Essential Architecture- Washington D.C.

Ulysses S. Grant Memorial


sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady and architect William Casey Pearce


National Mall, Washington, D.C.






Stone, bronze


The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial is a United States Presidential Memorial in Washington, D.C., honoring American Civil War General and President of the United States Ulysses S. Grant. It is located at the base of Capitol Hill (Union Square, the Mall, 1st Street, between Pennsylvania Avenue and Maryland Avenue), and like the United States Capitol above it (at the top of the hill), the monument's statue faces west, looking towards the Washington Monument and overlooking the National Mall. It is the largest equestrian statue in the United States and the second largest in the world, after the monument to Italy's King Victor Emanuel in Rome.

The monument was created by sculptor Henry Merwin Shrady, who spent 20 years of his life working on it. The platform for the monument, made of Vermont marble, is 252 feet long and 71 feet wide. It is divided into three sections. The tall, middle section depicts Grant aboard his war horse Cincinnati on a 22-foot high pedestal, and he is flanked, on either side, by fighting Union Artillery and Cavalry groups. Surrounding the main pedestal are four shorter pedestals, each one supporting a bronze figure of a lion in repose.

The most striking feature of the central statue is Grant's calm (almost disaffected) attitude amidst the raging fighting going on around him. This is not surprising because Grant was known for his calmness and coolheadedness during battle.

Construction began in 1909; the Artillery Group (above) was completed in 1912, the Cavalry Group (below) was completed in 1916, and the bronze figure of Grant was completed in 1920. The memorial was dedicated on the 100th anniversary of Grant's birth, April 27, 1922. Today it stands as the center of a three-part sculptural group including the James A. Garfield Monument and the Peace Monument.
Henry Merwin Shrady
Henry Merwin Shrady (1871 - 1922) was born in East View, NY. His father, George Shrady, was one of the physicians who attended former president Ulysses S. Grant during the struggle with throat cancer that led to his death on July 23, 1885 (for more on Grant, see Presidential Avenue).

He graduated from Columbia University in 1894 and spent one year thereafter at Columbia's law school. He left law school to join with his brother-in-law, Jay Gould (son of millionairre Edwin Gould, the financier), at the Continental Match Company. The company failed and Shrady contracted typhoid fever which diverted him forever from the business world. His recuperation left spare time to pursue a growing interest in artistry.

Shrady as the fallen soldier in the cavalry group

The Ulysses S. Grant memorial in Washington, DC
Shrady and architect William Casey Pearce won the competition to build the Ulysses S. Grant memorial in 1903. The memorial was dedicated in 1922, a few weeks after Shrady's untimely death.