Schuyler deserves more recognition and laud than he has received thus far. He was a good, godly man, a man of integrity and incredible patriotism. He worked for and sacrificed a great deal for the cause of liberty for our country.

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Thank you, General Schuyler.

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About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (20)

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  1. That sure was a great place to visit! I hope we can go there again sometime in the near future, equipped with our cameras and notebooks.

    I too wrote a post on Elizabeth Schuyler a while back.
    http://msmecomberhistorian.blogspot.com/2008/08/today-in-history-august-9.html

  2. Hi. Just want to say that I like your blog. It is full of great information about travel. Keep up the good work!

  3. I will be the first to tell you what a nice post this is.

  4. Jodapoet says:

    What a wonderful post. The photos are exceptional and I love the furnishing within the mansion. Love the blog.

  5. beauty says:

    great post..i like the pic of the mansion,it`s nice

  6. This is a lovely post, Mrs. M. The photographs of the mansion reveal its homey atmosphere. 🙂

    You are right; Philip Schuyler deserves a lot more laud than he has frequently gotten. Unfortunately, he has been one of the most tragic instances of venerable historical figures being slighted and forgotten.

    Daniel Webster said some pretty amazing things about him. In conversation with one of Schuyler’s grandchildren, he said:

    “When a life of your grandfather is to be published I should like to write the preface. I was brought up with New England prejudices against him, but I consider him as second only to Washington in the services he rendered to the country in the war of the Revolution. His zeal and devotion to the cause, under difficulties which would have paralyzed the efforts of most men, and his fortitude and courage when assailed by malicious attacks upon his public and private character, every one of which was proved to be false, have impressed me with a strong desire to express publicly my sense of his great qualities.”

    Wow! Second only to Washington in his services? And that for a man who was painfully afflicted with the gout since his twenties!

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  7. Thanks for your comments, everyone. Second only to Washington– that is quite a compliment!

  8. Injane says:

    Wow. You know, if the story about the Indian and the tomahawk is legendary, I wonder how the notch got on the stairway rail. Maybe a careless waitress… or shall we say, the “dumbwaiter.” 😀 >heeheehee<

  9. chilly says:

    Hi!
    WOW! Love to see this mansion in person! Awesome post.
    Thanks!

  10. Lori {Schuyler descendant} says:

    I’m so glad to see these photos. My mother’s side of my family are Schuylers {her maiden name}, her brother {named after Philip Schuyler} did our geneology research. I’ve never been able to travel to the mansion so I’m very happy to be able to see this article and photos. Very proud too.

  11. Lori {Schuyler descendant} says:

    Yes I am very happy that you shared the photos and the other information. So thank you again. My uncle passed away years ago without ever owning a computer. I know he would have been amazed to do much of his research online. He wrote to many places for family information and also traveled to meet distant Schuyler “kin” {as he worded it}, and at times he was given documents and even old photos by some of our generous relatives. I was too young at that time to fully realize just what he was accomplishing. But I am the one who now has the boxes of amazing family history that he left behind.

    I live in Arizona and was born and raised here, but one of my dreams is to relocate to where my Schuyler ancestors lived. I love history and old homes. Many areas of New York look so beautiful from what I’ve seen in photos, {much nicer than the Arizona desert}.
    I’d love to hear from any Schuyler relatives too, it would be nice to hear from any of you.

  12. SCHUYLER ENDRES!!(9-greats grandaughter) says:

    He’s my 9-greats-grandfather on my mother’s side. Obviously, my parents named me after him =D

  13. Talia Schuyler says:

    hello my name is Talia Schuyler General philip Schuyler is my great great(i dont know how many greats) uncle.

  14. Wow! The Schuyler name lives on! He was a great man. 🙂

  15. Talia Schuyler says:

    Yep the name lives on but i dont know that much about him.Also the name Philip Schuyler has lived on thats my dad’s name. and i think the name might end cause my dad only had me and my sisters, no brothers.

  16. Talia Schuyler says:

    its also kind f funny my dad has both general anthony wayne and philip schuyler on both sides Sort of strange.

  17. Talia Schuyler says:

    not both sides i ment one on his moms side one on his dads side.

  18. Talia Schuyler says:

    I like your pictures they’re very good.

  19. Sharon(Schuyler) McDermit says:

    I am also a Schuyler. All I know some Schuyler brothers came from New York and lived in Ohio before their off spring settled in Indiana. My Great Grandfather was George Washington Schuyler. I would like to know more about the Schuyler family.
    I hope you can help.