City Hall receives piece of American history

Long Branch — On Friday, the City of Long Branch got a valuable delivery from America’s past: the personal china cabinet of the country’s 18th President, Ulysses S. Grant.

Standing next to the installed cabinet, left to right are: Janice Grace, Mayor John Pallone, Harold Josefowitz, Lisa Kelly, and Jim Foley.

A bold and innovative soldier, Grant led the U.S. Army to win the Civil War. From the start of his presidency in 1869 to his death in 1885, Grant spent his summers in Long Branch, which established the city’s reputation as the summer resort capital of the nation. Though the cottage he relaxed in no longer stands, some of his personal effects remain, including the black walnut cabinet now in City Hall.

“While the Seven Presidents Museum undergoes renovations, City Hall will display President Grant’s china cabinet to the public. We hope this major artifact from our past sparks interest in Long Branch’s rich history, and compliments the city’s Winslow Homer Display,” said James Foley, President of the Long Branch Historical Museum Association.

City Hall boasts a number of 19th century prints about President Grant’s stay in Long Branch, which the public can view in the building. There is a photo of Grant’s summer home on Ocean Avenue in Elberon as well as a photo with his family in front of the home.

Other prints on display include President Grant leading a dance at the Stetson house, also known as the West End Hotel. There is also a scene by Thomas Nast, a New Jersey illustrator, which pokes fun of Grant as the King on the bluff at his Elberon home, and includes the Democratic Party symbol of the donkey. Nast popularized the donkey and elephant as symbols of the national political parties.

“Long Branch has a promising future, an exciting present, and a fascinating past. We are eager to show off all three at City Hall,” said Mayor John Pallone.