Location for General Grant National Memorial

Letter from Julia D. Grant to NYC Mayor Grace
Letter from Julia D. Grant to Mayor William Grace.

NPS / Manhattan Historic Sites Archive

Have you ever asked yourself why is Grant laid to rest in New York instead of Ohio, Illinois, or Washington D.C.? Former President Ulysses S. Grant died without selecting a burial place for himself so it was ultimately his wife Julia's decision to make after he passed away.

In Julia's own words (as shown in the image above), "Riverside was selected by myself and my family as the burial place for my husband, General Grant. First, because I believe New York was his preference. Second, it is near the residence that I hope to occupy as long as I live, and where I will be able to visit his resting place often. Third, I have believed, and am now convinced, that the tomb will be visited by as many of his countrymen there as it would be at any other place. Fourth, the offer of a park in New York was the first which observed and unreservedly assented to the only condition imposed by General Grant himself, namely, that I should have a place by his side."

Riverside Park was the perfect location for the entombment of General Grant. Located at W. 123rd Street and Riverside Drive, it was one of the highest points in Manhattan, it was right on the edge of the Hudson River, all of New Jersey had clear views of the mausoleum, and there were almost no trees or other buildings in the area because the area was all designated park land and well outside the city limits.

Frederick Grant came to view the location just days after Grant's death and agreed with the Mayor's suggestion that this was the perfect location for Grant to be laid to rest. Frederick told the rest of the family about the location and they all agreed it would be the best for former President Ulysses S. Grant and eventually for Julia as well.

The temporary tomb was erected in just a few short days and the funeral procession led 1.5 million views to the newly chosen location. His remains have stayed on this property from August 8, 1885 to today. Julia's remains joined Grant in the finished mausoleum in 1902.

Last updated: August 17, 2018

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