Volunteering at Grant Cottage
by Timothy J. Gaffney, Jr.
I've always had a love for history since I was a young kid. My interest started when I first watched the movie, "Gettysburg," which catapulted my interest in the Civil War. I soon accumulated numerous books and films dealing with the Civil War and other historical events in our country's history. It truly became a hobby for me that continued to blossom over time.
One of the reasons for living in New York state, especially in the upstate area, is the rich history that surrounds us and made this state and this country what it is today. I always try to explore different parts of the state and visit historical sites, which still peak my interest, even after so many years now. Recently, in the last year, I discovered Grant Cottage. I feel embarrassed for not visiting this great site years ago since it's literally in my "backyard," even though I live in Glenville.
My first time visiting Grant Cottage was on a summer's day, with my wife. As soon as I parked my vehicle and stepped out, I was greeted by a huge banner on the front side of the visitor center recognizing the site as "Grant Cottage" with the face of the man himself. I was awe struck by that banner and the visitor center, then my eyes guided me up the pathway to the cottage. The beautiful golden color with green and maroon paint schemes caught my attention on how well preserved that building is after over 130 years. Dave, who was manning the visitor center at the time, was very friendly and helpful to the both of us. The tour of the cottage just about left me speechless. The artifacts and preservation and even the floral arrangements from Grant's funeral were amazing. This trip helped peaked my interest in history again. I soon took advantage of signing up as a member of the Friends of Grant Cottage and became a volunteer member of their dedicated team of tour guides and helpers.
I'm looking forward to another great season and do hope to meet new visitors who wish to experience history like I've experienced and continue supporting this great historical site for generations to come.