Ed was up early, about 6:45 am, and we left the campground a little after 8:00 am continuing on I-80 toward St. Louis, MO. We drove off the Interstate to easily find the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site. Ulysses S. Grant was the 13th president of the United State of America.
The home below was really the site of Grant’s wife, Julia Dent’s, family home. The Dents were true southerners, had about 30 slaves and apparently Mr. Dent (Julia's father), who was very rich for his time, argued with Grant over the equality of blacks. He argued that the country would never survive without slaves. Ulysses Grant was a man of equality, so they butted heads, much to Julia's chagrin. The Grants never actually lived in this house.
Grant bought the property to help Julia’s father when he was in financial difficulty at the end of the Civil War. Although the National Park Service renovated and now maintains the property, we were disappointed that the Grants never had the opportunity to live here. They did live in the cabin on the other end of the property, now owned by the Busch family (Budweiser Brewing). President Grant employed caretakers who oversaw the property after his purchase. Later, the house was purchased by another family who lived there for three generations. The property was purchased by the Park Service in 1985. The house was painted white during Grant's time, but later owners painted it lime green. It was explained to us that bright colors were more expensive so this color was a symbol of wealth. The “color of money.” The home was not furnished. At the end of the war, all the furniture was moved into storage at a brother's home during Grant's presidency. The home burned. No one told Grant; he had to read about it in the newspaper, which he was not happy about. Needless to say, the caretaker got fired!! It was interesting to hear the Park Ranger explain about where the slaves lived on the property and the summer kitchen located in an out building, as opposed to the winter kitchen, which was located under the dining room to keep that room warmer.
This is the slave door on the back of the house that was uncovered during NPS renovation. They left it as it was back when the slaves would have used it.
This is the winter kitchen under the dining room. The summer kitchen was in an out building to keep the heat out of the home.
Ulysses S. Grant
Julia Dent Grant
Learning more about Ulysses and Julia was wonderful. We have decided to visit as many homes and libraries of the Presidents that we can. So much history and so interesting.
This is the cabin Ulysses and Julia actually lived in during the war. This is on the property now owned by the Busch (Budwieser) family.
Julia didn't really like the cabin and after her mother died, she moved back into the family home to take care of her father.
We left St. Louis and continued on I-270 and I-57. We finally arrived at our stop for the night, the Benton, IL KOA campground at exit 71. We had all of the amenities, but next to I-57 (100 feet) . It is tiring traveling to a different campground every day. We drove 239.8 miles today.