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Monday 20 February 2023

General Grant National Memorial

Happy President's Day 2023!

“Let us have peace”. This, in 1868, was the 18th President of The United States, Ulysses G. Grant’s campaign slogan. Right here in NYC, on the doorstep of The Glam Reaper Podcast and Muldowney Memorials headquarters, is not only a National Park but the largest mausoleum in North America. It is the final resting place of such President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife, Julia Dent Grant. President Grant actively helped heal a nation post-civil war and insure all rights for the citizens of his country. His original choice of burial ground was his alma mater in West Point, however; they did not allow burial of women, so he dismissed this idea. This alone shows the nature of the kind of man he was. The largest public fundraising campaign in the world at the time was held to raise money to build this tomb. $600,000 was raised, which truly showed the impact he made on all walks of life across the globe.

Forming the outline of a cross, the interior of the building is largely composed of Lee and Carrara marble from Italy and Massachusetts. The upper level consists of a gallery, enclosed by a paneled dome which is 105 feet above floor level. At the Crypt level, there are 2 sarcophagi, made of Wisconsin red granite, containing the remains of both Ulysses and Julia Grant which are then surrounded in this circular crypt by 5 statues of other Civil War generals. Even though it was completed in 1897 by Architect John Duncan, it is still to this day, the largest mausoleum in the country! There is a riddle or joke that asks, “who is buried at Grant’s Tomb?” The answer of course, is “No one”. Grant and his wife are entombed. The inspiration came to Mr. Duncan from Napoleon Bonaparte’s Sarcophagus at Les Invalides.

Grant’s Tomb is located right by the Hudson River on Riverside Drive and W. 122nd Street and open daily except Monday and Tuesday. Upon completion, it remained unobscured at one of the highest points along the Hudson River. Even if you have no interest in history or don’t even know what a mausoleum is, this one is truly spectacular and worth visiting. Plus, it’s free! 

This beautifully designed, arduously built structure is an incredible piece of architecture, but it is not just any old landmark! It symbolizes the overcoming of war and the healing of a hurting nation; it is a representation of noblemen, honor and respect. It showcases the power of the people -a nation- when harmoniously connected for a positive cause. More importantly and especially in today’s world, it is also a sanctuary, a vessel of silence and stillness in the otherwise bustling and busy city of New York. A palace of peace for not only those in the neighborhood, but for all who travel from near and far to visit this one-of-a-kind memorial.

Have you visited this national site? What are your thoughts on mausoleums? Would you like your final resting place to be a mausoleum?

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