Tag: VisitingaMuseum.com

The Arnault/Bianchi House   111 First Street Wood Ridge, NJ 07075

The Arnault/Bianchi House 111 First Street Wood Ridge, NJ 07075

The Arnault/Bianchi House

111 First Street

Wood Ridge, NJ  07075

I recently visited the Arnault/Bianchi House for a historic lecture by an actress who portrayed Amelia Earhart. It was an interesting afternoon of listening to the actor keep in character and describe her life just before her flight around the world. After the show, the actor was available for conversation with the audience and there was a light lunch after the performance. I thought this was a nice touch to end the afternoon.

The town of Wood Ridge, NJ,  where the Arnault/Bianchi House is located has made a commitment for the house to be used for cultural events and hands on programs such as poetry readings and author visits.

The house was built in the 1880’s  by one of Wood Ridge’s founding father’s, French wine merchant, Fridolin Arnault. The Frenchman used  to sell his Bordeaux blends on Fifth Avenue in New York City. His relatives, Rudolphe and Annick Proust, traveled from Paris last year to visit the ‘country house’ of their uncle (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).

The second owner was designer Joseph Briggs, Louis Tiffany’s right hand man. Briggs  is responsible for the stained-glass  window designs  at the Church of St. Paul’s and Resurrection in Wood-Ridge. He eventually sold the house to the Bianchi’s . Not much is known about the Bianchi family (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).

Arnault House II.jpg

The inside of the house.

The backyard features gardens, meticulous landscaping, enough lawn space for a a grand social affair reminiscent of the Great Gatsby, benches, decorative stone and the exterior buildings the outhouse and carriage house. The second and third floors are not open to the public and are used for storage and the home still needs some repairs. In most of the lower floors are period furnishes and art work (The Wood Ridge Historical Society).

Please watch the papers and the town’s website for future events.

 

 

Advertisements
The Paterson Museum  2 Market Street          2 Market Street   Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum 2 Market Street 2 Market Street Paterson, NJ 07501

The Paterson Museum

2 Market Street

Paterson, NJ  07501

(973) 321-1260

Open: Monday-Friday 10:00am-4:00pm/Sunday-Sunday 12:30pm-4:30pm

Fee: Free

http://www.thepatersonmuseum.com/

http://www.patersonmuseum.com

https://www.patersonnj.gov/department/?structureid=16

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g46718-d2704664-Reviews-Paterson_Museum-Paterson_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

The Paterson Museum is an interesting museum of the history of the City of Paterson, NJ. The museum is broken into different sections of the City’s history. The museum discusses from the time that the Lenape Indians lived in the area to the rise of colonization and then to how it developed into the Silk City. through city planning and placement. The nice part of this museum is that the parking is free, it can be toured in about two to three hours and it is walking distance to the Paterson Falls and to Little Peru restaurants. It is also free.

The Introduction:

The Paterson Museum offers a ‘History within History’ experience. Located inside the former erecting shop if the Rogers Locomotive & Machine Works, the museum, presents a glimpse of the rich history and the many factors that gave rise to Paterson, New Jersey: “America’s First Planned Industrial City.”

From the natural wonders and the first inhabitants of the land that lay below and above the ground to the vital role Paterson played in setting of our nation’s industrial course. Through the museum’s exhibits. you’ll find out why Paterson was known for more than a century as the “Silk City.” You’ll discover that Paterson was at the forefront of locomotive, submarine and airplane engine development. And that’s just the beginning of our story. By the time you finish your visit, you will want to learn more about this city that surrounds the Great Falls.

The Exhibitions:

Paterson Residents: There are exhibitions on such celebrity natives as Lou Costello and his life after living in Paterson are shown in detail. Baseball players, football players and actors have shown against all odds and color barriers they found success in the world with Paterson being their roots.

Paterson MuseumII

The Silk Industy

Silk City: The history of Paterson as ‘Silk City’ features winders, warpers and power-looms that produced beautiful fabrics. How the Falls and the location of the City of Paterson played its part in the garment industry at the turn of the last century. Not just in the silk industry but also in other companies like the Wright Aeronautical Corporation and the their time as a manufacturer in Paterson.

Paterson Museum III

The Paterson Fire Department

The Paterson Fire and Police Departments: The history and development of both the Paterson Police and Fire Departments are told through pictures, stories, uniforms and equipment through the ages. There are many turn of the last century fire trucks in the museum.

