Grant Cottage: prison closing will impact security, utilities |

Grant Cottage: prison closing will impact security, utilities

Mark Mulholland
Updated: July 25, 2014 06:52 PM
Created: July 25, 2014 05:52 PM

WILTON - This is hallowed ground for those who revered the great Civil War general and 18th president of the United States.

Earlier this week, re-enactors commemorated the 129th anniversary of the death here of Ulysses S. Grant.

In the late stages of throat cancer, Grant came here to write his memoirs, often sitting in a wicker chair on the porch of the cottage.

"It's kind of a national shrine where the man who saved the union spent his last six weeks," Tim Welch, president of Friends of Grant Cottage. "Visitors can see exactly the way it was on July 23, 1885 by coming here. The clock is stopped at eight minutes after eight in the morning when he breathed his last. His personal items are still in the sick room where he wrote and where he ate."

Not long before he died, Grant asked to be taken to the area near the cottage where he could soak in the amazing views. It's called "The Outlook."

Now because of the closing of the Mount McGregor prison that surrounds the cottage, volunteers are evaluating the historic site's outlook.

Months ago the Department of Corrections announced plans to close the prison at the end of this week, but Welch says the state has promised to continue to supply water and power to the historic cottage.

"Grant Cottage is here to stay and the closing of the prison certainly does not mean the closing of Grant Cottage," Welch said.

State parks is taking over the land now occupied by the prison and is working on a long-term plan for utilities. They're also figuring out how to handle cottage security after prison personnel are gone.

Welch acknowledges that stopping at a guard shack and showing your license to a corrections officer kept some some visitors away, but it also kept away thieves and vandals.

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