This year our country will elect its 45th president. Eight of the first 44 presidents have come from Ohio–more than any other state except Virginia (which also produced eight). We’re proud of our presidential history here in Ohio and have many historic sites around the state where you can learn about these Ohioans who led our country.
One of the presidents was born in the county where I live, which I think is pretty cool. Ulysses S. Grant was born in Point Pleasant (Clermont County) and raised in nearby Georgetown (Brown County), both in southwestern Ohio. The Land of Grant has three sites you can tour: his Birthplace, Boyhood Home, and Schoolhouse. You can easily see all three in the same day.
I’ve taken my kids to all three sites and recently went back to the Boyhood Home for another visit. Grant’s Birthplace is a logical place to start your tour. We learned about Grant’s parents, Jesse and Hannah. The house contains several interesting artifacts from Grant’s life. I was fascinated by several personal items: a locket containing a lock of Grant’s hair, the gloves he wore to his first inauguration, and the Bible presented to him at that inauguration.
The Grant family moved to Georgetown the year after Ulysses was born. It takes about a half-hour to drive there from the birthplace.
Ulysses grew up in this house and the volunteer tour guides tell interesting stories about his life, including things that he liked (horses) and didn’t like (working in his father’s tannery). Ulysses will even tell you his own stories—an animatronic model of Ulysses as a teen is a high-tech feature of this historic site. Just touch his compass, apple, book, or wallet and he’ll tell you about them.
The home contains several original pieces of furniture, including Grant’s cradle. I love seeing ordinary items with a tie to history and this site didn’t disappoint—I saw the field binoculars that Grant used as a General during the Civil War.
You can also visit the schoolhouse that young Ulysses attended. It’s just a few blocks away. It’s a two-room schoolhouse—one room was a classroom and the other was where the teacher lived. I learned that Grant’s parents paid $1.50 per quarter for him to attend.
All of the Land of Grant historic sites are within an hour’s drive of downtown Cincinnati—an easy day trip—but if you’d like to stay locally, consider the Bailey House B&B which is housed in a historic home very close to Grant’s Boyhood Home.
All three of the sites are open Wednesday – Sunday from May through October. The season officially kicks off with U.S. Grant Days, a festival that includes site tours, period clothing, blacksmith and artillery demonstrations, and other activities that history buffs will appreciate.