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.
2013 EVENT DETAILS All events are free. Cottage tours are at their regular fee.
May 26 - 1:00pm
Oliver and Martha Welcome You. For 100 years after General Grant's death, Grant Cottage was preserved and maintained by a series of caretakers. The first two were Oliver and Martha Clarke, a husband and wife team from central New York State. Oliver, a Union veteran and survivor of the infamous Andersonville Prison, was caretaker for 27 years. After his death, Martha assumed the caretaker's role and managed the job masterfully for 24 years. Oliver and Martha will return to Grant Cottage on opening day. They will talk about their courtship (he sang beautifully, she played the harmonium), their lives together, and how much they came to love Mount McGregor and the legacy of Ulysses S. Grant. Oliver will be portrayed by Cottage tour guide and local historian Steve Trimm, Martha will be portrayed by current and founding Friends board member Melissa Trombley-Prosch.
June 9 - 1:00pm
James Longstreet Remembers his Old Friend "Sam" Grant.
Ulysses s. Grant and James Longstreet were fellow cadets at West Point. They served together in the Mexican War. Longstreet was best man at Grant's wedding. Although they fought on opposite sides during the Civil War, their friendship survived and--at great cost to his reputation in the South--Longstreet supported Grant when he became President. Join us as one of the confederacy's greatest generals reminisces about the man who became the Union's greatest general, his friend, "Sam" Grant. Longstreet will be portrayed by Steve Trimm.
June 16 - Noon
Father's Day Picnic
Featuring the music of Magpie
www.magpiemusic.com Families are invited to bring along a picnic lunch while enjoying the period tunes of Magpie played from the porch where Grant spent his final days.
June 26 - 1:00pm
Grant and Baseball Grant Cottage staff member, Dave Hubbard, will discuss how the Civil War helped the game of baseball grow and how the sport helped soldiers and people cope with tough issues. He will include quotes from soldiers from letters home as well as highlight issues discussed.
July 6, noon
Author Hollis Palmer presents:
"Life in Saratoga at the Time the Grants Visited."
Following the Civil War, the Grants were the social family of the country. They visited Saratoga most summers including the summer of 1865, when Grant was considered the man who saved the Union. This presentation will focus on who the Grants would have visited while in town, what they did on a daily basis and what made Saratoga the national social center. The presenter is local author and historian, Dr. Hollis Palmer. Dr. Palmer has written 11 books including See and Be Seen: Saratoga in the Victorian Era. This book focuses on Saratoga during the time Grant visited and was the 2011 winner of the prestigious Ruth Emery Award for the best local history book from the National Victorian Society.
The program will be preceded with period music performed on the porch by the 77th Regimental Balladeers. Following Palmer's presentation, visitors can take part in a traditional 19th century cakewalk featuring numerous varieties of cake.
12 - 12:45PM - Balladeers concert
12:45 - 1PM - Intermission
1 - 2PM - Dr. Hollis Palmer presents his program "Life in Saratoga at the time the Grant's Visited."
2:15PM - Music/Cakewalk
An Evening with a Descendent of U.S. Grant: Ulysses Grant Dietz (Great-Great Grandson) A Fundraiser for the Grant Cottage
at the Canfield Casino, Saratoga Springs
July 10 - Noon
Porch Chat: Music in Grant's Time Tom's 50-minute presentation covers the life of Grant beginning in 1822 focusing on his later years touching on themes such has his bankruptcy, writing of his memoirs, his disease, and finally his death and funeral services at Grant Cottage. Accompanied by items from his personal collection including portraits and photos, this is an effective presentation for many civic or fraternal organizations and various history groups. Tom will play tunes periodically throughout the presentation representing particular times of Grant's life using a vintage (c. 1900) banjo recently restrung with catgut-esque strings.
July 17 - Noon
Porch Chat: The Diminutive Engine Wheezed Along. Once upon a time, a railroad ran from Saratoga to Mount McGregor. Narrow gauge and ten miles long, it was completed in just three months and was touted as an engineering marvel. Marvelous, too, was W.J. Arkell, the cantankerous, opinionated, and witty Canajoharie millionaire who orchestrated the railroad's construction. It was his railroad that brought General Grant to Grant Cottage, and carried the General's body on the first part of its somber journey to its final resting place. Join local historian and Grant Cottage tour guide Steve Trimm as he talks about the railroad and W.J. Arkell, the eccentric and brilliant Gilded Age businessman who made the railroad a reality.
