Grant Cottage named a literary landmark

Ulysses S. Grant penned his memoirs and died at the Wilton site

The Ulysses S. Grant Cottage, a State Historic Site on Mount McGregor in Wilton, was named a Literary Landmark by United for Libraries at a dedication ceremony Sept. 16.

When the 18th president fell ill in October 1884, his friend Joseph Drexel, who built the Balmoral Hotel on Mount McGregor and the gauge railway that took tourists up the mountain, offered his private cabin to the Grant family. It was at the cabin that Grant completed his collection of memoirs, published posthumously by his editor, Mark Twain—who had encouraged Grant to write them in the first place—and where, days later, the president died of throat cancer. He was 63 years old.

Essentially untouched since the Grants’ stay, visitors can view the cottage’s original furnishings, personal items belonging to Grant, the bed where he died, and the floral arrangements from his Aug. 4, 1885 funeral.

The Cottage’s Sept. 16 Literary Landmark plaque dedication ceremony featured keynote speaker David S. Nolen, an assistant editor at the Ulysses S. Grant Presidential Library in Mississippi and contributor to the annotated edition of The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant. Other speakers included Rocco Staino, director of the Empire State Center for the Book, and Alane Ball-Chinian, Saratoga-Capital Regional Director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Ulysses S. Grant and Mark Twain impersonators were also in attendance for tintype photographs.

Grant Cottage joins over 160 Literary Landmarks across the U.S. dedicated since the program’s 1986 inception. It was chosen—thanks to sponsors Saratoga Arms, Northshire Bookstore and Glens Falls Art—for the profound political, historical and literary significance of the memoirs written within its walls. Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. Grant has never been out of print, and has been praised by critics including Thomas Nast and Henry James.

The Ulysses S. Grant Cottage is located at 1000 Mount McGregor Road in Wilton. It is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Columbus Day. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students. and free for children under 6.

Artists can visit the cottage for free this Saturday, Sept. 23 for a plein air art festival celebrating the tradition of painting at the scenic cottage.

The cottage will also be featured on the C-SPAN “Cities Tour” program, appearing on Book TV and American History TV this December. “Cities Tour” seeks to capture “history and non-fiction literary life” of cities. The week of filming in Saratoga begins today (Sept. 21) for C-SPAN’s “special Saratoga Springs weekend” of programs on Dec. 16-17.

For more information, visit grantcottage.net.

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