A sad visit by the U.S. Grant house in Detroit

B. Nash with the U.S. Grant house in the background

 

 

I had made an attempt to see the former residence of U.S. Grant in Detroit earlier in the year and failed to do so. As it turns out, I was at the wrong end of the Michigan State Fair grounds before. An alert reader to this blog left a comment directing me to the spot where the building may be viewed. The structure is visable from State Fair Street close to Woodward Avenue. I want to thank the person again. for giving me guidance.

I was saddened by the view. The house sits inside of the now defunct Michigan State Fair grounds in Detroit. The public cannot enter the area. It’s structures are deteriorating. The grounds look foreboding. The house that the Grants lived in while U.S. Grant was stationed in Detroit is boarded up and looking like it needs a major restoration:

Rear view of U.S. Grant house from State Fair Street

West view of the house

 

Since the public is not allowed on the grounds of the site, I couldn’t get a front photograph of the house.  I don’t know what can be done to save the place. It’s not that U.S. Grant wasn’t important to Detroit-he was. He was important to the United States-and to the world. He led the Union Army to victory in the Civil War-thus ending slavery in America. He was a United States President-that should rate for something! Yet, this historical landmark is rotting away. Sad, indeed.

 

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7 Responses to “A sad visit by the U.S. Grant house in Detroit”

  1. Tom Watson says:

    It is October 24, 2014 and I visited the Grant House today; including all rooms inside the house. This home of our 18th President is in terrible disrepair and needs help fast. The interior is full of garbage – boxes, signs, trash. It did have a cool sofa and chair from what appeared to be the 1800’s. The exterior is a shameful eyesore – the white picket fence is falling over; the paint on the house is peeling off; and it looks like the wooden structure is rotting from neglect.

  2. B. Nash says:

    Good information. I wonder if there are already plans in place for it?

  3. Kevin Lindsey says:

    Incidentally, here is the listing for the house from the state’s website: http://www.mcgi.state.mi.us/hso/sites/15649.htm

  4. B. Nash says:

    Nice information. I am going to make it a point to contact somebody who might know!

  5. Kevin Lindsey says:

    The house IS listed on the state register of historic sites. Therefore demolition by neglect is something that can be called into question. However, ownership of the property, to me at least, is in question. The house was given to the state of Michigan, but is placed on the fair grounds. I do not know if ownership of the Grant house was transferred with the property or not.

  6. B. Nash says:

    Kevin: I don’t know either if it is listed on the register. How could it not be? The reason the house is at the old fairgrounds in the first place was to prevent it from demolition in 1936. It was presened to the state of Michigan as a gift by the Michigan Mutual Liabilty Company which purchased it. I don’t know who is responsible for it today-maybe still the state of Michigan?

  7. Kevin Lindsey says:

    Ive been in the house several times years ago when the fair was still open, and at that point it was in fairly good shape. As a preserationist it makes me sad. Demolition by neglect is not allowed in Michigan preservation laws for designated historic structures, however I dont know if this house, which is extremely historic, was ever listed on a register.

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