G is for Grant

Located at W 122nd St & Riverside Dr, New York, 10027
Memorial Website:  https://www.nps.gov/gegr/index.htm

General Grant National Memorial

Referred to as Grant’s Tomb, General Grant National Memorial is the most photogenic memorial in the New York City area. Surrounded by the beautiful Riverside Park, and beautifully symmetric, it is visible even from the boats on the Hudson.

This memorial to Ulysses S. Grant, victorious Union commander of the Civil War and president of the United States, is a granite structure, 150 feet high, and 90 feet wide on each side. An estimated 80,000 people pay their respects to President Grant annually. The monument hosts art and events throughout the year.

Designed by architect John H. Duncan, the granite and marble structure was completed in 1897 and remains one of the largest mausoleums in the United States. On April 27, 1897, an estimated 1.5 million people attended the parade and dedication ceremony for the Grant Monument. In 1959, management was transferred to the National Park Service, and the site was renamed the General Grant National Memorial.

Donations from around the world were made totaling more than $600,000 toward the construction of the Grant Monument. At that time it was the largest public fundraising effort ever. 

The classical lines of the memorial’s architecture are very impressive. Doubtlessly this is one of America’s most ornamental examples of commemorative architecture.

Grant, a West Point graduate, served in the U.S.-Mexican War and the Civil War. His leadership and war skills led to victories in the battles of Vicksburg and Chattanooga and Commander Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. In 1866, Congress awarded Grant his fourth star making him the first ‘General of the Army of the United States.’ Grant was elected twice to serve as president of the United States, in 1868 and 1872. 

The mausoleum, accessed by going down a flight of steps, contains the red granite sarcophagi of Grant and his wife Julia Dent Grant. 

Scenes from the battles are depicted in mosaics in the tomb along with other artwork. The collection includes historic objects and memorabilia associated with Ulysses S. Grant, military objects, bronze busts and statues, and the archives of the General Grant Monument Association, the private organization responsible for designing and building the mausoleum. Flags from the Union Army regiments commanded by Grant along with military details, are also displayed.

The message emblazoned on the facade of the memorial, ‘LET US HAVE PEACE’ is from Grant’s note accepting the nomination for president in 1868. It became his unofficial campaign slogan as well. The message coexists with many war-like eagles on the premises.

The memorial is surrounded by Riverside Park, originally designed in 1874 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.A viewing pavilion overlooking the Hudson River was not accessible to the public when I last visited in October 2022. Same with the Visitor Center and restroom facilities.

A 400 ft mosaic Rolling Bench was created by artist Pedro Silva and the City Arts Workshop, around the memorial’s plaza, in 1973, with involvement from community volunteers including hundreds of children.

Comments (5)

  1. Pingback: Reflections on April Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2023 | The Big Jackfruit Tree

  2. Jeanne Friedrichs

    Ria has influenced me to take a closer look next time I am at the Grant Tomb in Manhattan. Thanks.

  3. Mrs Fever

    It’s a highly recognizable structure, even for those of us who have never visited it in person — and I never knew that at the time, it garnered the largest amount of donated funds ever!

  4. Janice Cooke

    What a magnificent memorial. There’s so much to admire about it.

    1. Ria (Post author)

      It is indeed very beautiful! And the walks in the Riverside Park, along the Hudson River, are so enjoyable.



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