500 Bouthillier Street
Galena, IL 61036
We-Su 9-5 p.m.
(last tour starts at 4:45 p.m.)
The 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.
The 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.