, , , ,

U S Grant National Historic Site

Continuing our quest to visit national parks in our home state of Missouri, we head back to the eastern side of the state and the city of St. Louis. It is time to visit the home of one of our Presidents, and take a peak at the world famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses.

DSCN0175 (3)

White Haven

Ulysses S. Grant began his life of public service when he entered West Point Military Academy. Upon graduation, Grant was assigned to Jefferson Barracks Military Post in Lemay, Missouri, on the banks of the Mississippi river just south of St. Louis.

He had been invited by his roommate, Frederick Dent, to visit his family home, White Haven Plantation, in St. Louis. And so it happened that on one of these visits he met, and soon fell in love with Julia Dent, Frederick’s sister. They were married on August 22, 1884.

Following their marriage, Grant was assigned to many different posts throughout the country, and Julia followed him to most of them. But after all the moves, and all the wars, Ulysses and Julia decided to settle down and raise their family at White Haven. They moved to Galena, Illinois for a period of time, but in 1869, they purchased White Haven from Julia’s family. It was the home they loved, the home with so many sweet memories, the home they wished to live in for the rest of their lives. But, once again, service to the country intervened, and the Grant’s would spend eight years in the White House. During those eight years, Grant managed the plantation through staff he hired to handle its day to day operation.

When you visit White Haven today, you will tour the house with a guide. As you move through the rooms, the guide will share information about the Grants and their life on the plantation. The tour was very interesting, the guide very engaging, but I did wish they had had more period furnishing to “fill” the space to better reflect what life in this house would have looked like.

Behind the main house is a kitchen house which was built at the request of a cherished servant of the family. It has a kitchen and a wash room.

And a little further back on the property you will find a chicken house and an ice house.

The chicken house, in the foreground, alongside the ice house.

The chicken house, in the foreground, alongside the ice house.

When you first arrive at White Haven, you will enter the Visitor Center where you will decide how to visit this interesting place in American history. You will probably want to begin by watching the excellent film on Grant’s life, as a soldier, a husband, a father, and a man with the strong belief that all men should be free.

You will then decide if you will next want to tour the grounds with your guide, or visit the outstanding museum dedicated to Grant’s life, which is housed in the horse stable. Either way is fine.

Learn more about White Haven, and plan your own visit by visiting the website at http://www.nps.gov/ulsg/index.htm

The Clydesdales

Scan_20160324 (4)

Adjacent to the Grant historical site is Grant’s Farm. Grant’s Farm was originally owned by the Dent family, then the Grant family, and now it is the property of the Busch family, of Anheuser-Busch fame. It is an animal reserve and park. It also has stables for the world famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses. The fifty or so Clydesdales residing at the Grant’s Farm stables range in age from six months to some that are fifteen years and older, and are retired.

While visiting Grant’s Farm you can purchase tickets to tour the Clydesdale facility…or you can do what we often do, which is stop and see them in their pastures from the bike trail that runs along the edge of the park.

Scan_20160324 (3)

Visiting the Clydesdales while biking the trail adjacent to the park.

Hardscrabble, a house Grant built for his family on the Dent property, is also located in Grant’s Farm, and can be viewed on a tram ride through the park.

You can learn more about planning a visit to see the Clydesdales and Grant’s Farm at their website, http://www.grantsfarm.com/.

Enjoy the journey!

White Haven Rice Pudding with Lemon Sauce

DSCN0378 (3)

One of Ulysses S. Grant’s favorite foods in all the world was rice pudding. I played with several recipes I found, and came up with a version my husband and I really enjoy. I hope you will, too!

Rice Pudding

  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 3 c. hot cooked rice
  • 4 eggs, separated
  • 2 c. half and half
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Put the hot rice into a large bowl. Stir the butter into the hot rice.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks slightly, then mix in the half and half, milk, sugar, lemon peel, vanilla, and salt. Add this mixture to the rice and stir together thoroughly.

Beat the egg whites until they are stiff. Fold the stiff egg whites into the rice mixture. Top with the slivered almonds.

Pour mixture into a buttered, shallow 2 quart baking dish. Place the baking dish into a pan of hot water. Bake for one hour or until knife inserted near the center comes out clean. This will make eight warm and delicious servings.

Lemon Sauce

  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
  • 3 Tbsp. lemon juice

Mix together the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in the boiling water.

Cook, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients. Serve over the rice pudding.

And yes, wild violets are edible, and they are delicious. I picked these from our back yard. It makes the dish look so pretty, even if you don’t want to eat them…my husband doesn’t like them much, and so just leaves them.