October 16, 2013

Ulysses and Julia Grant

When a perfect fall day arrives, AND you have a vacation day at work, AND your mother is visiting, it's time for an adventure!  My husband and I had so much fun showing Mother the sights of Galena (IL), including the home that the City gifted to Ulysses and Julia Grant.  After the rather eccentric tour of Belvedere, we opted to not spend time inside the house but wandered the grounds and enjoyed the view of the city proper across the river.

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. 

I usually try really hard to wait for people to stroll on out of the frame, but there were just too many visitors the day we were there, and no matter what angle I tried I couldn't get a picture that didn't include people!  The Steeler hat in the far left bottom of the picture?  You might recall my husband is from Pittsburgh....

There is a lovely little park right where I was standing to take the house picture.  I have to confess, the statue of Julia makes her look rather intimidating!  She looks like a woman who was used to getting her way.

Aren't the colors on this tree breathtaking? 

Red leaves, blue sky.  September  bliss!

The Grant Home site includes several small mid-19th century homes that make up a three-block “Grant Home Historic Neighborhood.” “Grant State Park,” a tree-shaded area south of the Grant Home has picnic tables for public use and we enjoyed sitting and resting there awhile, and doing a little "tourist watching."  The tour buses were busy loading and unloading visitors in the parking lot. Also in the park is the Long House, a log building constructed around1851 and moved to the site from Elizabeth, Illinois in 1976, representing a typical settler’s home of mid-nineteenth-century Jo Daviess County. 

Interesting historical facts and beautiful fall weather, but the best part of all?  Time with my mother!

The Beautiful Changes

By Richard Wilbur
One wading a Fall meadow finds on all sides   
The Queen Anne’s Lace lying like lilies
On water; it glides
So from the walker, it turns
Dry grass to a lake, as the slightest shade of you   
Valleys my mind in fabulous blue Lucernes.

The beautiful changes as a forest is changed   
By a chameleon’s tuning his skin to it;   
As a mantis, arranged
On a green leaf, grows
Into it, makes the leaf leafier, and proves   
Any greenness is deeper than anyone knows.

Your hands hold roses always in a way that says   
They are not only yours; the beautiful changes   
In such kind ways,   
Wishing ever to sunder
Things and things’ selves for a second finding, to lose   
For a moment all that it touches back to wonder.

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