“I am pure Hudson River”. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made this remark in 1944, after going home to Springwood for a couple days, for a break from his social life as President.
Franklin’s father bought the property on which Springwood now sits in 1867 for $40,000. It included a house that overlooked the Hudson River and a working farm. In that house, FDR was born. He was the only child of Sara and James Roosevelt. Growing up on the Hudson gave him a great love for the river, and he loved sailing the river. When he was a young adult he would race his ice yacht “Hawk” along the river.
When FDR contracted polio in 1921, the whole house a Springwood had to be redesigned to make it accessible to wheelchair. After FDR father died, his mother, Sara, took to staying at Springwood. FDR retreated to his small home along the Hudson River, seeking strength and relaxation during his busy life as president.
When we arrived we went to the Visitor Center and signed up for a tour of the estate. All the tour participants gathered around a circular mural on the floor. IT was a painting of the property. Our tour guide pointed out the key points on the mural, so that we would know where we were going. We strolled towards the house, admiring it. Remember, we visited Springwood before the Newport Mansions, this was one of the largest houses we had been in. We walked in the door and there we 3 rooms straight off the main hall, the dining room, the study, and the parlor. FDR was a great collector. He collected stuffed birds and political cartoons, to ship painting and stamps. Quite a bit of his collections were on display. Upstairs was the servant quarters and many bedrooms to accommodate the large family. All the gardens were very lovely.
This home at Springwood was Franklin’s love and life. He stayed often, and always enjoyed his home along the Hudson River.