joy magnetism: Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?

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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Who's buried in Grant's Tomb?

Magnet #979 - Ulysses S. Grant (1869 - 1877)

Can't remember if I've used Grant before, and he's not showing up in any joy magnetism searches, so fingers crossed!

Anyway - I picked Ulysses S. Grant, our 18th president, for today, because this afternoon @Newyorkology reTweeted an @GrantsTombNPS Tweet about having an evening haunted tour this evening. I've lived about 30 blocks away from the General Grant National Memorial for 15 years, so I figured tonight was as good as any.

When I got there, I totally met a guy, waiting for the tour. Of course, he was old enough to be my grandfather, but he was the sweetest guy ever, and he shared his pix of his Germany vacation with me.

And? Because he volunteers at the Conference House and Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island, I totally got a superinteresting history lesson, too. (For some reason, it totally escaped me that there was an actual peace talk between the colonists and the Brits before the American Revolution. On Staten Island, no less!) Must go visit those two sites soon!

When we all gathered for the tour, I immediately recognized the tour guide. In fact, he was the same guy that I dedicated this Zion National Park magnetpost to back in 2008! Holy smokes, this island's getting small! I told him why I recognized him, and about the trip we never went on. He asked why we didn't go and I reminded him of the $4/gal gas prices, which he pooh-poohed.

Anyway, so he began his Ranger talk, and then led us into a lantern-lit Grant's Tomb, which is the largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere. At the mention of that, I could feel the goosebumps pop up. Look. I don't know why I didn't associate Grant's Tomb with an actual, you know, tomb, but there you go.

So when I peered down at the crypt, at the giant red granite coffins of Grant and his wife, Julia, I was already a little freaked out. Dudes. I don't do crypts. Nope. No. Way. I totally backed away from the hole, as far as I could, without, you know, running screaming from the darkened room.

We had a couple of ghostly guests visit, to let us pay our respects to the general and his wife, and they made us throw flowers down at the coffins. Then, then!, the ranger walked us down. Into. The. Crypt. In the dark! The dark!

And left us alone, to roam the building, where he finally relented and turned on some of the lights. I made one quick trip around the crypt lined with busts of Grant's generals, and hightailed my butt back up the stairs. I couldn't move fast enough.

All in all, the memorial's a really cool tribute to a guy who likely wouldn't have wanted such pomp and circumstance for little old him. But, a million people viewed the funeral procession that took five hours to pass, and apparently, 90,000 people donated $600,000 to help build it.

It's a pretty impressive building, and a good tour, one that's worth the trek up the Upper West Side to visit. In daylight, if you're a fraidy cat.
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vp said...

Love this. Grant is probably my favorite president. Not because he was all that as a president, but he was a really interesting man. Also, a good writer, his autobiography is excellent.

joy said...

Yeah, you would have loved this tour, it was great, were I not creeped out by the crypt. The ranger said that it was one of those places where you could feel all presence of all those Civil War vets had been to pay respects to Grant.

They have some great pictures up there of the dedication ceremony and it's simply amazing how many people were there for it.