Manhattan's Oldest House Celebrates Milestone with Festival on Halloween

The oldest house in Manhattan celebrated a milestone year with a festival on Halloween. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.

Just steps away from the busy streets of Washington Heights sits Manhattan's oldest house.

"The mansion is a witness to history," said Carol Ward, executive director of the Morris Jumel Mansion museum. "It's been in the same spot for 250 years, and so it has seen pre-revolutionary war in New York City."

The Morris-Jumel Mansion was built in 1765 for British colonel Roger Morris. It later became George Washington's headquarters during the Battle of Harlem Heights, and later, the home of a rather controversial character in history, Eliza Jumel, who would marry former Vice President Aaron Burr.

"She has been said to have been a prostitute walking the streets of Providence, Rhode Island, to have tricked her husband into marrying her by pretending to be on her death bed," said Margaret Oppenheimer, the author of "Remarkable Rise of Eliza Jumel: A Story of Marriage and Money in the Early Republic." "She is also said to have defrauded her first husband of his fortune,"

All this history and more was highlighted Saturday as part of a year-long celebration and 250th birthday edition of the Morris-Jumel Mansion's annual Culture and Arts Festival. The event featured food, tours of the mansion and a performance by Aaron Burr himself - or, the actor who plays him in the musical "Hamilton."

It was an afternoon that invited visitors from near and far to step back into time, learn and discover the treasures right in their backyard.

"I've walked by this building many, many times and never come in, so I'm glad that I had the opportunity to come in today," said one perosn who attended the festival.

"It's just so wonderful how much history we have in New York City that we don't really acknowledge," said Leslie Odom Jr., an actor in "Hamilton."

Some even got into the spirit of the holiday at the event.

"I'm really into history and visiting historic buildings, and since it's Halloween, I thought it would be perfect," said one person who attended the festival.

"It's Halloween, and I wanted to do something special," said another.

It made for a fun treat for kids and adults alike.

If you missed Saturday's event, there's no need to worry. The Morris-Jumel Mansion is open all year round with several events and activities.

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