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Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site

St. Louis, Missouri


On March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant established the country's first National Park. Grant could not have imagined that 117 years and some 360 park units later, President George Bush would sign legislation authorizing his home, White Haven, as Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. The National Park Service is restoring White Haven as a tangible reminder of the man, his life, his wife Julia, and their family.

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site consists of five historic structures (a two-story residence, a stone out-building, a barn, an ice house, and a chicken house) on a 9.65-acre plot of land. The grounds feature several hundred trees representing more than 50 species and is a haven for a variety of wildlife such as raccoon, woodchuck, rabbit, squirrel, red fox, and an assortment of birds.

Ulysses S. Grant and White Haven

Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant was assigned to St. Louis nearby Jefferson Barracks following his graduation from West Point in 1843. Soon after arriving in the city, he visited the family of his former roommate, Frederick Dent, at their plantation on Gravois Creek. There he met Fred's sister Julia, and afterwards his visits became quite regular. Upon learning of his regiment's impending transfer, Grant proposed to Julia in 1844, and the couple eventually married in 1848.

The White Haven property was a focal point in Ulysses' and Julia's lives for four decades. The Grants lived here off and on during the 1850s. Although the family moved to Galena, Illinois, in 1860, the Grants continued to think of White Haven as their family home. By 1870, President Grant owned nearly 1,100 acres of the White Haven farm and began readying the property for a relaxing retirement. Although unknown circumstances caused him to abandon those retirement plans, Grant retained ownership of the property until a few months before his death in 1885.

About Your Visit

Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site is located in south St. Louis County, Missouri, on Grant Road, off of Gravois Road (Route 30) and adjacent to the privately-owned and operated Grant's Farm. It is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exception of Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day. The park's visitor center is located in the historic barn, and includes a staffed information desk, exhibits about the Grants and White Haven, public restrooms, and a sales area offering books and other items. Guided interpretive tours of the property are provided daily. Due to the preservation work being done on the historic site, the nature and availability of these ranger-led tours are subject to change. For schools and other groups of 10 or more, tours are available by reservation, and off-site programs can be arranged. Special programs are also presented periodically. For current tour and program information, to make a group reservation. or if you have any questions, you may contact the visitor center at 314/842-3298.

Accessibility

Parking is available at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site for visitors with physical disabilities. The visitor center is fully accessible, and includes an accessible restroom and drinking fountain.

Currently, the main house is not accessible to visitors in wheelchairs or others who have difficulty walking or managing steps. Park staff will provide alternative experiences for those unable to enter the main house. For further access information and assistance, please contact the park in advance of your visit.

Safety Considerations

While at the site, visitors should be alert to potential safety hazards. Roads at the site are narrow; follow signs carefully, and watch for other cars and pedestrians. Be aware of moving vehicles when walking the grounds. Watch your step. The grounds are uneven, and walking surfaces may be slippery. There may be construction activity within the site during your visit; please keep a safe distance away from construction zones, and follow any signs posted regarding hazardous areas. Children must be supervised at all times. For their safety, please ensure that pets left in enclosed vehicles have access to fresh air.

Visiting the site will require walking outdoors. St. Louis weather can be uncomfortably warm and humid or cold and damp, depending upon the season. In the summer heat, drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water is available in the climate-controlled visitor center; the other historic structures do not have air-conditioning or drinking water available. During the winter, the main house is heated minimally. Whatever the season, please wear suitable clothing and footwear during your visit to the park.

For the protection of the resources, smoking is not allowed in or near the historic structures. Please deposit all refuse and used smoking materials in the containers provided.

Park rangers and volunteers are available to ensure your safety and enhance your appreciation of the park's resources. If you experience health or first aid problems of any kind, contact a park ranger or volunteer immediately for assistance. If you observe someone endangering the safety of our visitors or the site's resources, please notify the nearest park personnel immediately.

Volunteering - A Rewarding Experience

Volunteers-in -Parks (VIPs) are an essential part of the work being accomplished at Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. With a wide range of possible duties (staffing the visitor center, conducting research, or assisting with maintenance activities are just a few), VIPs provide an important public service - one that the park staff simply could not do without. For further information about the Volunteers-in-Parks program, call the visitor center at 314/842-3298 or the park's Chief of Interpretation at 314/842-1867x25, or simply stop by the site. We would love to speak with you about beginning your volunteer experience.

A Personal Message

The National Park Service is proud to welcome you to White Haven, the historic home of Ulysses S. and Julia Dent Grant. Ulysses Grant was one of those rare individuals who personally influenced the course of American history. As a military leader and a two-term President of the United States, he led the forces that saved the Union and then presided over the critical Reconstruction government. Here at White Haven, you will be able to appreciate the characteristics (integrity, determination, love of family) which defined Ulysses Grant. You will also have a unique opportunity to see an area making the transition from private property to public park; the National Park Service is currently restoring the site's historic resources and developing visitor facilities and services. We hope that you enjoy our "Work-in-Progress!"

Jill York O'Bright, Superintendent



This resource is based on the following source:
National Park Service.  No date.  Bird Checklist for Ulysses S. Grant National 
     Historic Site.  National Park Service.  1 page.
This resource should be cited as:
National Park Service.  No date.  Bird Checklist for Ulysses S. Grant National 
     Historic Site.  National Park Service.  1 page.  Jamestown, ND: Northern 
     Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govulyinfo.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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