The Grant Boyhood Home in Georgetown was the home of Ulysses S. Grant, 18th president of the United States, from 1823, when Grant was one year old, until 1839, when he left to attend West Point. Ulysses Grant lived in this home longer than any other house during his lifetime.
In 1976, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and, nine years later, it was designated a National Historic Landmark.
Built in the 1820s
Grant’s parents, Jesse and Hanna Grant, first constructed a tannery in 1823 when they moved to Georgetown from nearby Point Pleasant, Ohio, where Grant had been born the year before. They built the first part of their home, now a wing toward the rear of the house, later that year. Although made of brick, it was a very modest home, with one room on the first floor and another on the second. A one-story kitchen was added in 1825. About 1828, the Grants built a two-story home in front of, and attached to, the 1823 house.
While growing up there, Grant — born Hiram Ulysses Grant — went to school, worked in his father’s tannery across the street and spent hours in his favorite pastime: working with horses. Grant lived in Georgetown with his parents and four siblings until 1839, when he left to attend West Point. It was there that, through a bureaucratic error, his name was listed as Ulysses Simpson Grant.
In Grant Family Until the 1840s
The Georgetown house remained in the Grant family until the 1840s. In 1868, new owners made improvements including a Victorian-style porch, a conservatory and elongated windows. In 1905 a new porch replaced the old one. By the 1960s, the house had become apartments and was facing demolition.
Georgetown’s nationally-known wildlife artist, John Ruthven, and his late wife Judy, who was an active preservationist, bought the Grant Boyhood Home in 1977 to ensure its future. The Ruthvens restored and furnished the house, with one room dedicated to Grant memorabilia, and added a wing to the rear for restroom and exhibit space. It has been open to visitors since 1982, when it was named a National Historic Landmark, the highest designation awarded to historic properties by the federal government. In 2002, the Ruthvens donated the Grant Boyhood Home to the State of Ohio, which placed it under the auspices of the Ohio Historical Society.