After a years-long push, the cottage where former U.S. President and Union general Ulysses S. Grant spent the last days of his life has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Grant cottage atop Mount McGregor in Saratoga County looks the same as it did in 1885, where former President Ulysses S. Grant, suffering cancer of the throat, raced the clock to finish his memoirs.
The house with a large wrap-around porch is owned by the State of New York and is maintained by the Friends of the Ulysses S. Grant cottage, which has for years provided tours to history enthusiasts and curious journalists…the Friends’ David Hubbard showed me around in 2015.
"This is what we call the sickroom, or Grant's bedroom, he couldn't lay down because of the tumor in his throat. He would sit in one chair and put his feet up on the other. They gave him a board to put across here so he could use it as a writing desk."
This week, New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of the 21st District announced that the cottage has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Stefanik extended her “sincere congratulations to the Friends of Grant Cottage Trustees and Staff for their commitment to preserving and promoting this beautiful historical landmark in the North Country.”
The six-year application effort also got a big boost from then-Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, who visited the Grant Cottage in June 2019.
“I think that it’s a very important thing to do. I’m excited to get it done. It’ll take a while. We have a lot Grant enthusiasts in the Senate and the House. And I will enlist them to make sure that the cottage becomes the landmark it so deserves to be,” said Schumer.
Schumer’s prediction came true with the cottage’s new designation.
During that same visit, Tim Welch, chair of the Friends’ group, said the status would allow the cottage, up a winding mountain road, to receive much-needed upgrades through federal funding. Welch told WAMC the antique cottage was in dire need of one important modern upgrade – a fire suppression system.
“When it’s snowing, this is a terrible road to try to navigate. And if, God forbid, a fire ever occurred up here, they’d never be able to get up here before something terrible happened,” said Welch.
This week, Welch said in a statement that the status “finally puts the Cottage on the national historic tourism map.”