July 21 - 1:00pm
Grant Remembrance Day. This commemoration is always held on the weekend closest to the date of
General Grant's death ( July 23rd. ). The entire Grant family will be
present, and the General's eldest son, Colonel Frederick Grant, will
share rarely heard stories about Ulysses Grant the family man. General
Grant is famed for his Civil War victories and is honored as a former President, but, of all the roles he played, he was happiest and
most content in the roles of husband and father. Join us as we mourn the
General's passing and celebrate his life with the people who knew him
best and loved him most.
July 31 - Noon
Porch Chat: Widows, Weepers, and Wakes A forty-five minute presentation on Nineteenth & early Twentieth Century funeral and mourning customs. Grant family re-enactors will appear in 1860's and 1880's period mourning dress. The program will include the history of the undertaking profession, funeral practices & mourning etiquette, memorial art & jewelry. The porch chat will be given by Melissa Trombley-Prosch, Grant family re-enactor since 1990. Program research was done in collaboration with Mark Phillips of Burke's Funeral Home.
August 8 - 1:00pm
Flags at Half Mast During his weeks at the Cottage, many old friends - and enemies! - came
to say farewell to General Grant. They were a diverse and unlikely lot,
having nothing in common except their love for Ulysses S. Grant. The
visitors included a former Confederate general, the director of a mental
hospital, a businessman from Troy NY, the ex-slave who had been the
General's cook during the siege of Petersburg, a Medal of Honor winner, a
reputed Mexican bandit, a representative of the Catholic Church who had
once accused Grant of hating Catholics, and Mark Twain. Keeping a close
eye on all of the guests was the General's body guard, Union veteran
Sam Willett of Argyle NY. Sam learned all he could about the General's
guests and today, as we recall the General's funeral, he will share
their stories with you. Sam Willett will be portrayed by Steve Trimm.
August 14 - 1:00pm
Elmer Ellsworth: The Most Talked about Man in the Country Local historian Paul Perreault will discuss Elmer's life story and attempt to compare and contrast it with that of U.S. Grant. Born in Malta and raised in Mechanicville, Elmer Ellsworth dreamed of eternal fame and military glory. He found both in an Alexandria, Va. hotel on May 21, 1861 when he became the first Union officer killed in the Civil War.Presentation will be held in our Visitors Center.
August 21 - Noon
Porch Chat: Like the Fabled Centaur.
Ulysses S. Grant was not only the best horseman in his class at West Point, he was one of the best horsemen of his era. He began breaking and training horses when he was a boy. During the Mexican War, he won fame for his riding exploits under enemy fire. During the Civil War, he often went riding with President Lincoln. In peacetime, Mr. and Mrs. Grant frequently visited Saratoga to take in the races. Is it true that when he was President, Grant took a horse and buggy out for a spin and was pulled over for speeding? Hear the story of U.S. Grant the horseman, and decide for yourself! Presented by Steve Trimm.
August 28 - Noon
Porch Chat: Civil War Quilts Rarest of all American made quilts from the 1800's are the quilts made during the Civil War. These coverings provided warmth for the encamped soldier, comfort for the injured after battle, and respect for the deceased whose bodies they covered. Some of these quilts, through community auctions, raised money for the cause and honored an era in American History unlike any before or after the four year struggle. Civil War Quilts and Antebellum South quilts are also steeped in fascinating stories of the African American struggle to escape slavery via the Underground Railroad. Examples of reproduced Civil War Era quilts and quilt blocks will adorn the cottage's porch. Presented by Cottage tour guide Diana O'Brien.
September 1 - 1:00pm
John Brown's Body
During the Civil War, one of the Union Army's favorite marching songs was "John Brown's Body." 60 years after Appomattox, Stephen Vincent Benet, a former resident of Watervliet, New York, turned the marching song into the title of a poem celebrating the Civil War. It's truly an epic poem and in 1929 it won the Pulitzer Prize. Join us on the porch of Grant Cottage as excerpts from the poem are read. Hear descriptions of Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, Union infantrymen, Confederate cavalrymen, the battle of the Wilderness and much, much more. Too often the facts of history are stated dryly and without emotion. Sometimes the feeling of history can only be conveyed through art. This will be one of those occasions. Presented by Steve Trimm.
September 8 - 1:00pm
Mountain History, the Sanatorium
October 12 - 1:00pm
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