Italianate structure known as the U. S. Grant Home was built in
1859-60 as a residence by Alexander J. Jackson of Galena. When Ulysses
S. Grant returned to the city in 1865 as a Civil War hero, he was
presented the house—purchased by a group of prominent local
Republicans, including Elihu B. Washburne—as part of the city’s
celebration. Grant used the home as his official political and voting
address, living there with his family during his 1868 presidential
campaign, then for a few brief periods during his presidency (1869-1877)
and retirement. He visited for the last time in 1880.
The “restored” U. S. Grant Home is a two-story brick
structure. The first floor consists of entry hall, parlor, dining
room, library, kitchen with pantry, and staff room. The second floor
contains five bedrooms, one with a connecting dressing room. All
of the rooms are decorated and furnished to represent a mid-1860s
appearance. Many of the furnishings belonged to the Grant family.
In 1960 the Home was designated a National Historic Landmark and
in 1966 was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Grant Home site includes several small mid-19th century homes comprising
the three-block “Grant Home Historic Neighborhood.”
“Grant State Park,” a tree-shaded area south of the
Grant Home has picnic tables for public use. Also in the park is
the Long House, a log building constructed ca. 1851 and moved to
the site from Elizabeth, Illinois in 1976, representing a typical
settler’s home of mid-nineteenth-century Jo Daviess County.
Visitors are provided with an interpreter-conducted tour of the
Grant Home. Interpreters are dressed in historic costumes from April
through October. The tour emphasizes Grant as the victorious war
leader, the 1868 candidate for president, and the eighteenth President
of the United States. The adjacent building contains exhibits on
Grant’s life and history of the Grant Home. The first floor
of the Home is accessible to persons with disabilities, as are the
exhibit room and restrooms in the building next door. The Home’s
second floor is not accessible.
The Grant Home hosts or co-hosts a number of special events including
the Boy Scouts of America “U. S. Grant Pilgrimage” in
April, “Lamplight Tours” in June, and the “Fall
Tour of Homes” in September. Special tours are offered from
Thanksgiving to Christmas, when the Home is decorated for the holidays.