Schumer announces new effort to designate Grant Cottage as a National Historic Landmark
MOREAU, N.Y. >> Senator Charles Schumer visited Grant Cottage this week to launch a major push to designate the site as a National Historic Landmark.
The famed Saratoga County cottage is where the personal memoirs of 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant were completed, and where he died in 1885.
After a tour of the cottage on Monday afternoon, Schumer announced a new effort for Grant Cottage to be designated as a National Historic Landmark.
“This is an amazing trip for me. Grant was an amazing gentleman,” Schumer said, referencing facts he learned while reading author Ron Chernow’s 2017 book on Grant.
Though his reputation throughout history was not always glorified, “When you read about him you learn the real Grant,” Schumer said.
“This is part of American history,” Schumer continued while standing on the porch of the cottage, noting its many original artifacts inside.
“I believe that the Grant Cottage deserves to become a National Historic Landmark, and I am telling the members of this community and all of the Capital Region, I am now going to push hard for it,” Schumer declared, noting his previous success is getting other landmarks designated.
Though the process can take a while, in this case, “We have a lot of Grant enthusiasts in the Senate and in the House, and I will enlist them to make sure that the cottage becomes the landmark it so deserves to be,” Schumer said. “We’re going to push very, very hard.”
The National Park Service designating the U.S. Grant Cottage State Historic Site as a National Historic Landmark would have myriad benefits for the iconic cottage, as well as Saratoga County, according to Schumer.
First, he explained, certain federal preservation grant programs, for example, the Save America’s Treasures Grant Program, place a priority on awarding funds to National Historic Landmarks. Upon receiving the designation, this funding could then be used for maintenance and upkeep of the Grant Cottage, which was originally built over a century ago.
Additionally, Schumer argued that the official National Historic Landmark designation would help increase the name recognition of the Grant Cottage, bringing new tourists to the site and boosting the Saratoga County and Capital Region tourism economy as a result.
In a letter to the National Park Service, Schumer said, “This prestigious designation would not only help to further protect the historical integrity of Grant Cottage and the surrounding Adirondack Mountains, but most importantly, would help draw much-deserved attention to the historical significance of this property for generations to come.”
Currently, Grant Cottage attracts about 8,000 visitors a year during its season, which runs each year from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day, then weekends through Columbus Day.
Nonprofit organization The Friends of Grant Cottage manages the daily operations and programming at Grant Cottage, which is a state-owned site.
Saratoga-Capital Region Director of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Alane Ball Chinian said that the designation would be terrific for the region, and for The Friends of Grant Cottage.
“We’re so appreciative of the work that they do and if this could help them get greater recognition from around the country and support their efforts than that’s a win-win,” she said.
“You can never have enough national landmarks in your region,” Todd Shimkus, president of the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, said of the possibility of another local site receiving this designation. “Historical tourism, tourism related to history, is absolutely one of the top three things we have in Saratoga County,” he said, adding that any initiative to enhance and grow the region’s national recognition is enormously important.
“Beyond being the final residence of President Grant and location where the incomparable Personal Memoirs of Ulysses Grant were authored, the Grant Cottage grounds are home to some of the most breathtaking views and landscapes in all of New York State, all of which deserve to be preserved for generations to come. With the site over a century old, ensuring this property has access to all the federal resources and support possible is a must,” Schumer said in a news release. “Grant Cottage is one of Upstate New York’s true hidden treasures, with the history to prove it, and it should be recognized by the federal government as such.”
Senator Charles Schumer speaks on Monday at Grant Cottage in Moreau.
Grant Cottage site coordinator Ben Kemp, right, gives a tour to Senator Charles Schumer, left.
Grant Cottage is where the personal memoirs of 18th U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant were completed, and where he died in 1885.
Site coordinator Ben Kemp, left, and Senator Charles Schumer check out the view from the Grant Cottage overlook.
Grant Cottage site coordinator Ben Kemp, left, gives a tour to Senator Charles Schumer.