Friday, June 17, 2011

NYC Vintage Image Of The Day: Who Is Buried In Grant's Tomb? 1897

Who's buried in Grant's Tomb? You can see for yourself by heading up to Riverside Drive and West 122nd Street—where the 18th U.S. President and his wife Julia rest in peace. And they certainly should be comfortable: Overlooking the Hudson River, General Grant National Memorial is the largest mausoleum in North America.

What I never realized is how grand Grant's heritage was. He was, of course, an American Civil War general and is pictured on the $50 bill. But when he died in 1885, 1 million spectators watched his seven-mile funeral parade from City Hall to Riverside Park.

Grant's family agreed to have his remains placed in New York City, with $1 million raised to build the 8,000 ton monument, made of granite and marble and completed April 27, 1897. Again, New Yorkers gathered,—to the tune of 1 million, observing what was declared a public holiday in New York City.

Julia Grant died Dec. 14, 1902, and she was placed beside Ulysses, wearing a daisy print dress and floppy beach hat. Okay, I made that part up.

In its early days, the General Grant National Memorial's annual visitation exceeded 500,000 annually, trumping the Statue of Liberty through World War I. In the years that followed, like the rest of New York, Grant's Tomb started decaying, until legislation in 1994 restored it to its original grandeur.