The Morris-Jumel House is Manhattan's oldest extant residential structure and is the centerpiece of the Jumel Terrace Historic District on Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Built in 1765 as a summer retreat for British Col. Roger Morris and his wife Mary Philipse, the house survives as a fine showpiece of Georgian architecture prior to the Revolutionary War...As that fateful conflict unfolded, Gen. George Washington occupied the mansion as his own home and headquarters in September and October of 1776 during the advantageous Battle of Harlem Heights.But the most fascinating proprietor of the house was the "adventuress" Eliza Jumel. In 1810, she acquired the estate from her husband, French merchant Stephen Jumel. Despite rubbing elbows with many of the social élite here and in Paris, Eliza's dubious reputation occasionally made her a magnet for public ridicule. Stephen’s death in 1832 left her a widow, briefly, for she soon re-married—this time to Aaron Burr, formerly Vice-President to Thomas Jefferson—in a union that was also short-lived.In 1855 one writer described Madame Jumel’s extravagant estate as “an earthly paradise, minus the angels.” Indeed, her reclusiveness in her dotage was as storied as her adventurous life in her youth.In 1903, the city purchased the Morris-Jumel Mansion, which has since been a house museum featuring nine restored period rooms.
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