Roosevelt Hyde Park


Patricia Truslow, Contributor

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hyde park rooseveltThe home of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park, New York, called Springwood, was the birthplace and home of the 32nd President of the United States. It is also his burial place.

Springwood began as a large house with fifteen rooms, but after Roosevelt's father bought the property, and after subsequent renovations and additions, the house became a mansion indicative of the Colonial Revival Style with a carriage house, horse stables and a stone fa├žade. The last changes to the house were in 1915 and 1916, when Franklin Roosevelt and his mother jointly made revisions and additions to the house that would accommodate a growing family and the entertainment demands of a president. Franklin's home rivaled any in the United States at the time.

Roosevelt's house and grounds in Hyde Park was always resplendent in foliage, flowers and trees, which contributed greatly to FDR's interest in nature. During the period between 1911 and his death in 1945, Roosevelt planted over 400,000 trees at Springwood. Many of the trees Roosevelt planted came from the reforestation projects he instituted as part of the federal government programs to provide work for the unemployed. Franklin Roosevelt gradually converted much of the land at his home into experimental growing areas as part of an agreement with Syracuse University's Forestry Department.

FDR donated Springwood to the American people in 1943, but retained life-time rights to the property for family usage. Roosevelt visited his home for the last time two weeks before his death. He was buried near the sundial in the home's Rose Garden on April 15, 1945. His wife, Eleanor, was buried at his side in 1962. His constant companion dog, Fala, is also buried at FDR's home. In 1945, Franklin's home was relinquished by his family and deeded to the U.S. Department of the Interior under the management of the National Park Service as a National Historic Site. Today, the 740 acre home of Franklin Roosevelt in Hyde Park is open to the public for tours.

During his presidency, Franklin Roosevelt also called the White House home, along with Eleanor and his two youngest sons. His daughter, Anna lived in the White House on two separate occasions. The Roosevelt White House was always lively and busy with so many children and other family members around, as well as the venue for state functions, but the Roosevelt family managed to maintain an atmosphere of home regardless of the formal dinners and receptions held there. This home of FDR, however, fell into some disrepair due to the depression and Roosevelt's refusal to spend tax dollars on his home while some Americans were losing theirs.

The only home FDR actually built and called solely his own was his cottage in Warm Springs, Georgia, his vacation retreat. This home of Franklin Roosevelt was called "The Little White House." FDR built the house in 1932 while he was governor of New York. The mineral waters of the springs usually stayed around eighty-eight degrees offering Roosevelt great relief from the pain of polio. It was in this Roosevelt home that the president died on April 12, 1945. The Franklin D. Roosevelt house is now an historic site.