President Ulysses Grant and his wife Julia lived in this house from April 1849 to May 1850 while he was stationed in Detroit. Currently located on the former Michigan State Fair grounds, the house is boarded up but slightly protected by a tall fence.* I learned about the house a couple year ago and was determined to make it out there this weekend.
The structure was originally located near Fort Wayne, where Grant was stationed as a Lieutenant, but was moved to the Fairgrounds over fifty years ago. The house has no historic marker or sign but if you want to see it, it is on W. State Fair Avenue, west of Woodward and south of 8 Mile. I’m grateful the house isn’t demolished but disappointed it hasn’t been maintained. If nothing else it seems like it would be a perfect addition to my favorite place in the world, Greenfield Village. Alas, it’s something to keep an eye on.
Since both the Grants wrote memoirs we have a couple notes from them about their time in Detroit.
It appears the General/President wasn’t fond of the state, writing that he didn’t vote in the 1851 Presidential election because he “did not wish to consider myself a citizen of Michigan.” Fortunately, Julia seemed to have a more favorable opinion when describing the house, writing it was a “sweet, pretty house, very snug and convenient.”
I hope it’s all of those things again one day.
*We didn’t trespass, Danny put the camera lens between the fence holes.