Park Service Ponders What to Do about Ulysses Grant Home

Article excerpt

The National Park Service will hold a public meeting here early next year to receive suggestions in the effort to restore White Haven, the home of Ulysses S. Grant and his family here from 1854 to 1859.

White Haven is the focal point of the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site at 7400 Grant Road in south St. Louis County.

Comments at the public hearing will be used to help determine whether to restore the property as it was when Grant was president in 1875 or preserve the site as it is today after changes made in the 20th century.

Jill York O'Bright, superintendent of the site, said this week that the public meeting would be held probably in February.

In October, Congress appropriated $150,000 to plan the restoration. O'Bright said the money would be used for construction documents and design work.

She said the construction documents could be completed late next year. Construction could begin late next year or early in 1995.

O'Bright estimated construction would take two to three years with completion expected in 1997 or 1998.

The restoration would involve the main house, a stone house to its rear, a chicken coop and an ice house. Cost of the restoration has been estimated at $5 million.

Although acknowledging that federal fiscal restraints may delay the restoration, O'Bright expressed confidence that money for the project eventually would be approved.

She said some work would have to be done soon "just to keep the property stable." Otherwise, she said, the government might have "to spend a lot of money on fixing up" the site. …