General Grant National Memorial
OVERVIEW: About this Audio-Described Brochure
Welcome to the audio-described version of the General Grant National Memorial official brochure. Through text and audio descriptions of photos, illustrations, and maps, this version interprets a two-sided color brochure that visitors receive when they come to General Grant. The brochure explores the history of the memorial, the legacy of Ulysses S. Grant, and planning for your visit to the site. This audio version lasts about 19 minutes, which we have divided into 19 sections (including this one), as a way to improve the listening experience. Sections 3-6 cover the front of the brochure and include an introduction to Grant's life story and the inspiration for the mausoleum (tomb) to be built. Sections 7-11 cover the back of the brochure, which consists of Grant's accomplishments in his Presidency, the fundraising for the mausoleum, and planning your visit to the memorial. Other highlights include a location map to help you with public transit to the memorial.
OVERVIEW: General Grant National Memorial
General Grant National Memorial, located in New York, is one of the nine Manhattan Sites of the U.S. National Park Service in New York City. The Memorial is surrounded by New York City's Riverside Park, on a bluff above the Hudson River on the northwest side of Manhattan. The mausoleum is the final resting place of President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia. The memorial is the largest mausoleum in North America, which testifies to a people’s gratitude for the man who ended the bloodiest conflict in American history as Commanding General of the Union Army and, then, as President of the United States. He strove to heal a nation after a civil war and make rights for all citizens a reality. Come stand inside this impressive marble and granite tribute to Ulysses S. Grant, and experience its immensity as a measure of how grateful our nation was at his death and continues to be today. Come experience the final resting place of Ulysses and Julia Grant at the mausoleum, then stop by the visitor center, where you can explore the Eastern National bookstore and gift shop and experience an audio-described park film about Grant's life. Inquire with staff about upcoming special events and seasonally available tours of the Memorial. To find out more about what resources might be available or to contact the park directly, visit the "Accessibility" and "Plan Your Visit" sections at the end of this audio-described brochure.
OVERVIEW: Front Side of Brochure
The front of the brochure includes, from top to bottom, a close-up of the ornamentation on the outside of the mausoleum, including the engraving of Grant's Presidential campaign slogan "Let Us Have Peace" text with a summary of Grant's life and why the mausoleum was built to honor his legacy. A photo of Grant is nestled in the text. The lower third of the brochure is a sunlit photo of the granite mausoleum.
IMAGE: Let Us Have Peace Engraving on Outside of Mausoleum
DESCRIPTION: The center of the photo features ornate figures carved into the light granite, with the engraving of Grant's presidential campaign slogan, "Let us have Peace," carved on the front of the mausoleum in an ornate box. Two female Greek characters sit against the rectangular outline surrounding the slogan. The figures each sit with their backs against the left and right sides of the box, mirrored, one leg extended, the other tucked in close with a raised knee. The figure on the right cradles a sword, while the figure on the left cradles a long bundle rested on her shoulder, mirroring the position of the sword. The ledge upon which the engravings sit is lined with small sculpted lion heads, protruding from an engraved pattern that makes up the facade.
CREDIT: NPS / Mark Muse.
IMAGE AND TEXT: Among the Most Revered of Men
DESCRIPTION: The lower half of the brochure is a large photograph of the front entrance of the mausoleum (tomb) with a partly cloudy blue sky, during a summer day, green leaves on the trees framing the sides of the image, with most of the light-colored granite structure bathed in the bright afternoon sunlight. Solid Greek columns stand on the portico above the granite steps, in front of the boxy lower part of the mausoleum. A rotunda of columns and a stepped conical roof of granite blocks caps this grand monument of remembrance. At either side of the stairs leading up to the monument is a large stone bird, wings outstretched, perched on pedestals.
CAPTION: Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia rest in red granite coffins in an open crypt in the center of a circular gallery inside the memorial. Niches in the wall surrounding the coffins contain busts of Grant’s best generals.
CREDIT: NPS / Mark Muse
This large, classically proportioned mausoleum honors the Civil War general who saved the nation from dissolution and the president who worked to usher in a new era of peace and equality for all Americans. Ulysses S. Grant, a plain-spoken unassuming man who studiously avoided pomp and ceremony, had volunteered his services for the Union effort when the Civil War erupted in 1861. In doing what he considered simply his duty, he emerged after four years of fighting as one of the great military leaders in history. Aggressiveness, speed, tenacity, and the ability to adjust his plans in the face of unexpected impediments all helped to bring him victory.
