Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

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Welcome back to National Parks & other public lands with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.

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Sagamore Hill was Theodore Roosevelt’s home in Cove Neck, NY.  Known for being the 26th President of the United States, Roosevelt grew up in New York and accomplished much here before taking on Washington DC. He served as NYC Police Commissioner (where he  initiated sweeping reforms in the police department) and Governor of New York before moving into national politics.

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Of all Roosevelt’s achievements, he was proudest of his work in conservation. He created the first National Parks and signed into law the Antiquities Act (under which the president may designate National Monuments.)  So it is fitting that the National Park Service manages the home where he lived from 1886 until his death in 1919. The Sagamore Hill National Historic Site includes the mansion and also the Theodore Roosevelt Museum in a separate building on the grounds.

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The mansion was originally 22 rooms, was built for his first wife Alice Lee and named Leeholm after her. But she died before the home was completed, soon after the birth of their daughter. When Roosevelt remarried and moved into the home with his new family, he changed the name to Sagamore Hill (Sagamore is the Algonquin word for chieftain.)

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Ranger-led tours of Sagamore Hill can be reserved on the NPS website or purchased on a first-come basis at the visitor center. The North Room, part of a 1905 expansion, is filled with Roosevelt’s keepsakes and safari trophies. This room, along with others on the first floor, served as the ‘Summer White House’ for part of Roosevelt’s presidency. We were awed by this room, though struck by the irony of all the animal trophies in the home of one of our countries foremost conservationists.

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The site had just reopened at the time of our visit after an extensive multi-million-dollar, 4-year restoration project. It is beautifully preserved and most of the furnishings are original. The ranger’s narrative gave us a real feel for the dynamic leader and family man Roosevelt must have been.

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Location: 20 Sagamore Hill Rd, Oyster Bay, NY 11771

Designation: National Historic Site

Date designated or established: 7/25/1962

Date of my visit: 2/7/2016

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This windmill is a modern replica of the one Theodore Roosevelt originally installed. Because there was no electrical service here in those days, the windmill was used to pump water to a holding tank on the 3rd floor to provide running water for household needs.
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A bathroom with running water was a luxury at the time. The house was expanded to include the bathroom in 1905.
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One of the daughter’s bedrooms
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The kitchen, with running water
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Quentin Roosevelt was Theodore’s youngest & favorite son He was killed in action in WWI and awarded a Harvard degree posthumously,

21 thoughts on “Sagamore Hill National Historic Site

  1. Kings On the Road

    Very nice post on TR’s Sagamore Hill. Last year we visited FDR’s Hyde Park, Campobello and Warm Springs. Hope to see Sagamore next trip to the northeast.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am Danish and very interested in American history. I would love to book a guided tour with a ranger at TR’s home. I will have to find out how to get there.

    He and the Danish Jacob Riis became friends and they toured the poor areas of New York together to document the terrible living conditions of the immigrants in the Mulberry Bend slum

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well thank you for reading and commenting. It is easy to reserve the tour on the park’s website normally, but right now we are in a government shutdown and so most of the parks in the National system are closed. Hopefully when you are able to visit, the shutdown will be over

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! We will be visiting many NPS sites in New York this September, including Sagamore Hill.
    In your opinion, what is the easiest way to get to Long Island from the NYC area? We will have a rental car.
    Thanks for your advice!
    Scott and Tiff
    RavenAboutTheParks.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I really think driving is the best option. There may be a LIRR stop close to Cove Neck, but you’d have to Uber from the station to the park. I don’t think it would be very time or cost efficient, especially if you also wanted to see Fire Island NS on the same day. Just a warning that there is always traffic on the Long Island Expressway…the earlier in the morning you set out, the better. If you are interested in a meetup, you can message me when you get closer. There are trails on the grounds of Sagamore Hill that weren’t accessible when I was there in winter and I have not yet made it to Fire Island. Theresa

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Theresa, thanks for your advice. We are planning to stop at Fire Island and then do a blitz of the NYC sites September 21-23 after we drop of our rental car. That would be fun to meet you, we really enjoy your Instagram and travel blog.
        One more question — If we only have time for one portion of Gateway NRA, where should we go?
        Thanks again.
        Scott and Tiff

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I grew up in Staten Island and we used to go the Great Kills section of Gateway all the time, but the Fort Wadsworth section is on the other side of a heavily trafficked island. Also not sure what kind of visitors center they have in SI since I haven’t been since I was a kid. I have not been to the Jamaica Bay unit. My favorite is the Sandy Hook, NJ unit…there you have the beaches and maritime forest you’d see in Great Kills, but also the oldest lighthouse in the country and Fort Hancock with its museum. You could also visit the Navesink Twin lighthouse on the way in or out of that park…that’s a state park, but interesting if you like lighthouses and related to the history of Sandy Hook. Not sure if this will be convenient to where you are staying though.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You got some great photos of the home! Our tour guide was too stringent and wouldn’t let us take any–as were the rules. I snuck a few in anyway. I hope you got a chance to visit his gravesite down the road too. Love your winter landscape in this post.

    Liked by 1 person

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