U. S. Grant in Detroit, Michigan

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Author Karen Pier wrote a wonderful article entitled ‘Grant in Detroit’ for the May/June 1996 issue of Michigan History Magazine. I don’t know Ms. Pier, but at the time of the publishing of her article- it stated she was from my hometown- Sterling Heights, Michigan. Anyway, as I have mentioned in many postings on this blog site, Grant had lived in Detroit for a time very early in his career. Yet, most people don’t know this fact. I’m not even sure if many people know who Grant was, for that matter. The following items are some nuggets I pulled from the article:

* Detroit was Grant’s first assignment after his service in the Mexican War

* Grant actually left Detroit after being assigned  to duty in New York in 1848. However, he returned to Detroit in March 1849.

* The rent for the house was $250.00 a year- which was about one-third of Grant’s annual army salary.

* Grant did not dance! He would watch Julia waltz instead.

* The house (and Detroit itself) did not have gas lighting. Oil lamps and candles were used.

* The Grants liked to entertain. They also enjoyed playing cards.

* The Grants slept on a corn-husk mattress.

* Detroit still had manys wooded areas which contained small game.

* When the Detroit River and Lake Erie froze in the winter season, the Grants frequently rode across in an open cutter.

* The house was located on East Fort Street- which was not considered a desirable area by some. ┬áThis didn’t seem to bother Grant- he remained there anyway.

* Grant made two much later visits to Detroit (1866 & 1882). It is said that he had always a special fondness for the city.

 

Grant’s former house still stands at the old Michigan State Fairgrounds site. There is now much commercial development there. I hope to drive by there soon and see how the house is doing. Hopefully, the house will be preserved.

 

 

 

 

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