Wait, Why Do They Call it WHITE Haven?

When you visit Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site, you can take a ranger-led tour of White Haven, the president’s home in the late 1850s.  But you’ll probably wonder why the home’s exterior isn’t painted white at all – it’s green!  

The young Army lieutenant Ulysses Grant first met his future wife, Julia Dent, at White Haven, the Missouri plantation owned by her parents.  Colonel Frederick Dent named the property after his family’s ancestral home in Maryland, which was called Whitehaven.  The handsome two-story frame house has sported a number of colors since it was first constructed in the early 1800s.  It was originally painted a light cream color, then was briefly repainted a medium gray around 1860.

White Haven circa 1850. Credit: NPS

In 1874, President and Mrs. Grant decided to have the home repainted in the fashionable Paris Green color that was all the rage during the Victorian Era. Although it was re-painted white while under private ownership in the 1940s, the National Park Service restored the house to the Grants’ preferred Paris Green color during the home’s restoration in the 1990s.

Credit: David Newmann, National Park Service

Visitors should definitely plan to stop by the 200-year-old home when they visit the historic White Haven estate.  Guided ranger tours are offered daily, the only way guests can access the interior of the venerable building.

(You can learn more about the history of the home’s evolving color scheme here.)

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