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Civil War history enthusiasts as well as architecture buff should definitely stop by Grant?s Tomb when visiting New York City. Formally named as General Grant National Memorial, the majestic and historically significant structure sits on a highpoint at the Morning Heights in Manhattan and offers guests a panoramic view of the Hudson River.

?Who is buried in Grant?s Tomb?? This is an old fashion American trick question or joke associated with this national memorial. Well, strictly speaking, no one is buried in Grant?s Tomb because former president Ulysses S. Grant and his better half are not actually buried underground. Rather, their remains are entombed in sarcophagi made from red volcanic rocks called porphyry which is housed in the imposingly beautiful mausoleum which resembles Rome?s Pantheon. During its heyday, Grant?s Tomb was the most famous tourist destination in Manhattan. However, its popularity has declined over the years according to the National Park Service. Nevertheless, it does not dilute the significance of the national memorial as it holds the remains of one of United States? most gallant heroes who led United States to victory in beating the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

The idea to create a memorial or a monument to honor Ulysses Grant was put forward long before the beloved leader died. The creation of the tomb set a record for the most amount of money ever gathered to build a public shrine during its time. Over 90,000 individuals contributed and the money collected summed to $600,000. Then New York City Governor William Grace was instrumental in securing the perfect location for the tomb.

The design of Grant?s Tomb is the brainchild of architect John Duncan. What was constructed though was a toned down version of his original blueprint which proved to be really grand and expensive to build given the money amassed for the building of the memorial.

General Grant National Memorial was inaugurated in 1897 and up until now holds the record of being the biggest tomb in the United States. The tomb was built using granite totaling to 8,000 tons. The mausoleum?s floor was crafted from top caliber Massachusetts marble while superior Italian marble was utilized for the trimmings and railings. Critics and experts have depicted Grant?s Tomb as a structure marrying eclectic and classical aesthetics resembling the Pantheon.

There are two ways to view the toms of President Grant and his wife Julia. First is a top view from the circular railings situated in the middle of the main room. Second is by getting up close with the tombs. Aside from the beautifully crafted sarcophagi, guests can also see busts that show milestones in Grant?s life. Aside from the main room, there are also two smaller rooms where visitors can learn about the former president?s career, the famous encounters during the Civil War and more information about the tomb.

Today, Grant?s Tomb is managed by the National Park Service, one of the six attractions it oversees in New York City. The national memorial is open every day and only a few people visit here at a given time. Access to the memorial is totally free and is a stone?s throw away from another famous NYC destination Riverside Park.
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