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I visited the Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt on a Wednesday in October. October is typically a very busy month for the Hyde Park NPS sites, but it wasn’t too bad on a week day. I stopped at the visitor center, got my ticket for the 9:30 tour and then watched the 15 minute film about FDR.
FDR was the only president to be elected four times, though he only served three full terms. He passed away suddenly at the beginning of his fourth.
I hadn’t ever seen the film footage from his inaugural addresses and was struck by the fact that he delivered them standing. I knew that he’d been paralyzed by polio and was the only disabled man ever to serve as president.
Our docent explained that FDR never admitted that he couldn’t walk and had a gentleman’s agreement with the press to refrain from photographing him in the wheelchair. He had heavy steel braces made so that he could stand behind the podium.
After the film, our group walked over to Springwood, the Federal-Italianate mansion where FDR was born and lived for his whole life. Built in 1800, FDR’s father James purchased Springwood in 1866. FDR and his mother Sara expanded the house in 1915.
In 1943, Roosevelt donated the property to the USA with the stipulation that his family would be allowed to live there for the rest of their lives. He died two years later and the family relinquished their rights, transferring ownership to the National Park Service.
FDR, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Scottish terrier, Fala are all buried in Sara Roosevelt’s Rose Garden.
Hyde Park posts:
- FDR Presidential Library
- Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (Coming Soon)
- Gardens at Bellefield (Coming Soon)
- Home of FDR National Historic Site
- Vanderbilt Mansion National Historic Site (Coming Soon)
Location: 4097 Albany Post Rd, Hyde Park, NY 12538
Designation: National Historic Site
Date designated or established: 1/15/1944
Date of my visit: 10/3/2018