Who we are
Find out about us and what we hope to achieve.
Welcome to the pages of the Aaron Burr House movement. We're an unofficial effort by the members of the West Village Historical Society to turn the townhouse of the famous Aaron Burr into a museum. Our efforts have until now been futile, despite putting a lot of sweat into making a museum out of Burr's house. Not just because of historical preservation and to continue keeping this piece of history alive, but also because it could be a tourist attraction. If for no one else, at least for the history buffs like me. Now obviously the Aaron Burr House museum wouldn't be getting the kind of crazy high numbers of tourists like for example the Blue Cave tour in Split, Croatia gets (it's a place that I visited on my recent trip to Split), but that still doesn't mean that we shouldn't try to make our voices heard.
This movement is unofficial, we can't stress this enough. Plus the West Village Historical Society itself also isn't an officially registered group. We're actually just a bunch of history buffs that met online and got together one day to get out of the house, and have fun together. Obviously we care very deeply about history and since Aaron Burr's house is sort of a local landmark, we thought that turning it into a museum would make for a perfect effort of our little group. Us being history buffs also means that we travel a lot. Quite recently we've been on a group vacation trip sort of thing to Split, Croatia. There we saw a lot of great history dating back to ancient Romans. There were also a lot of great natural beauty there, especially the Blue Cave of Split, which we visited multiple time due to its breathtaking beauty, but that's beside the point now. Let's talk about the topic at hand.
“We cannot control necessity, though we often persuade ourselves that certain things are our choice, when in truth we have been unavoidably impelled to them.”
Who is Aaron Burr exactly?
Many of you are probably now wondering who exactly is Aaron Burr, and why should we care about him. Well answer to that question is a bit complicated. Aaron Burr was a lawyer and third vice president of the United States, who served during Thomas Jefferson's first term, but that's not what most people remember Alan Burr for. More famous thing that Burr did, which people might remember him for, was that he shot one of the Founding Fathers of America, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel.
Short recount of the Burr-Hamilton pistol duel
We realize that we can't just drop this bombshell of an information, that Aaron Burr killed Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel and carry on without addressing it, so here's how things went down, at least what we know from stories of people who witnessed these events.
First we should address the fact which might throw some people off, but it's true, even though some states have slowly started to ban pistol duels as a way of settling disputes, challenging your opponent to a pistol duel was an effective method to sort disagreements, I guess, heh. Even in the early 19th century, when this whole thing between Burr and Hamilton went down. Most people think that pistol duels were banned long before that, but I guess they didn't entirely left the consciousness of folks just yet. Even Hamilton's own son died in a pistol duel a few years before Burr killed him.
Reason for the dispute between Burr and Hamilton were Hamilton's claims that Burr is a dangerous man. Hamilton believed that Burr had connections with the Federalist secession movement in New York, which Burr found insulting. Also keep in mind that if the word got out of Hamiltons opinions of him, Burrs already damaged political career (Jefferson dropped him from his ticket for 1804 election and Burr lost heavily when he tried to became Governor of New York) would be done.
Burr demanded that Hamilton recants all the things that he said about Burr and that he makes a public apology. Hamilton naturally did no such thing, which is why Burr challenged him to a duel. Hamilton accepted and they agreed to have the duel in the same spot that Hamiltons son Phillip died in a duel three years earlier, near Weehawken, New Jersey (where the law also didn't punish killings in duels that much).
Once that the duel started, eyewitnesses who were there said that both of them got off a shot, but Hamilton missed and Burrs bullet hit Hamilton in the hip. Hamilton didn't die from the wound right away, but rather some days later due to the complications from the injuries. Burr wasn't even wounded, and he fled after the duel so as to not be arrested. Some say that after the duel he fled to his house, which was freshly built, and stayed there until "the dust settled".
Importance of the Aaron Burr house
Now that we know a little bit about the historical figure that Aaron Burr certainly was, let's talk about why is his home so important that we here at the West Village Historical Society think it should be turned into a museum. A lot of people even dislike Aaron Burr, calling him the most hated man in American History, and we would have to agree if we are to judge him solely on the fact that he murdered Alexander Hamilton. That was wrong, and there is no other way around it. However that's not the only think that Aaron Burr did.
Despite his flaws, Aaron Burr did a lot of good things. He served with distinction in the Revolutionary War, tried to abolish slavery and give women the right to vote (at least in New York). In general he seemed to have been very keen on equality of all peoples, despite their race or gender. Politics is a nasty business, and no one who deals in them is completely clean, if you know what I mean. There's many dirt and many of the Founding Father had many flaws which little people are aware of.
Us here at the West Village Historical Society being locals and living close to the Burr house, we wanted to make our little corner of New York a bit more inviting to other people interested in history. We think that making the Aaron Burr's house into a museum would be a good way how to do just that. Besides, it doesn't just have a lot of history. It's also a very nice example of architectural design of those times back then. We realize that we can't make West Village the tourist hotspot like some other places, like the previously mentioned Blue Cave in Split (I'm just very fascinated by it), but still, it's worth a shot to make this thing happen.
What can I do to help?
If you want to help our initiative to turn the Aaron Burr house into a museum, you can do so in a number of ways. For starters, if you are from New York and even if you are from the greater New York area, you can get in touch with your local historical societies (official ones) and tell them that you would like to see Aaron Burrs house turned into a museum.
Same request could be made to various local, state and federal offices in charge of culture and history. You can Google what those are in your general area. Historic house museums are kept to a certain standard, and there's definitely work that will need to be done if our efforts actually succeed. That means that we might also need actual help, hands on deck type of help. Get in touch with the West Village Historical Society and ask to join us if you want to help us more directly.
Get in touch if you want to join our cause
Let's preserve our history together
So to sum up, what we want to do with our little effort here is preserve our history. Our country might not have existed for as long some other have existed, but we have a very rich history, which for the most part, we should be proud of. Let's celebrate it by making every piece of it count. Shall we? Your's the West Village Historical Society.