Grant Monument AssociationOfficial Website of
Grant Monument Association

(formally The General Grant National Memorial)
W 122nd St & Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
maintained and sponsored by The Grant Monument Association

Blog    Contact Us   Subscribe
Social Networks

Visit  Learn Events About Support Us

Grant's Tomb: An Overview

Building Design CharacteristicsDedicated in 1897, Grant's Tomb is the second largest mausoleum in the Western Hemisphere (the Garfield Memorial is the first).
Rendered in an eclectic neoclassical style, the monument is adorned by Doric columns on the lower level and a cupola above.
It rises 150 feet above the ground and over 280 feet above the banks of the Hudson River.

Early View of Grant's Tomb from the Hudson River  - South, East and North Elevations
from the original archiectural drawings

From Riverside Drive

The architect of the monument, John H. Duncan, envisioned "a Monumental Tomb, no matter from what point of view it may be seen."
The structure symbolically faces south.

Design Influences

Influences on the final design included

The Mausoleum
at Halicarnassus
Hadrian's Tomb
in Rome
Napoleon's Tomb
in Dome des Invalides (France)
Garfield Memorial
in Cleveland, Ohio.

Relief Design

On the facade of the Tomb is the epitaph, "LET US HAVE PEACE," a quote taken from Grant's acceptance of the Republican nomination for president that would
characterize the ultimate aims of his public career. Allegorical figures probably representing Victory and Peace (sculpted by J. Massey Rhind)
are depicted on either side of the sign, marking Grant's importance both in war and in peace.

One the four pendentives in the interior of the Tomb are relief sculptures, also by Rhind, with allegorical representations of Grant's

Birth - note the tree of life and figures holding symbols of education and the home.Military Life - both figures hold emblems used in war.Civilian Life - accompanying the figures are symbols of victory, prosperity, and Grant's authority as president.Death - symbols of death, (possibly) strength, and eternity are held by the figures.


The interior is largely made of Carrara and Lee marble from Italy.
Inside a circular crypt, on ground level, are sarcophagi containing the remains of President and Mrs. Grant.
The sarcophagi are made of red granite from Montello, Wisconsin, and each weighs 8˝ tons.

William Tecumseh

George Henry 

Edward Otho 
Cresap Ord

Philip Henry 

James Birdseye 
Click on the pictures above for a larger image in a new window ...
Click on the Person's Name to link to more biographical information ...

Artwork and Furnishings

In 1966, mosaic murals by Allyn Cox were added to three lunettes inside Grant's Tomb.
The murals portray scenes from three of Grant's greatest campaigns.
Grant (on horseback) during the Vicksburg Campaign (November 1862 - July 1863).
Grant on Missionary Ridge, to the right of General George H. Thomas (November 25, 1863).
General Robert E. Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House (April 9, 1865).

The Tomb also contains two reliquary rooms
with murals by Dean Fausett that feature
classical themes as well as maps depicting the theater of the Civil War.

Locations of battles are indicated by crossed sabers.
Grant's battles are indicated with a star.

In the center of the reliquary room are bronze trophy cases containing replicas of Civil War battle flags.

Chinese Memorial

Behind the Tomb is a Chinese memorial on the site of Grant's temporary tomb. 
Enclosed by a black fence, this site contains a
Chinese-English plaque and a ginko tree planted on behalf of
Li Hung Chang, the Chinese viceroy who had met and
developed a friendship with Grant during the latter's trip around the world.

The Overlook Pavilion

On April 27, 2011, the long awaited reopening of the newly restored overlook pavilion across the street from Grant’s Tomb finally took place as part of the day’s Grant birthday commem-oration. Adorned with red, white, and blue bunting and ribbon, the spruced up neoclassical structure was in brilliant form—a stark contrast to the state of disrepair that had character-ized the site over the preceding four decades.

The brief reopening ceremony began at 10 a.m. in the presence of a crowd that included student groups, community leaders, and members of the Grant family. Following remarks by National Park Service Public Affairs Officer Darren Boch, National Parks of New York Harbor Commissioner Maria Burks, New York City Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Assemblyman Daniel O’Donnell, and Community Board 9 Chairperson Larry English, the ribbon across the overlook was cut and the
pavilion was officially open to the public.

The event marks a welcome development and a new chapter in the history of Grant’s Tomb. For years, the site had suffered from the lack of restrooms, which were provided in the lower level of the facility for the approximately half a century it was in use following its construction in 1910.

Over the years, the Tomb itself came to house a gift shop and exhibits of a temporary nature—several historical panels with text and photos and display cases with artifacts —that were widely considered to detract from the reverent atmosphere originally intended for the Tomb.

Those have now been moved to the lower level of the overlook, except for the historical exhibit panels, which have been replaced entirely and located in a new presentation room in the pavilion that has audio-visual equipment and seating for groups. In the back of that room, the largest in the facility, sit the display cases, including a model

copyright 2016 - Grant Monument Association