World War Exhibition: The museum has a wonderful exhibition on the history of Paterson and the role it played in the World Wars. There are all sorts of uniforms, munitions and stories to tell.

Geographical: There is a whole side exhibition of gems and minerals both native and from all over the country at the museum and a full display of native New Jersey stone formations. There is also a discussion of how the Falls played such an important role inf the development not just of the City of Paterson but of New Jersey as well.

Alexander Hamilton Exhibit: The history and life of Alexander Hamilton is told from the time he was born in the Caribbean to his coming to the United States, his marriage and his rise through the ranks of the government. There is how he helped develop the banking industry and paying of the government debts to his fall from grace and his eventual fatal duel with Aaron Burr.

Lenape Indian Culture: The Lenape Native American culture is shown how the tribes developed, lived, worked and hunted and gathered to create the society that was in place before colonization. There are all sorts of tools, displays on their regions of living, language, housing (there is a recreation of a Tee Pee here), that native wardrobe and a complete display of tools and arrow heads. It is a very detailed account of life as a Lenape Indian.

The museum shows the history not just of Paterson but of the surrounding areas and how growth of the City of Paterson made an impact on the region.

The Staten Island Zoo 614 Broadway Staten Island , NY 10310

The Staten Island Zoo 614 Broadway Staten Island , NY 10310

The Staten Island Zoo

614 Broadway

Staten Island, NY  10310

(718) 442-3100

http://www.statenislandzoo.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g48682-d110278-Reviews-Staten_Island_Zoo-Staten_Island_New_York.html

Open: Sunday-Saturday 10:00am-4:45pm

Fee: Adults $10.00 (15 and older)/Seniors (60 and over) $7.00/Children (3-14) $6.00

 

I wanted to celebrate Groundhog’s Day this year and had fully planned to go to Punxsutaway, PA to see the Groundhog’s Day festival again (see Day Thirty-Seven of ‘MywalkinManhattan’) but a ‘Arctic Vortex’ swept all over the Midwest with its fringes reaching the middle of Pennsylvania. It would be 30 degrees on Groundhog’s Day with a temperature of 4 degrees that night. The thought of sitting in Gobbler’s Knob in almost 0 weather had no appeal to me and I changed my plans.

I had remembered that there was a festival on Staten Island at the Staten Island Zoo with ‘Staten Island Chuck’ on Groundhog’s Day so off I went early the next morning to see the groundhog see his shadow.

The Staten Island Zoo had a fun and engaging Groundhog’s Day ceremony (see Day One Hundred and Thirty One of ‘MywalkinManhattan’) with a musical concert with the students of P.S. 29 and a private band who made up a song to go with the festival. At 8:00am, they presented Staten Chuck to the audience and he told us that there would be an early spring (its still freezing out!).

After the ceremony was over, the Zoo gave us plenty of time to explore the park before it opened to the public. With it being so cold outside, a lot of the outdoor animals were not in their pens outside but I was able to most of the exhibits.

State Island Zoo

Map of the Staten Island Zoo

I was able to visit all the inside exhibitions which was nice because the crowds began to thin as the morning went on. It is a nice sized zoo with a lot of indoor exhibitions for a rainy or cold day.

I visited the Birds of Prey exhibit which contains many types of birds in their simulated natural habitat. There were some interesting colorful birds that the zoo keepers took out so that we could see them up close.

There was a Fox exhibition where the small furry creatures were crawling and climbing all over the rocks and formations. They just stared at me looking at them leading me to believe that they were used to humans looking at them.

I walked through the African, Tropical Forest and the Aquarium which were located towards the front of the zoo.  I walked through the aquarium which is small but still nice and you are able to see many types of fish and plant life. In the African exhibition, I loved looking at the bearded monkeys who just looked back at me and then it was off to the reptile wing to look at snakes, turtles and frogs.

s.Staten Island Zoo III

I went outside later in the morning and looked at the horses (who looked freezing) and the kangaroos, who looked at me like they wanted to run back inside (it was about 35 degrees at that point). The emus looked at me with desperation as well like ‘at least he is going to feed us’ look.  None of the outdoor animals looked comfortable in this weather. Even Staten Island Chuck was inside because his keeper said that it was too cold even for him to be outside.