As great as he was in war, Grant showed magnanimity and compassion in peace. He granted humane and generous terms when Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to him on April 9, 1865, at Appomattox Court House. As president, he pardoned many former Confederate leaders, at the same time insisting on protecting the full political equality of former slaves. He was also concerned that American Indian tribes be treated with dignity and respect. His fundamental desire for peace was reflected in his efforts to solve international disputes by arbitration rather than by threat of war. At the time of his death in 1885, Grant was universally respected by northerners and southerners alike.
Because of Grant’s status as a national hero, most Americans assumed he would be buried in Washington, D.C., but his family preferred New York City. Grant himself had no strong preference; his only desire was for his wife Julia to be buried next to him. The funeral on August 8, 1885, was one of the most spectacular events New York had ever seen. Buildings all over the city were draped in black. An estimated one million people crowded sidewalks, filled windows, stood on rooftops, and climbed trees and telephone poles for a view of the procession, which stretched seven miles and took five hours to pass.
Grant’s remains were placed in a temporary vault until an appropriate memorial could be funded and built. On April 27, 1897, the 75th anniversary of Grant’s birth, thousands of people, including diplomats from 26 countries, attended the dedication ceremony for the completed memorial. The dedication parade, led by President William McKinley, was almost as large as Grant’s funeral parade. Julia Grant reviewed the ceremony sitting next to President McKinley. She was laid by her husband’s side after her death in 1902.
IMAGE: Grant Portrait as General
DESCRIPTION: A small black-and-white image of Ulysses S. Grant in his general uniform appears from behind the text, with his face clearly visible. Grant has a short-trimmed beard and is looking to one side, pensively, while his face is aimed at the camera. A dark wide-brimmed hat hides his hair. A dark coat with metal buttons and other adornments covers most of his white collared shirt. Grant is leaning up against a tree with one of his hands.
CREDIT: Library of Congress.
OVERVIEW: Back Side of Brochure
The back side of the brochure has nine images, two sections of text, and a simple map of the surrounding neighborhood that is in a "planning your visit" section. A color photo with the ornate ceiling of the mausoleum lends a lofty and open sense to the structure. The lower portion of this photo fades into the story, entitled "Milestones of Grant's Presidency." There are two black-and-white portraits, one of a Native American man and one of an African American man, plus a painting of Yellowstone, the Union Jack (British flag), and a black-and-white photo of a Civil War report. This middle section is divided into Civil and Human Rights, Conservation, and Foreign Affairs. The lower third of the brochure has a black-and-white panoramic photo of the mausoleum overlooking the Hudson River, with a detailed cut-out photo of one of granite eagle statues placed to one side over the panoramic photo. Text about "A grateful nation," with a small black-and-white drawing or lithograph, of an African American man is in the lower-left corner. And a small location map with public transit information is in the lower-right corner, along with text detailing directions, operating hours, and contact information.
TEXT: Milestones of Grant’s Presidency
This section describes the major milestones of Grant’s presidency, which includes his efforts in civil and human rights, conservation, and foreign affairs.
IMAGES and TEXT: Civil and Human Rights
IMAGE 1 of 3: Memorial Dome
DESCRIPTION: Looking almost straight up, the lofty and ornate off-white plaster ceiling inside the mausoleum is lit in the center with natural light. Sculpted female allegorical figures, in loose clothing, are set around the edges of the domed ceiling.
CREDIT: NPS / Mark Muse.
IMAGE 2 of 3: Hiram Revels
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white portrait of a man, angled to the right, his head turned slightly toward the camera. His hair and beard are trimmed short. He has a slight, wry smile. He wears a white collared shirt, a tie, and a black jacket with large lapels that reach just short of his shoulders.
CREDIT: Library of Congress.
IMAGE 3 of 3: Ely Parker
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white portrait of a man, angled to the left. He looks away from the camera. His brow is slightly furrowed. He has long, thin sideburns, a sparse, scraggly goatee, and a trimmed mustache that hangs down at the corners of his mouth. He wears a small black bowtie, a white collared shirt, and a light-toned suit jacket.
CREDIT: National Archives.
RELATED TEXT: Grant supported efforts to ensure justice and equality under the law for African Americans so that someone like Hiram Revels of Mississippi could become the first black man elected to the U.S. Senate (1869). Passage of the 15th Amendment (1870) guaranteed voting rights to African American males and enforced legislation to curb violence by white supremacists like the Ku Klux Klan. To curb abuses by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Grant replaced corrupt agents and chose a Seneca Indian, Ely Parker, as Commissioner of Indian Affairs. And to end patronage, he introduced reforms later used by President Chester A. Arthur as a model for the Civil Service Commission instituted in 1883.
