When the cottage is closed, you still have the opportunity to hear the stories of the Cottage and other related themes from our staff and volunteers.

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Events Calendar

The Cottage is an ideal destination for viewing historic events near Saratoga Springs and the Capital Region.  The Cottage hosts numerous public events throughout the season such as family days, our Porch Chat Series of history lectures and portrayals, as well as acknowledgements of Grant's death and funeral.

Most events are free with tours of the Cottage at their regular fee.  Please check below for this year's calendar listing and descriptions. 

Our program planning committee has already been busy putting the event schedule together for 2015.  Please check back here periodically to see the latest updates.

All programs begin at 1pm unless otherwise noted.

July 25
 Remembrance Day
130 years ago, at age 63, Ulysses S. Grant finally bowed to the only enemy who could defeat him, cancer. It has become a tradition at Grant Cottage to mark this sad occasion by recreating the Grant family circle and allowing those who loved him most to speak about Grant the husband, father and grandfather. Re-enactors portraying General Grant's family and closest friends will gather on the Cottage porch to bid the man they adored a final, very personal farewell. The ceremony will include music and, while acknowledging sorrow, will be a true celebration of U.S. Grant's truly extraordinary life. 

July 31
Birth of a Nation
The historic Grant Cottage Visitor Center will be the site of a discussion D.W. Griffith's film "Birth of a Nation".  This is the 100th anniversary of the world's first feature-length film.  Beginning at 7pm, the event includes comments by filmographer John McCarty and segments of this very controversial silent movie.  The Board of Trustees of Grant Cottage has selected this film which portrays the racial violence President Grant fought against. 

There will be a $5 admission price for this event
which is expected to last about one hour with Q & A to follow.  Historians have commented that the Union won the war but not the peace. Coffee and discussion will follow the film.

August 2
Jared A. Jackson: U.S. Colored Troops
Born to a free farming family in Bethlehem, New York, Jared A. Jackson (1840-1888) enlisted at age 23 in the newly established "United States Colored Troops" and went on to serve as one of 200 black guards at the notorious Elmira Prison Camp. His experiences as a corporal in the 20th Regiment-U.S.C.T. is not only a story of military service toward the preservation of the Union, but also of the fight for the right of African-Americans to bear arms, to prove their courage and patriotism in the conflict to end slavery in America, and the post-war struggles of African-Americans facing social and institutional racism. Jackson is one of just two known African-American veterans of the Civil War who are buried in Schenectady's Vale Cemetery. The presenter is Neil Yetwin, musician, educator and author.

August 5
The Soldier who Gave his Life for Grant
Twenty years after the Civil War,  a soldier's fate was linked to Saratoga Springs.  As the 18th president's funeral train descended Mount McGregor and approached the city's Saratoga Battery H. . a misfired canon salute mortally wounded a 33 year old German immigrant and member of the 4th U.S. Artillery.  Private Timothy Allman who had been only 13 when the war ended, died tragically.  His service is remembered at Grant Cottage. 

August 8
Flags at Half Mast

The cottage flags at half mast commemorate the Funeral of Ulysses S. Grant in New York City on August 8, 1885.  Author and presidential scholar, David Pietrusza will speak and present President Coolidge's address given at the 1922 dedication of the Grant Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Coffee, cake and images of the New York City funeral procession will be provided on the historic porch following the program.  

August 12
Grant & the American Indian

President Grant did something revolutionary with respect to the American Indians. He decided to treat them like human beings. He saw that the reservations had become places of despair because corrupt Indian Agents were pocketing the money meant to feed and shelter the Indians. So Grant fired the Indian Agents and replaced them with men he knew were moral and incorruptible: Quakers.
Quakers did not believe in violence and war and had sent none of their sons into the Union army during the Civil War. Grant didn't share the Quakers' religious perspectives, but he did recognize the Quakers' rock-solid integrity. Learn about this improbable alliance between the warrior and the pacifists, how President Grant's Quaker Policy almost succeeded and why it didn't. And be ready to learn about a forgotten Native American hero, the Southern Arapaho peace chief Little Raven. The program will be presented by Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm.  

August 16
Richest Nun in America
Katharine Drexel, daughter of Francis Drexel and niece of Joseph Drexel (owner of the Cottage at time Grant spent his final days there), was raised in a family of wealth but also a family who always tried to help others.  This led Katharine to seek help for many using her family wealth.  

Katharine chose to live a life of service to her religion by becoming a nun and developing a group known as the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament.  Using money she inherited from her family, Katharine made it her life’s work to build and fund Schools and Community Centers throughout the United State for disadvantaged African-American and American Indian children. 

Her efforts earned her Sainthood in the Catholic Church.  Saint Katharine is one of only three American-born Saints.

Dave Hubbard, Grant Cottage Site Manager, will make a presentation on Katharine Drexel.

August 19
Grant and His Saratoga Connections, 1865 to 1885
Ulysses S. Grant was America’s most famous horseman and soldier at the close of the Civil War in April 1865.  Acclaimed as the “Savior of the Union,” the four-star general made his first visit to Saratoga in July of that year.  He returned as the eighteenth U.S. president in 1869 and 1874 as Saratoga entered the Gilded Age as the “Queen of Spas.”  Grant visited again in 1882 following his world tour.  In March of 1885, the world learned of his loss of fortune, terminal illness and struggle to complete his memoirs.  The General’s final trip brought him to Mount McGregor in the summer of 1885. 

The Saratoga people and places connected with Grant’s visits are brought to life through pictures and stories in this PowerPoint program presented by the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation in collaboration with the Friends of Grant Cottage.

Refreshments, including a Grant family pudding recipe, will be served following the program.

August 22-23
Art Show:  Local Artists Exhibit

Local artists are encouraged to display their artwork on the historic porch and grounds as part of a two day exhibition.  Some 130 years ago, the historic site was the location of a summer hotel, restaurant and art gallery.  The Balmoral Hotel provided meals for members of the Grant family who resided in a cottage close by.

The creation of an annual exhibition will return the historic vacationing  site to one of its original purposes while continuing to provide tours of three rooms occupied by Ulysses S. Grant.

August 30
Mark Twain

September 6
Women in John Brown's Family
The abolitionist activities of John Brown and some of his twenty children create the unusual story of women whose actions went far beyond the petitioning and pamphleteering of the era.

Grant Cottage volunteer, Diana O'Brien, will use music, Brown family images, and detailed information to describe the commitment and devotion of the Brown family to each other and the antislavery cause. The program is based upon the research of Bonnie Laughlin Schultz, author of The Tie That Bound Us, and includes Negro spirituals sung by a local tenor, and photographs from the Library of Congress. 

September 12

September 19
Heading Home:  The Uneasy Peace
Soldiers' stories describe the events following the surrender at Appomattox.  The army of Northern Virginia and Union forces underwent  significant changes when peace was at hand. Four years of war had taken its toll.  Research by volunteer Pat Smith describes the soldiers' experiences, North and South. Images help us visualize Lee, Grant, Joshua Chamberlain and others heading home to peace.

October 11
Grant Cottage Encampment

An opportunity to meet the Union Generals & members of the 125th NY Regimental Association. More than 30 historic figures will be portrayed.