The one thing about the Staten Island Zoo is that it is compact and you can see the whole zoo in one afternoon. There is also plenty of parking behind the zoo in the park. The Zoo also has a nice gift shop, where a ‘Staten Island Chuck’ stuffed animal will cost you $20.00. There is also a restaurant with stand kid fare like chicken fingers and burgers in the afternoon hours.

The Zoo I would think would be more fun in the warmer months but with the indoor exhibitions, there is lots to see and do at the Staten Island Zoo.

Staten Island Chuck 2019 II

At least Spring is on its way!

The History of the Staten Island Zoo:

In August 1933, the Staten Island Zoological Society was created and the park built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. On March 25, 1935, the Egbert-Robillard Bill was passed by the New York State Senate to have the city provide maintenance for the zoo. Two months later on May 7, 1935, the Governor of New York signed an agreement to allocate public fund for the zoo to cover operational and maintenance costs while the exhibits, animal care and educational programs were to be maintained by the Staten Island Zoological Society. With the land now owned by the city and a program to convert the 8 acre estate into a zoo. The zoo opened to the public on June 10, 1936 and was considered the first U.S. “educational zoo”. (Wiki)

Staten Island Zoological Society:

Unlike all the other zoos in New York City, which are operated by the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Staten Island Zoo is operated by the Staten Island Zoological Society which was created in August 1933 under the organization of Harold O’Connel. Local legend maintains that the society was partially formed from the Staten Island Reptile Club, which was located nearby on Britton  Street and Broadway. Although no written documentation exists regarding the merger it would  explain the newly formed Staten Zoological Society’s affinity for reptiles and why the zoo was (and still is) known for its extensive reptile collection. Just short of one year after its organization on July 24, 1934, the Staten Island  Zoological Society was officially incorporated. (Wiki)

The zoo is home to Staten Island Chuck, a groundhog who is the official Groundhog Day forecaster for New York City and Grandpa, a black-handed Spider Monkey, who made local newspapers when he accurately ‘predicted’ the outcome of six out of nine matches during the U.S. Open Tennis Championship. (Wiki)

Staten Island Chuck Festival 2019

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park East 86th Street and East End Avenue New York, NY 10028

Carl Schurz Park

East 86th Street and East End Avenue

New York, NY  10028

(212) 459-4455

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/M081/

https://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/carl-schurz-park/history

Open: Sunday-Saturday 6:00am-12:00am

Admission: Free

I have been visiting Carl Schurz Park many times while walking the neighborhood for my project, “MywalkinManhattan.com”. You can see the entries from Days One Hundred and Ten, Six, Four and Two. I also visited again when touring Gracie Mansion for this blog, “VisitingaMuseum” (see write up under Gracie Mansion).

https://wordpress.com/post/mywalkinmanhattan.com/7156

The park is such a nice place to relax in the warmer months. Being so close to the river in the winter months when the wind kicks in from the river can be brutal. In the Spring and Summer, it is one of the nicest parks to just sit and relax in. During the day, it is fun to watch the kids play in the large playground in the middle of the park. On the weekends the place is packed with kids, parents, and nannies all vying for space.

The gardens are beautiful and are very nicely maintained between the City and the Carl Schurz Park Association, who I have seen members weeding, landscaping and planting in the park during the times of my visits. It is relaxing to just sit by the river and watch the river go by and the boats sail by in the warmer months.

The flowers return during each part of the season almost on cue and the park is awash with colors of daffodils, tulips, irises and tiger lilies. There are many flowering plants in the summer that add to the rainbow of colors that accent all the trees. It is a nice place to sit and read a book while watching people walk their dogs.

At twilight, it is fun to watch the lights go on in Queens across the river and the whole city come to life again in the evening. In the warm summer months, the kids are playing in the park, residents have their dogs running around the Dog Run and you can hear the activity at Gracie Mansion. Trust me, security is tight in that section of the park.

This is a nice residential park to relax in when you visiting the Upper East Side.

