Selection of Burial Site  Burial The Grant Monument Association
Construction and Dedication Early History and Further Development The Tomb's Decline and Restoration

Grant's Tomb: History
Early History and Further Development

Besides being recognized as one of the nation's greatest monuments, Grant's Tomb was one of the most popular buildings in the country. In its early days, the Tomb's annual visitation often exceeded 500,000 (peaking in 1906 at 607,484). Its visitation exceeded that of the Statue of Liberty through World War I.

In 1928, architect John Russell Pope proposed a number of developments at Grant's Tomb, including the addition of an equestrian statue in the plaza and a pediment above the portico, but the Great Depression would hinder efforts to raise necessary funds for the most ambitious projects. In 1938, however, a number of developments were pursued with support of the WPA:

  •  Installation of busts in the crypt depicting Grant's most esteemed lieutenants during the Civil War. 

  • Artist Dean Fausett paints murals in both reliquary rooms featuring allegorical figures and the Civil War theater, with locations of Grant's battles highlighted.

  • Re-landscaping and modifying of the surrounding plaza.

During the 1950's, the GMA, suffering from a declining membership and aging leadership, decided to transfer control over Grant's Tomb to the federal government. The National Park Service took over the site in 1959 and officially named the monument the General Grant National Memorial.

The GMA dissolved in 1965, though not before securing the installation of mosaic murals by Allyn Cox in the three lunettes, which were dedicated in 1966.

This was the last major addition to the monument, but the story of Grant's Tomb was far from over.