IMAGE and TEXT: Conservation
DESCRIPTION: A white piece of paper titled "WAR OF THE REBELLION: Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies" is superimposed over a painting of the Grand Canyon. In the painting, afternoon light is illuminating the canyon. The view is centered on a waterfall in the distance, at the other end of the canyon. The canyon walls loom up to either side, directing our gaze toward the waterfall. The foreground is covered in shadow. To the left of the frame, a sparse pine tree stands tall in the foreground, with a shaded pine grove stretching out.
CREDIT: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Lent by the Department of the Interior Museum.
On March 1, 1872, President Grant signed a law declaring that Yellowstone (shown here in Thomas Moran’s 1872 painting, Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone) would forever be “dedicated and set apart as a public park or pleasuring ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people.” This, America’s first national park, has been called the best idea the nation ever had, and it laid the foundation for creating the national park system. Passage of the Timber Culture Act in 1873, a sequel to the 1862 Homestead Act, granted settlers 160-acre plots if they would cultivate trees on one-fourth of the land for 10 years. The act revealed the growing public concern with conserving forest resources and provided a boost to a growing conservation movement.
IMAGE: War of the Rebellion
DESCRIPTION: A piece of paper titled "WAR OF THE REBELLION: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies." There is additional text on the page, but it is not readable.
CAPTION: Publication of the massive 128-volume Official Records of Union and Confederate Armies was authorized during Grant's second term as president.
CREDIT: Cornell University Library.
IMAGE and TEXT: Foreign Affairs
DESCRIPTION: A British Union Jack flag. Red strips with white lines make up a cross, on top of an X pattern, on a navy blue background.
CREDIT: BritishFlag US.
The May 8, 1871, treaty with Great Britain, known as the Treaty of Washington, was the most important event in foreign policy during Grant’s presidency. It helped resolve several boundaries and other disputes between the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, especially over the damages inflicted upon the United States by the CSS Alabama and other Confederate cruisers built and equipped in England during the Civil War. The Treaty of Washington, which demonstrated the value of resolving problems through negotiation instead of war, has been called “the greatest treaty of actual and immediate arbitration the world has ever seen."
IMAGE and TEXT: A Grateful Nation
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white portrait of a man. His body is angled slightly to the left of the viewer, but his head is turned to the right. He has short, curly hair, a mustache that points straight out to either side, and a curly beard that puffs out from his chin. He wears thin-framed glasses with small lenses, a white collared shirt with the lapels turned up, a tie, and a suit jacket.
CAPTION: Richard T. Greener
CREDIT: Public Domain
The Grant Memorial was designed by architect John Duncan. Rising to an imposing 150 feet from a bluff overlooking the Hudson River, it took 12 years to build and remains the largest mausoleum in North America. Its great size was meant to express the profound admiration Americans felt for the Civil War commander and president who – credited with saving the nation from dissolution – was propelled to the forefront of America’s pantheon of heroes and declared the equal of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.
Spearheaded by the Grant Monument Association, some 90,000 people from around the United States and the world donated over $600,000 to construct the memorial, the largest public fundraising effort up to that time. Initial fundraising was led by Richard T. Greener, the first black graduate of Harvard and a Grant supporter who credited the general with his advancement. Many African Americans contributed to the building fund.
IMAGE: Riverside Park in 1909
DESCRIPTION: A black-and-white image of Riverside Park in 1909. To the right of the image is the memorial in the distance and a green field that stretches to the road in the foreground. Across this road to the left side of the image is a gentle hill that slopes down to the left edge of the image. In the background, several trees and shrubs follow the curvature of the slope downwards
CAPTION: Riverside Park in 1909
CREDIT: Library of Congress.
IMAGE: Eagle Sculpture
DESCRIPTION: A stone statue of a bald eagle with its wings outstretched, wingtips high, its head lowered as though it is just about to take off in flight. It is perched on a stone pedestal with four stars in a horizontal line on its front
CREDIT: NPS / Mark Muse.
Map: Grant's Tomb
A map of a section of upper Manhattan, depicting the location of the memorial. Central Park is located in the bottom right corner of the map, while the memorial and visitor center are indicated at the upper left corner. The Hudson river marks the right-most border of the map. Columbia University is marked in the center of the map, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue.
TEXT: Planning Your Visit
Subway: Take the #1 train to the 116th Street/Columbia University. Stop at Broadway. Walk six blocks north to 122nd Street and two blocks west to Riverside Drive.
Riverside Drive is also accessible from the Henry Hudson Parkway at several points. Parking is permitted near the memorial. Service animals are welcome.
The memorial is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. For information or to arrange for group visits call 212-666-1640.
We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For more information about our services, please ask a ranger, call, or check on our website.
OVERVIEW: More Information
General Grant National Memorial is one of over 390 parks in the National Park System. To learn more about national parks, visit www.nps.gov.
General Grant National Memorial
122nd St. and Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
For firearms laws and policies, check the park website.