Selection of Burial Site  Burial The Grant Monument Association
Construction and Dedication Early History and Further Development The Tomb's Decline and Restoration

Grant's Tomb: History
Selection of Burial Site

The issue of Ulysses S. Grant's burial site immediately arose upon his death. A figure of worldwide renown, Grant was recognized as one of history's great captains and the pre-eminent American of his time. It was widely understood that his final resting place should reflect his stature.

Although inclined to choose West Point as a burial site, Grant ruled out this option out of concern that his wife Julia could not be buried beside him when her time came. While dying of throat cancer, Grant indicated to his oldest son, Fred, several possibilities for a burial site:

  • St. Louis - Grant had lived here for several years before the Civil War.

  • Galena, Illinois - This was Grant's hometown from before the Civil War until after his presidency.

  • New York City - Grant lived here the bulk of his last four years. He was grateful to the people of New York for their kindness and generosity after a financial disaster hit him and his family.

The one essential condition Grant established was that a place be reserved for his wife at his side.


The last photograph taken of Grant, four days before his death.

After struggling with throat cancer for months, Grant died on July 23, 1885, in a cottage on Mount McGregor, New York, near Saratoga.

Mayor William R. Grace (who would later serve as president of the Grant Monument Association) offered to set aside land in one of New York City's parks for burial, and the Grant family chose Riverside Park after declining the possibility of Central Park. Riverside Park included one of the highest points of elevation in Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River. The park was in its formative years at the time, and it was believed that the tomb would stand as a central theme for future park development.

 

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