The Doors of Grants Tomb


by Edward Graf
Short Sketches on Passaic County History, 1935

Mr. Isaac W.  Halsted, who resided at 213 Godwin Street, Paterson, was foreman of Breen and Nason of New York, who had the contract for the carpenter work for Grant’s Tomb.  In July 1885, Mr. Halsted was instructed to make the doors for the tomb and at once proceeded to do the work himself.  The doors were double, made of oak, three and three-quarters inches thick. Their full size being six feet six inches by four feet and eight inches.

Mr. Halsted stated that this was the most troublesome task he ever undertook to do.  The work itself did not cause him any trouble, but he was nearly bothered to death by the relic hunters were out in full force.

From the applications, Mr. Halsted received for pieces of the timbers from which the doors were made he was led to believe that at least half of the people of the United States were dependent for their happiness on a piece of this timber.  The smallest pieces of shavings were anxiously sought for, and the carpenters who worked under Mr. Halsted were acting as commission merchants in the business of procuring relics.