The History of Carl Schurz Park:

Carl Schurz Park, named by the Board of Alderman in 1910 for the soldier, statesman and journalist Carl Schurz (1829-1906), overlooks the turbulent waters of Hell Gate. The first known Dutch owner of the land was Sybout Claessen, who was granted the property in 1646 by the Dutch West India Company. Jacob Walton, a subsequent owner, built the first house on the site in 1770. During the Revolutionary War, the Continental Army built a fort surrounding the Walton residence to guard the strategic shipping passage of Hell Gate. After the British attack on September 8th, 1776, the house was destroyed and the Americans were forced to retreat from the fort, which the British retained until the end of the war in 1783.

The land was purchased from Walton’s heirs in 1798 by Archibald Gracie, a Scottish shipping magnate. He built a mansion there in 1799, where his illustrious guests included future United States President, John Quincy Adams and future French King Louis Phillippe. The estate, sold by Gracie in 1819 was acquired by the City from the Wheaton family in 1891. The first home of the Museum of the City of New York from 1924-32, the mansion served as the official residence of New York’s mayor’s since Fiorello LaGuardia moved there in 1942.

gracie mansion ii

Gracie Mansion during the Wheaton Years

The southern portion of the park was set aside by the City as East River Park in 1876. The former Gracie estate was added in 1891 and a new landscape design by Calvert Vaux and Samuel Parsons was completed in 1902. Maud Sargent re-landscaped the park in 1939 when the East River Drive underpass was under construction. Charles Haffen’s sculpture of Peter Pan, created in 1928 for a fountain in the lobby of the old Paramount Theater was installed in the park in 1975.

carl schurz park ii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer

The park name honors Schurz, a native of Cologne, Germany. It was strongly supported by the large German community of adjacent Yorkville. After emigrating to the United States in 1852, Schurz quickly made his reputation as a skilled orator and proved to be instrumental to Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 election campaign. His most significant political offices were that of United States Senator from Missouri (1869-1875) and Secretary of the Interior (1877-81) during the Hayes administration. In later years, Schurz was editor of the New York Tribune and an editorial writer for Harper’s Weekly. Schurz is also honored by Karl Bitter’s statue of 1913, located in Morningside Drive and 116th Street.

Recent improvements include rebuilding of the stairs, the complete restoration of the playground and the opening of Carl’s Dog Run. These and other projects, including the planting of flowers, have been accomplished through a partnership between the Parks and the Carl Schurz Park Association, which has demonstrated the community’s commitment to restoring, maintaining and preserving this park since it formed in 1974.

(NYC Parks Official Website)

My write up on VisitingaMuseum.com:

https://wordpress.com/post/visitingamuseum.com/2182

carl schurz park iii

Carl Schurz Park in the Summer months.

Sunset Beach 502 Sunset Boulevard Lower Township, NJ 08212

Sunset Beach 502 Sunset Boulevard Lower Township, NJ 08212

Sunset Beach

502 Sunset Boulevard

Lower Township, NJ  08212

https://www.new-jersey-leisure-guide.com/sunset-beach.html

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g3948623-d103992-Reviews-Sunset_Beach-Lower_Township_Cape_May_County_New_Jersey.html?m=19905

Sunset Beach in Cape May, NJ is one of the most beautiful beaches in American and is ranked 24# on TripAdvisor as one of the breathtaking beaches to visit. The beach site in Lower Township in Cape May and is at the very end of Sunset Boulevard which is a direct run from downtown Cape May.

One both sides of the parking lot, there are gift shops and a small cafe grill. These have limited hours after Labor Day Weekend. The grill is closed after the holiday weekend.

The beach is amazing as you can see the pleasure boats in the distance coming in and out of the small harbor just north of the beach. Looking out into Delaware Bay is quite spectacular with its moving waves and the way it glitters in the sun. In the warmer months, it is just nice to walk along the shore and watch the birds. In the winter months, the breezes get to be too much and a short visit is nicer.

Any time of the year though, make sure to be here for sunset and that is when the beach works it beautiful natural magic. At sunset  you will see an array of colors with the sun setting in the distance. The last time I visited the beach in September, it was a combination of oranges, purples and blues as the sun set. The lower the sun the more brilliant the colors.  They become more complex as the sun gets lower.

The best part of the view is that it is played out on the large stage. It covers the whole sky and it looks like the sun is going to sleep in the bay. You can almost touch it. Each night when the sun sets its a different color in the rainbow in the sky. The backdrop of the small stone formations and the SS Atlantus Concrete Ship make it more dramatic.

