Lemuel "L.P." Grant

Brief Biography Of Lemuel "L.P." Grant

Neighborhood History

Author: Provided by Atlanta Preservation Center

Born in Frankfort, Maine, Lemuel Pratt Grant came to Atlanta in 1840 as a railroad engineer and over the next 40 years prospered as he built Georgia's railroads and secured Atlanta's place as a railroad center. Promoted through the ranks, he became president of the Atlanta and West Point Railway (1881-87) and the Western Railroad of Alabama (1883-87) and helped incorporate several other railroads along the way.

In 1843 Grant invested in land in what is now Southeast Atlanta, paying from $.75 to $2 an acre, and built his home in the center of the property. It was 100 acres southeast of his mansion that he donated to the city in 1882 for a park so children would have a place to play and adults a chance for rest and peace from their daily routine.

This same year Grant married Laura L. Williams of Decatur. Their four children were John A. Grant, Myra Grant (who married William B. Armstrong), Lemuel Pratt Grant, Jr., and Lettie Grant (who married George Logan). When Mrs. Grant died in 1879, Lemuel wrote: "My house escaped the torch which was so generally applied by Sherman's hosts on leaving Atlanta. The surroundings are rather attractive, especially the lawn and grove in front. But the light of the household has left us for a better country, where wars and suffering shall never come. My dear wife died on the 25th of May last year...The house is so desolate to me though filled with children and grandchildren, who vie with each other in kindness."

Grant joined the Confederate Army in 1862 and as chief engineer designed the defensive fortifications for the city, a portion of which survive nearby in Grant Park. It has been said that his house was spared in 1864 because Federal soldiers found a Masonic apron in a trunk in the attic, and Gen. William T. Sherman forbade the burning of things connected with the Masons.

After the Civil War, Grant worked hard to enhance life in his adopted city. He served as a member of the Atlanta City Council, Water Commission, Board of Education and the committee to draft a new charter. In addition to giving the land for Grant Park, he sold the property for a public hospital where Grady now stands below market value and contributed thousands of dollars to it. Elected an honorary member of the Young Men's Library Association, Grant donated an American Cyclopedia and funds for books. In addition, he was an active member of Central Presbyterian Church. In 1881 he married Jane L. Crew and built a new house on Hill Street.