When this victorious Union commander of the Civil War, great general and U.S. President died, his funeral procession made its way through New York City on August 8, 1885, it seemed everyone in the city was participating. Among those mourners were three United States presidents. The column of mourners who accompanied Grant was seven miles long. Crowds packed every square inch of available viewing space on the ground. Buildings were draped in black in Grant's honor.
Any of old the Civil War enemies that carried grudges, they set them aside. Grant's pallbearers were Generals William Tecumseh Sherman and Philip Sheridan, who had fought for the Union, and Simon Bolivar Buckner and Joseph Johnston, who had fought for the Confederacy. - Union and Confederate officers in the procession rode together in the same carriages.
The first General's tomb in Riverside Park was quite primitive. Despite that it was labeled as a "temporary", Grant's body stayed there for nearly twelve years before supporters raised money for the construction of a permanent resting place. It was the biggest public fundraising campaign in history: some 90,000 people from around the world donated over $600,000 to build the monumental Grant's Tomb.
Architect John Duncan designed the tomb overlooking the Hudson River in New York's Morningside Heights.
This postcard picture must have been taken long before 1930 because the George Washington bridge is not visible (it was opened in 1931). - Please notice the Overlook Pavilion on the left and the Claremont Hotel on the far right. It was not heavily wooded as it is now.
The monument is partly modeled on one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Grant's granite and marble monument includes mosaics depicting Grant's victories at Vicksburg and Chattanooga and General Robert E. Lee's surrender to Grant at Appomattox.
Grant's Tomb is the second largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere (the Garfield Memorial is the first).Rendered in an eclectic neoclassical style, the monument is adorned by Doric columns on the lower level and a cupola above. It rises
150 feet above the ground and over 280 feet above the banks of the Hudson River
This postcard picture was taken in 1937 (please notice that the George Washington bridge -opened in 1931- is in background). - In front (right) is the Riverside Church, corner of the 120th Street. It is quite visible because now it stands there, over the entire block between the 119th and 120th Street, the Inter Church large building.
A million people, including President William McKinley, attended the tomb's dedication on April 27, 1897, ten days after Grant's body had been moved there, including his wife, Julia Dent Grant. The Tomb was -- and still is -- the largest tomb in North America.
Bio of Ulysses S. Grant, 1822-1885
Born April 27, 1822, for much of his life, Ulysses S. Grant failed at every occupation he tried. But in the United States Army, his remarkable talents as a soldier and leader saved his country from falling apart.
A West Point graduate, Grant served in the Mexican War and at various frontier posts. He rapidly rise through the ranks during
the Civil War. Grant's tenacity and boldness led to victories in the Battles of Vicksburg and Chattanooga and Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox.
Rendered in an eclectic neoclassical style, the monument is adorned by Doric columns on the lower level and a cupola above. It rises 150 feet above the ground and over 280 feet above the banks of the Hudson River (A 2004 - winter picture)
In 1866 Congress awarded Grant his fourth star making him the first full General of the Armies.
A grateful nation twice elected Grant to serve as President of the United States, from 1869 to 1877. Grant's accomplishments include signing the act establishing the first national park, Yellowstone, on March 1, 1872.
After the Presidency, Grant settled in New York City. Ulysses S. Grant died of throat cancer on July 23, 1885 in Mount McGregor, New York, and was laid to rest in New York City on August 8th.
The upkeep, maintenance and management of the site is under the jurisdiction of a federal agency, the NPS (National Park Service).
During the 1960's and 1970's, there was a general decline of patriotism and misdirection. In 1959 the NPS admitted that when it assumed control of the Grant's Tomb, "the Service had no program for the site."
Additionally, the NPS spent much needed government funds in 1972 on the construction of abstract mosaic benches, which have been widely criticized for having little to do with the monument and for detracting from its architectural and aesthetic character.
Ten years later, the NPS adopted an unfortunate plan under which the trophy cases in the two reliquary rooms, designed by the tomb's architect, were destroyed. Other invaluable features of the site's accompanying archival collection inherited by the NPS, including drawings submitted in the competition for Grant's Tomb and information regarding original contributors to the monument, were either disposed of intentionally or otherwise lost.
During the summer, every Wednesday evening, there is a concert at the Grant's Tomb - People bring their own chairs and enjoy
In the late 20th century, the tomb was allowed to deteriorate to a state of severe disrepair. It was considered by many to be an eyesore and a desecration.
In the 1990s, after a Columbia University student released a paper to the news media and Grant's descendants threatened to remove the remains and have them buried elsewhere, the NPS was embarrassed and spent $1.8 million to restore the tomb and to provide for upkeep. The restoration was completed and the tomb rededicated on April 27, 1997.
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