Whenever you are in Cape May, try to finish your dinner early and then watch Mother Nature work her magic by the shoreline. It is something that should not be missed.

Sunset Beach area:

The SS Atlantus Concrete Ship:

The SS Atlantus Concrete Ship was built and launched in 1918, just after World War I had ended as a trans-Atlantic steamer to return troops from Europe to home. After being decommissioned in 1926, she was purchased along with two other ships to create a ferry dock for ferries from Cape May to Delaware. The plans were later shelved as she ran aground in a storm along Sunset Beach and could not be freed.

Flag Lowering Ceremony:

The Evening Flag Ceremony held every night at sunset between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The lowering of the American flag at sunset is a 40 year old tradition. All of the flags that are flown at the flag ceremony are veteran’s caskets flags that families being with them from their loved one’s funeral. The ceremony includes the Pledge of Allegiance, the ‘Stat-Spangled Banner’ and a recording of Kate Smith’s ‘God Bless America”.

Cape May Diamonds:

While taking a stroll along the beach, look out for Cape May ‘Diamonds’. These are small pieces of quartz crystal found in the sand that are washed from the bay. You can find Cape May diamond jewelry in the gift stores at the beach.

(NJ Leisure Guide)

Disclaimer: This information was taken from the NJ Leisure Guide and I give their writer full credit for it. The beach is open all year around but it is the best in the warmer months. Don’t miss this spectacular view at sunset.

 

 

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum  4079 Albany Post Road New York, NY 12538

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum 4079 Albany Post Road New York, NY 12538

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

4079 Albany Post Road

New York, NY  12538

(800) FDR-VISIT

Open: Sunday-Saturday 9:00am-5:00pm/Open to 6:00pm April-October

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day

https://fdrlibrary.org/

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d105844-Reviews-Franklin_D_Roosevelt_Presidential_Library_and_Museum-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

Admission: $20.00 for both the museum and house.

I have visited the FDR Library over the summer  for two separate days along with visiting the Vanderbilt Mansion after the tour. It takes about two days to really look through the museum as there is so much to see and read that it can be over-whelming. If you don’t know much about Franklin Roosevelt you will definitely learn it here.

You will learn more about the family at the house tour but here you will learn of the policies of the Presidency, the acts and laws that he put in place and their effect on the county. It outlines why the policy was put in place and the effects on the American people. It was interesting to see how the policies like Social Secretary, Welfare and the Banking regulations are still in affect today.

Each room is another discussion in policy with things leading to the war and it effects on bring us out of the Great Depression. Also the attributes leading to the treaties after the war was finished.

My recommendation it to take two days and at least an hour and a half each day to visit the museum and break it down into rooms as it can be a lot to take in on one visit. Couple the trip up with a visit to his house, Springwood and learn how the house played a big part in his politics.

About the Museum:

For information about the Museum, Archives, Education and Public Programs and the Henry A. Wallace Center call (800) FDR-VISIT or go to http://www.fdrlibrary.org.

Membership:  Membership forms a vital base of support for many of the Library’s key initiatives. To learn about the benefits of a membership and to become a FDR Presidential Library and Museum member today, please visit http://www.fdrlibrary.org or call (845) 486-1970.

The Roosevelt Institute:

The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute is dedicated to informing new generations of the ideas and achievements of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt through programs, events and publications. With offices in Hyde Park, New York and New York City, the Institute enjoys a special relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum. It also works  across the country to nurture leaders in public service inspired by the models of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, through a network of 100 progressive college campus-based think thank organizations that include more than 10,000 student members. In the years ahead, the Institute plans to play an even stronger role in nurturing and advancing progressive people and ideas. It will also continue its unique and important relationship with the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

The Museum:

As he planned his presidential library, FDR took care to include space for a museum to display his many personal treasures. An avid collector, the President has spent a lifetime gathering extensive collections ranging from stamps and coins to rare books and ship models.

When the FDR Museum opened June 30, 1941, it featured elaborate displays of these collections and the many gifts the Roosevelt’s had received from governments and individuals.

Today, the Museum continues to display items from the President’s personal collections. But there are also extensive state of the art exhibits where visitors can experience the lives and times of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

After a privileged childhood on the banks of the Hudson River, FDR entered politics only to endure illness and a lifetime of paralysis after a heroic battle with polio. As President, he led America out of the greatest economic depression in its history and guided the Allied Powers to victory in World War II.

