The National Park Service is celebrating its centennial in 2016.
The first national park was Yellowstone National Park, which was established by President Ulysses S Grant. He signed an act creating it on March 1, 1872. The National Park Service was created by an act signed Aug. 25, 1916.
Today this organization oversees 58 national parks across the United States. Illinois boasts five national parks, three of which are historic trails. Arkansas has eight. There are 12 in Missouri.
This month we are featuring the Ulysses S Grant National Historic Site. It is located at 7400 Grant Road, off Gravois Road (Hwy. 30) in St. Louis County, next to Grant’s Farm. The site includes the original White Haven Estate, summer kitchen, an icehouse and chicken house (all restored to 1875), and a visitor’s center. A museum is located in the historic stable.
White Haven was the home of Col. Frederick F. Dent and his wife, Ellen Bray (Wrenshall). Julia Dent, who became the wife of President Ulysses S Grant, was born at White Haven, the fifth of eight children. Her parents made the trip to the part of Upper Louisiana we know as St. Louis in 1816 by flatboat and carriage.