Friday, January 29, 2016

Ten Views of Franklin D Roosevlet's Home

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born January 30 1882 at Springwood in Hyde Park, New York and died April 12, 1945 in Warm Springs, Georgia.

Visiting Springwood on the Roosevelt estate in Hyde Park, New York as it stands today.  It is where Franklin Delano Roosevelt was born, lived most of his life and was brought home and laid to rest in the rose garden. It somewhat resembles the White House, in my opinion but it did not always look like that.He did spend four terms there. He must have liked the look.


Below you can see what the original farmhouse looked like when his father James purchased it in 1867. He was the only child of James Roosevelt and Sara Delano. His parents were sixth cousins. Sara was James second wife, his first wife died and they had a son together, James. He would have been Franklin's half brother.


Inside the house are many remnants of the family and their life throughout the years that they lived there. There is a bronze statue of Roosevelt in the Entrance Hall and many nautical photographs and paintings on the wall I attribute to his Assistant Secretary of the Navy years.


The library/living room, I call the chair room. You can find two governors chairs, his wheelchair and a child's Windsor back chair among the vast collection of chairs in this room. From watching the video on C-Span, I mention at the bottom of the list, I learned of the two governors chairs framing the fireplace (one is hidden by the lamp) were occupied by Roosevelt an his mother. They would sit in these two chairs on election night and await the results. He designed his wheel chair from a kitchen chair and created the hardware so it would fold and be easily transported. In this one picture alone I count 11 chairs.


I found the furniture in the dining room interesting,   It is made of heavy carved ornate walnut. I am assuming the furniture came from the Delano side of the family since they traveled to China for trade and Sara spent some time there. It would not fit in my house it is too big, but interesting pieces nonetheless. The shades on the lamps do not go all the way around, that is rather odd but interesting on the same thought.  I wonder what it does to the light.


The stairs were roped off so I did not think we were going to get to go up and then our guide split us into two groups and up we went. Climbing the stairs I wondered how Franklin would have gotten up the stairs and there it was, an elevator.


The Pink Room is fit for a Queen. Queen Elizabeth and King George the VI stayed here during their visit to Hyde Park. Maybe just a touch too flowery for the King.


The renovated house has 35 rooms and 9 baths.  This bathroom was once a closet turned into a bathroom. Originally the house had only two bathrooms. Notice there is no shower and the beautiful hard wood floors, marble counter top and such nicely folded towels. Where is all their stuff? Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, soap, razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, water glass, should all be cluttering that bathroom. I am glad tours don't come through my house.


I am not sure which came next down the hallway but here you go, the Birthing Room. President Roosevelt was born here.  I don't know if anyone else was but he and Eleanor did have 6 children, 5 lived to adulthood. It is a terrible photograph on my part but I have to show it.  It is nostalgic, President Roosevelt was born here. I found the title on the book across the room in the second photograph  "Life" to be most appropriate. It must have been staged. Franklin weigh in at 10 lbs, a big boy, according to the writings of his father.




I found the Boyhood Room to be fascinating. It wasn't that big. Franklin used this room from boyhood until he was married. The Crimson sign above the door hung over his office at Harvard when he was the editor of the college newspaper.





The Chintz Room was used by Eleanor and Franklin until renovations were done and the south wing was added. Later it was used as a guest room.  The twin beds were made at Val-Kill Industries a company operated by Mrs. Roosevelt and friends during the late 20's and early 30's. Val-Kill was an area on the Roosevelt estate where Eleanor could explore her interests.


This is the President's bedroom.  He and Eleanor shared the room until he was stricken with polio. The connecting door leads to Eleanor's room. I just recently read, Roosevelt may not have had polio, Guillain-Barre Syndrome more closely matches his condition. If this were the cause treatment may have produced a different result but what the polio diagnosis did was lead to a greater awareness of this disease and the creation of the March of Dimes.



Franklin Roosevelt designed his own library and it is said to be the first Presidential library. It was built by Philadelphia contractor, John McShain. Roosevelt wanted to preserve his papers and collections he had gathered over his political career, he did not have enough room in his house.  It is said to be one of the most extensive collections of all the Presidential libraries. Eleanor's wing also contains many items of interest and quite research worthy. The Roosevelts kept all correspondence. It is weird to think if they were emails, that would all be on a server somewhere. I did not get into the library but from what I have read, if you meet the proper criteria you may do your research there. Criteria could be as simple as an interest in the family, they were very interesting people or an interest in that period in time in history, another compelling topic. I don't know the specifics to qualify but I had heard the staff is most welcoming and accommodating.


Freedom Court is located in front of the Eleanor Roosevelt addition of the library. It commemorates the vision of two great heads of state Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, warriors of peace.
The sculptor in the background is called Break Free.  It was created from sections of the Berlin Wall by artist Edwina Sandys, granddaughter of Winston Churchill. Human figure are shown breaking free of symbolic barbed wire - expressing freedom's triumph over totalitarianism. To me this was the most striking part of the visit.


Franklin Delano Roosevelt died in Warm Springs, Georgia.  He had requested to be buried in the rose garden at Springwood in Hyde Park, New York.  His grave is marked by the United States flag.


Eleanor died in November 1962 and was laid to rest to the right of her husband at Springwood.


FDR's 134th Birthday and Gravesite Ceremony
January 30, 2016, 3 p.m., Hyde Park, Gravesite and Henry A. Wallace Center
Remarks by FDR Presidential Library Director Paul Sparrow, with Birthday Celebration following. I am sure Eleanor will be there, if only in spirit.

The United States Military Academy at West Point provides an honor guard and color guard for FDR's birthday commemoration. 

I found this on the Internet http://www.c-span.org/video/?151628-1/life-portrait-franklin-d-roosevelt.

I included all the history making Roosevelts this week because it is difficult to mention one without the connection they all had to each other. Many books, documentaries, opinions, myths, blogs etc. have been written about each of them. Franklin was elected to four terms in the White House. Not every one liked him but according to votes most did and no one can deny the efforts he made to improve Americans way of life, as he struggled with his own disabilities.

Happy Birthday Mr. Roosevelt and thank you for benefits generations before and after me have and will gain from your accomplishments. 

To visit any of the Roosevelt National Historic Sites allow for plenty of time, there is a lot there. 

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