Eleanor Roosevelt improved the lives of millions as a reformer, teacher, journalist, political activist, First Lady, advocate for the underprivileged and as delegate to the United Nations, champion for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today the woman known as the “First Lady of the World” continues to inspire new generations.

Experience the powerful story of these two extraordinary individuals in the Museum’s permanent exhibits. Rare documents and fascinating artifacts bring you face to face with history. Immersive audiovisual programs and interactive displays take visitors vividly into the past. A special “Behind the Scenes” area gives a look inside museum and archives storage rooms to see even more of the Library’s collection. And the Museum’s special exhibitions gallery offers changing exhibits on a regular basis. Repeat visitors will always find something new to see.

Archives and Research:

FDR was the first president to give his papers to the American people and they form the core of the Library’s research archives. Since that original gift, the Library has acquired additional important collections related to the Roosevelt era, including the three million page archive of Eleanor Roosevelt. Today the Roosevelt Library houses 17 million pages of manuscript materials in some  400 distinct collections; 51,000 books including FDR’s own personal collection of over 22,000 volumes and 150,000 photographs, negatives and audiovisual items. The Library conducts one of the busiest research operations in the entire Presidential Library system and is used by several thousand on-site and remote researchers each year.

Education and Public Programs:

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum conducts educational programs designed for K-12, college and university students, teachers and adult learners based on the Library’s documentary, audiovisual and museum collections. Programs include on and off site classroom workshops, museum programs and teacher development seminars.

Public programs include the annual reenactment of a World War II “USO Show and Bivouac” over Memorial Day Weekend, the Roosevelt Reading Festival in June and a Children’s Book Festival in December. The Library’s website http://www.fdrlibrary.org has over one million visitors each year including researchers using the digital archive, teachers and students exploring educational resources and those visiting FDR’s interactive daily calendar through our affiliated Pare Lorentz Center http://www.parelorentzcenter.org.

Diclaimer: This information was taken directly from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum pamphlet and I give their writers full credit on the information. Please check out their website on Admissions as they do change.

 

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springfield)-National Historic Site  4097 Albany Post Road   Hyde Park, NY 12538

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springfield)-National Historic Site 4097 Albany Post Road Hyde Park, NY 12538

Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Springfield)-National Historic Site

4097 Albany Post Road

Hyde Park, NY  12538

(845) 229-9115

http://www.nps.gov/hofr

https://www.nps.gov/hofr/index.htm

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60801-d106611-Reviews-Franklin_Delano_Roosevelt_Home-Hyde_Park_New_York.html?m=19905

I have visited the childhood home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt many times over the years. It is an interesting part of not just Hudson River Valley history but of American history.

Parts of the house were built in the late 1700’s and added on later by the families who lived in the house. Franklin D. Roosevelt’s father bought the house and continued to add on to it. Most of the estate is still intact as well as the homes that the President built separate from the main house to give he and his wife some privacy from his mother, Sara Delano Roosevelt, who owned the home until her death.

Visiting Springwood is like a step back in time. Unlike the grand mansions of the Mill’s and Vanderbilt’s up and down Route 9, Springwood looks more like a home just on a larger scale. The self-guided tour takes you through the first story of the house which includes the dining room, living room, sitting rooms and offices of the President and of his mother, who ran the staff and the household.

The house is done in dark woods, representing a time before the Victorian age when the Federalist look was in and the later additions represent the trends in Victorian style. The furnishings were functional and very homey not like the elaborate ‘over the top’ furnishes in some of the other mansions. The Roosevelt’s were old money Hudson River Valley compared to the Vanderbilt’s who money was earned after the Civil War and did not have to prove themselves to Upper Crust Society.

I was impressed with the amount of sporting goods, stuffed animal species and just the general hominess of the house. It looked like someone still lived there. The downstairs area for the servants and the kitchen are functional and not huge. This is a house that was built for a family and for entertainment but not on the scale of the Astor’s or Vanderbilt’s. It ran for a growing family that lived in the house.

Even the upstairs bedrooms looked like any other American home at the time but a touch bigger. I could see by Eleanor’s room that she did not spend much time there. You can see where the adjustments were made when the President developed polio. I am glad that the man showed determination and did not let that stop him in his life. It proved to me that a disability limits you only if you let it.

