|Location||Grantwood Village, MO|
Grant's Farm is a historic farm, and long-standing landmark in Grantwood Village, Missouri, built by Ulysses S. Grant on land given to him and his wife by his father in law Frederick Fayette Dent shortly after they became married in 1848. It has also served as a residence of various members of the Busch family.
Description and history
The property was at one time owned by Ulysses S. Grant and prior to that, by the Dent family. Since 1903 it has been owned by the Busch family, who previously owned the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company until it was sold to InBev in 2008. Originally a private deer park for the Busch Family, Grant's Farm has been an animal reserve since 1954. It is open to the public for free; however, there is a parking fee of $18 per vehicle. This fee helps to maintain the farm and care for the animals. The farm is home to such animals as buffalo, elephants, camels, kangaroos, donkeys, goats, peacocks, the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales among others. Most of these animals can be seen by visitors on a tram tour of the deer park region of the park, while the Clydesdales are found in their nearby barn and pastures. The farm also contains a cabin called "Hardscrabble," which was built by Ulysses S. Grant in 1856 on another part of the property and later relocated to Grant's Farm after being shown at the 1904 World's Fair. It is the only remaining structure that was hand-built by a U.S. president prior to assuming office.
Also on the farm is the Busch family mansion known as the "Big House", and a house in which Ulysses S. Grant resided between the Mexican and Civil Wars called White Haven. This had been his wife, Julia Grant's, family home. Colonel Frederick Dent, Julia's father, gave 80 acres of the farm to the couple as a wedding present on what today is Rock Hill Road. Grant built his cabin on this land. Colonel Dent was a farmer in St. Louis County. He owned 925 acres along Gravois Creek, 10 miles southwest of the city, and owned slaves to farm the land. Five miles from the Dent farm was Jefferson Barracks, where Ulysses S. Grant was assigned in 1843, after attending West Point and rooming with Julia Dent's brother. Grant's cabin was featured at the 1904 World's Fair. White Haven, next door to Grant's Farm, the Busch family estate, is now a national historic site: the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site.
Ownership and potential sale of Grant's Farm
In November 2015, the Saint Louis Zoo agreed to purchase Grant's Farm from six heirs of the beer baron, August A. "Gussie" Busch, Jr. for approximately $30 million. The deal required a city judge to back four of the Busch heirs in order to release the land from a trust. Area residents would also have to approve $8.5 million in added taxes to support yearly park operational costs. The deal would triple the land holdings of the zoo and allow the zoo to build a breeding facility for its endangered animals. The Busch family would remain owners of the family mansion for the time being. A-B InBev had leased the land from the Busch family and had operated Grant's Farm since it bought Anheuser-Busch in 2008. A-B InBev agreed to donate approximately $27 million to the zoo to buy the farm. One Busch heir, Billy Busch, made a competing offer as he wanted to keep the farm in the family. Billy Busch owned William K. Busch Brewing Co. and wanted to expand his brewery on the land. In March 2016, the Saint Louis Zoo Association withdrew its offer to buy Grant's Farm, citing the family's disagreement as one of the primary reasons. In April 2016, the family dispute continued as Billy Busch outbid his siblings offer by $1. His bid would be $26,000,001 along with $8 million to purchase the family mansion. In December of 2017, 5 family members (Andrew Busch, Peter Busch, Robert Hermann Jr, Trudy Valentine, and Beatrice von Gontard) agreed to purchase the farm. Their hope is to keep it free and open to the public along with their operating partner A-B Inbev, for generations to come.
- Bibliography of Ulysses S. Grant
- Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site
- List of residences of presidents of the United States
- "Saint Louis ZOO Association Announces Opportunity to Purchase Grant's Farm from Busch Family". Saint Louis Front Page. November 18, 2015.
- O'Neil, Tim (August 22, 2010). "A Look Back • Ulysses Grant's marriage here was a quiet affair". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Hunn, David (November 19, 2015). "St. Louis Zoo proposes buying Grant's Farm; Billy Busch makes competing offer". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Bock, Jessica (March 5, 2016). "St. Louis Zoo withdraws Grant's Farm offer". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016.
- Cambria, Nancy (April 25, 2016). "Billy Busch one-ups siblings by $1 on bid for Grant's Farm". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved June 1, 2016.