Historic Locust Grove, a National Historic Landmark established c. 1792, is planning a year of programming centering on The Age of Hamilton, the period of time from c. 1770- 1805 that encompasses the American Revolution and the early years of American independence.
Keyed to the arrival in June 2019 of Hamilton: An American Musical, at the Kentucky Center for the Arts, Locust Grove will look at the personalities and events of the era of the American Revolution through the Early National period in depth. Washington, Jefferson, Burr, and Hamilton all were part of the world of William Croghan and George Rogers Clark.
The story of Locust Grove finds its roots in the American Revolution, through the military service of Major William Croghan, who established and lived at Locust Grove from 1792-1822, and his brother-in-law, General George Rogers Clark, who founded Louisville in 1778 and led the Illinois Campaign that brought the western territories under the control of American forces at the same time George Washington commanded the Continental Army in the east. Croghan fought with the Continental Army and was a participant in the battles of Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. He wintered with Continental forces at Valley Forge and witnessed the British surrender at Yorktown in 1781. Washington, Alexander Hamilton, Aaron Burr, the Marquis de Lafayette were all part of the world of both Croghan and Clark.
“The experiences of the people of the Revolutionary era presented in Hamilton are mirrored in the stories of the people of Locust Grove and early Louisville,” says Carol Ely, Executive Director of Locust Grove. “It’s exciting to have the chance to explore the personalities and ideas of the era in fresh new ways.”
Locust Grove kicks off The Age of Hamilton this month with A Winter’s Ball, just in time for Valentine’s Day. This historical ball will be held on Saturday, February 9 from 7:00 – 10:00 pm, and will feature live music and period dancing. Co-sponsored by The Jane Austen Society of North America—Greater Louisville Region, guests will be asked to wear historical dress from their favorite time period as we capture the atmosphere of the ball where Alexander Hamilton met his bride, Eliza Schuyler in 1780.
Guests should look for a trio of Punch with the President evenings in March, April and May focusing on the lives and libations of presidents George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson. Led by visiting historians, including Dr. Matthew Costello of The White House Historical Association, Gwynne Tuell Potts, and historical interpreter Peyton Dixon, these evening programs find connections between the first three presidents, early American history, and Locust Grove, along with period drinks. Locust Grove’s Afternoon Lecture Series, held on the first Wednesday of each month, will focus on revolutionary topics such as African Americans in the Revolution and dueling in Early Kentucky. A subsequent program on June 6, Hamilton: How the Musical Remixes American History, presented by Dr. Richard Bell, will explore the historical origins of the blockbuster musical.
This season of programming at Locust Grove also engages the site’s educational mission, with a professional development opportunity for teachers on February 16, and a student competition where students will perform using historical documents as their inspiration. Thanks to the generosity of the Louisville Theatrical Association/PNC Broadway in Louisville, participants in these programs will have the opportunity to win tickets to see Hamilton when it arrives in Louisville. Members of the public will also have the chance to win tickets for the show.
Finally, Locust Grove’s Age of Hamilton will culminate with The Hamilton Festival on June 16, 2019. This celebration of the Revolution will feature student performances of original pieces, a re-creation of the Hamilton-Burr Duel, a sing-a-long, and presentation on clothing of the period, Aaron Burr’s time in Louisville, and more.
According to Brian Cushing, Locust Grove’s program director, “The site has explored a lot of exciting directions over the years but the contributions to the United States of America by the Revolutionary War veterans connected with Locust Grove, especially George Rogers Clark, remains the cornerstone of our story. Now that Hamilton is shining a spotlight on that era, we’re able to draw our visitors, into the core of our mission of the exploration of history.”
A full calendar of The Age of Hamilton events and more information can be found at www.locustgrove.org/revolution.