AT HISTORIC GRANT COTTAGE, SITE WHERE LEGENDARY PERSONAL MEMOIRS OF ULYSSES S. GRANT WERE COMPLETED, SCHUMER LAUNCHES MAJOR PUSH TO DESIGNATE SARATOGA GEM AS A NATIONAL HISTORIC LANDMARK; OFFICIAL DESIGNATION WOULD BE A BOON TO CAPITAL REGION TOURISM ECONOMY
Grant Cottage In Saratoga County Is Where The Legendary Personal Memoirs Of Ulysses S. Grant Were Completed & President Grant Died
Standing At The Famed Cottage, Schumer Urges Feds To Designate Site As National Historic Landmark, Providing Increased Opportunity For Federal Funding & Boost For Tourism In Saratoga County
Schumer To Feds: Grant Cottage Is An Upstate Treasure With A Plethora Of History; It’s Time To Recognize It As Such
Standing at the historic Grant Cottage in Saratoga County, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today called on the National Parks Service (NPS) to designate the U.S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site a National Historic Landmark as soon as possible. During the final years of his life, President Ulysses S. Grant traveled to Joseph W. Drexel’s cottage in Wilton, New York, where he finished work on the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant, one of American literature’s true classics. That same cottage—today known as Grant Cottage—was also where President Grant passed away on July 23, 1885, surrounded by his family. Schumer explained that not only would the designation further protect the historical integrity of Grant Cottage and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains by opening up increased opportunities for federal preservation funding for the site, but most importantly, would help draw much-deserved attention to the historical significance of the property for generations to come.
“Beyond being the final residence of President Grant and location where the incomparable Personal Memoirs of Ulysses Grant were authored, the Grant Cottage grounds are home to some of the most breathtaking views and landscapes in all of New York State, all of which deserve to be preserved for generations to come. With the site over a century old, ensuring this property has access to all the federal resources and support possible is a must,” said Senator Schumer. “That’s why today I’m calling on the National Park Service to officially designate Grant Cottage as a National Historic Landmark, as soon as possible, to both increase the likelihood of the site receiving federal preservation funding while also bringing sorely-deserved attention to the Upstate landmark. Grant Cottage is one of Upstate New York’s true hidden treasures, with the history to prove it, and it should be recognized by the federal government as such.”
Schumer explained that the NPS designating the U.S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site as a National Historic Landmark would have myriad benefits for the iconic cottage, as well as Saratoga County. First, Schumer explained, certain federal preservation grant programs, for example, the Save America’s Treasures Grant Program, place a priority on awarding funds to National Historic Landmarks. Upon receiving the designation, this funding could then be used for maintenance and upkeep of the Grant Cottage, which was originally built over a century ago. Additionally, Schumer argued that the official National Historic Landmark designation would help increase the name recognition of the Grant Cottage, bringing new tourists to the site and boosting the Saratoga County and Capital Region tourism economy as a result.
Schumer was joined by Steve Porto, Executive Director of Grant Cottage; Tim Welch, President of the Board of Trustees; Todd Shimkus, President of the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce; and local elected officials.
On June 16, 1885, nearing the end of his life thanks to a prolonged battle with throat cancer, President Ulysses S. Grant arrived at Joseph W. Drexel’s cottage in Wilton, New York to complete one of the greatest collections of personal memoirs in the history of the United States. Grant’s longtime friend, Mark Twain, then visited the cottage to discuss President Grant’s progress on his memoirs, and eventually, agreed to publish the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. The book, which focuses primarily on President Grant’s legendary career in the military, is considered one of the true classics of American literature and was referred to by Twain as a “unique and unapproachable literary masterpiece.” Surrounded by friends, family and physicians, President Grant passed away from cancer in the cottage on July 23, 1885, a mere four days after his final proofread of the memoirs.
Known as the final residence of President Ulysses S. Grant, the Grant Cottage continues to stand as an important historical and literary site in both Saratoga County and the entire United States, and a National Historic Landmark designation from the NPS would appropriately recognize it as such. The Grant Cottage opened up to the public in 1890, under the stewardship of the Mount McGregor Memorial Association. Later on in the mid-1900’s, New York State took ownership of the site, operating it as a tourist attraction in Saratoga County. Today, Grant Cottage is run by the Friends of Ulysses S. Grant Cottage, Inc., a volunteer group dedicated to commemorating the legacy and immense history of Grant Cottage.
A copy of Schumer’s letter to the NPS appears below.
Dear Acting Director Smith,
I write in support of designating Grant Cottage, located in Wilton, New York as a National Historic Landmark. This prestigious designation would not only help to further protect the historical integrity of Grant Cottage and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains, but most importantly, would help draw much deserved attention to the historical significance of this property for generations to come.
On June 16, 1885, nearing the end of his life, President Ulysses S. Grant arrived at Joseph W. Drexel’s cottage to complete one of the greatest collection of personal memoirs in United States history. Grant’s longtime friend, Mark Twain, visited the cottage to discuss the progress of the book and ultimately agreed to publish the Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant. The book, which focuses on Grant’s legendary military career, is considered a classic of American literature. Surrounded by family, friends, and physicians, President Grant passed away from throat cancer in the cottage on July 23, 1885, just four days after his final proofread of his memoirs.
Known as the final residence of Ulysses S. Grant, the Grant Cottage continues to stand as an important historical and literary site. Located a few miles from Saratoga Springs, New York, visitors are transported back to 1885 at Grant Cottage. The furnishings of the cottage remain the same as they did during Grant’s six-week stay. In addition, the intricate floral arrangements from Grant‘s funeral are still on display. Steps away from the cottage, visitors can take in the breathtaking views of the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks, the Green Mountains of Vermont, and the Catskills, just as Grant did in 1885.
I urge you to designate Grant Cottage as a National Historic Landmark to uphold the integrity of this important historical site, while also ensuring that the Grant Cottage remains an important tie to America’s history for generations to come. I look forward to working with you on this important issue.