The tree was named in 1867 after Ulysses S. Grant, Union Army general and the 18th President of the United States (1869–1877). President Calvin Coolidge proclaimed it the "Nation's Christmas Tree" on April 28, 1926. Due in large part to its huge base, the General Grant tree was thought to be the largest tree in the world prior to 1931, when the first precise measurements indicated that the General Sherman was slightly larger. On March 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared the tree a "National Shrine", a memorial to those who died in war. It is the only living object to be so declared.