What is the General Grant National Memorial?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 23 September 2019
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General Grant National Memorial, also known as Grant’s Tomb, is located in the Morningside Heights area of Manhattan, New York. Situated in Riverside Park, overlooking the Hudson River, it is North America’s largest tomb. General Grant National Memorial was completed in 1897 as a memorial to the accomplishments of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th President of the United States and the commander of the Union Army during the Civil War.

Within General Grant National Memorial, there are two tombs. One tomb is for General Grant and the other tomb is for Julia Dent Grant, his wife. The memorial contains mosaics that depict scenes from the Civil War. The mosaics tell the story of the surrender of the general of the Confederate Army, Robert E. Lee, to General Grant. They also show General Grant’s victorious wins for the Union at the Battles of Chattanooga and Vicksburg during the Civil War.

Elected President of the United States for two terms, General Grant worked to bring the two sides of the Civil War together to form one nation again. When his second term was finished, he set up residence in New York, dying in 1885 of throat cancer. Before his death, he indicated that he wanted his body to remain in New York. Consequently, after he died about 90,000 people from around the globe participated in the largest fundraiser of the time — they raised more than $600,000 US Dollars to construct the tomb in New York.


John Duncan designed the mausoleum at General Grant National Memorial. It was constructed out of marble and granite. When it was completed in 1897, more than one million people were present at the parade and ceremony that dedicated the tomb.

Visitors to General Grant National Memorial can take a self-guided tour or a free guided tour. The guided tours occur during specific times each day. During the winter months or times when visitation is down, guided tours may be held less frequently.

At certain times of the year, there are events held at General Grant National Memorial. For example, there are often jazz concerts held outside the tomb. In addition, presentations on General Grant are sometimes given by National Park Service rangers.

There are not any restaurants or restrooms located on the grounds of General Grant National Memorial. Interestingly, the lack of restrooms is due to an old folk tale. It is believed that Mrs. Julia Grant stated that she did not want any public restrooms near her tomb. The National Park Service has held to her supposed wishes, so visitors should use the restroom before entering the memorial.


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