Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

June 12, 2023

Dan Keefe (518) 486-1868 |

New York State Parks Announces State-of-the-Art Fire Protection for Grant Cottage State Historic Site

Water Mist-Nitrogen Mixture Creates Rapid Fire Suppression While Reducing Potential Water Damage Risk 


Protects Irreplaceable Mountaintop Retreat Where General Grant Wrote His Celebrated Memoir


A Project Video Is Available Here


The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) today announced a $1.5 million state-of-the-art fire detection and suppression system has been installed at Grant Cottage State Historic Site, the Saratoga County retreat where Civil War General and United States President Ulysses S. Grant spent his final days. 

"This new equipment will better protect this National Historic Landmark, and its irreplaceable collection of historic furniture, floral arrangements and President Grant's personal items from potentially devastating loss," State Parks Commissioner Kulleseid said. "It is a crucial investment in innovative technology to help preserve the Cottage and its collection for the future generations of visitors." 

The new system deploys a mixture of nitrogen and water mist, rather than streams of water, when sensors detect a fire. In the event of a blaze, the mist rapidly lowers fire temperatures while the nitrogen displaces oxygen, depriving the fire of the fuel it needs to continue. Mist systems also deploy much less water than traditional fire sprinkler systems, reducing the risk of widespread water damage to rooms and contents in the aftermath of a fire.

Friends of Grant Cottage President Tim Welch said, "Fire has been our greatest worry for this 140-year-old wooden Cottage, and now we can rest easier as we preserve this time-capsule from the summer of 1885 where the Man who Saved the Union died in Saratoga County."

While a water mist fire suppression system was installed at the Olana State Historic Site in Colombia County in 2007 and John Jay State Historic Site in Westchester County in 2022, this nitrogen-based system is the first of its kind in the State Park system. The Grant Cottage system also includes highly sensitive state-of-the-art detection systems.

Funding for the project included a $250,000 contribution from the Friends of Grant Cottage, with the balance provided through the State Parks Capital Program.

Grant Cottage State Historic Site is cooperatively managed with the Friends of Grant Cottage. The Friends offer tours and programming while State Parks manages the facilities and infrastructure. The cottage will reopen for tours on June 17. The grounds and the Visitor Center are currently open. The Friends of Grant Cottage are offering guided history hikes on the grounds while the Cottage is being refurnished. Visit to book a tour.

President Grant died of throat cancer in the cottage in the Adirondack foothills on July 23, 1885. President Grant arrived at the cottage on June 16, 1885, with a large entourage of family, friends, servants, and physicians in order to complete his memoirs. He died just four days after his final proofreading.

Today, the Cottage and its furnishings remain essentially the same as during the Grant family's stay for six weeks in 1885. Guests to the Cottage may visit the spacious porch, tour the Cottage's four rooms, and view floral arrangements that remain from Grant's August 4th funeral.

The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation oversees more than 250 parks, historic sites, recreational trails, golf courses, boat launches and more, which in 2022 were visited by record 79.5 million people. For more information on any of these recreation areas, visit, download the free NY State Parks Explorer mobile app or call 518.474.0456. Also, connect on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.