The grounds were interesting. The formal rose gardens are beautiful when in season and the estate does have views of the river. On the grounds of the estate as well is the Presidential Library, Museum and the grave sites of the President and his wife, Eleanor.

springwood estate

The Springwood Estate

The only problem we faced on our recent visit to the house was that a sweltering heat wave hit the Valley and the humidity hit 98 degrees. The house was boiling hot because they could not open the windows for fresh air and the whole house smelled musty and old. That is the bad part of all that wood trimming and paneling, it does smell when it is hot.

Still it was an interesting tour that takes about 45 minutes and is an important part of the foundation of a very important family.

History of FDR at Springwood:

Franklin’s father, James Roosevelt purchased the 110 acre estate in 1867 for $40,000. The property included a house overlooking the Hudson River and a working farm. FDR was born in the house on January 30, 1882, the only child of Sara and James Roosevelt. Growing up with a view of the majestic Hudson River, he developed a love of the river and the valley through which it flowed. By age eight, he was sailing the Hudson. As a young adult, racing his ice yacht “Hawk” was a favorite winter pastime.

Franklin accompanied his father on daily horseback rides. During these times, he became immersed in the land, its history and particularly the trees. In later years, he expanded his parents’ land holding to nearly 1,500 acres and planted over half a million trees. His interest in tree farming translated into a New Deal program, the Civilian Conservative Corps (CCC). The CCC provided jobs to unemployed men age 17-28. Over 10 years, enrollees planted over three billion trees and built over 800 parks nationwide.

Surrounded by the rich agricultural heritage of the Hudson Valley all his life, FDR felt a strong affinity with farmers. One of the first New Deal programs instituted during the Great Depression, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, was designed to help farmers retain their land. His subsistence homestead projects relocated poverty-stricken families into government subsidized rural communities that provided decent housing, cooperative work and farming and schools.

When Franklin Roosevelt married Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905, they resided in both at Hyde Park and their New York townhouse. Franklin and Eleanor had six children, one who died in infancy. FDR supervised the expansion and redesign of the house to accommodate his growing family and his political ambitions, ensuring it reflected the Dutch Colonial architecture of the Hudson Valley.

FDR contracted polio in 1921 and was paralyzed from the waist down. He held out hope for a cure but was never able to walk again unaided. The multi-level home was adapted to his needs with ramps along the short steps. The trunk lift, installed years before the onset of FDR’s polio became his transportation to the second floor.

In 1932, FDR was elected to the first of an unprecedented four terms as President of the United States. His presidency redefined the role of government in America, establishing programs designed to improve the lives of all Americans. These programs included Social Security, the Federal Deposit and Insurance Corporation, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the establishment of minimum wage and unemployment insurance.

During his 12 years as President, FDR led the nation through an economic crisis of enormous proportions and the Second World War. He continually returned to this home  he loved, seeking strength and relaxation. He entertained foreign dignitaries here including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. In the small study, FDR and Churchill initiated a document known as the “Hyde Park Aide Memoire”, that outlined possible future uses of the atomic bomb.

On the afternoon of April 12, 1945, FDR died from a cerebral hemorrhage in Warm Springs, GA. He was laid to rest on April 15th in the rose garden here. One year after his death on April 12, 1946, the home was opened to the public. At the dedication, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “I think Franklin realized that people would understand the rest and peace and strength which he gained here and perhaps go away with some sense of healing and courage themselves.”

(Home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site pamphlet)

History of the Springwood:

The estate was part of the 1697 agreement of the English Crown that gave 220 square miles to a group of nine businessmen from New York City. To ensure that everyone had access to the river, the land was divided into “Water Lots”, one of which was deeded to William  Creed, one of the nine partners.

The central part of Springwood is believed to have been formed from a large farmhouse which was constructed around the year 1800 in the Federal style. In 1845, the estate was purchased by Josiah Wheeler, a merchant from New York City. Wheeler undertook a remodeling of the house, giving it a then fashionable Italianate style with a three story town at the south end as well as front and rear piazzas spanning the entire length of the house.

In 1866, the estate which has been reduced to one square mile, James Roosevelt bought the house and expanded the main house adding the servants wing, two more rooms and the carriage house. James Roosevelt passed away in 1900.

In 1915, FDR and his mother, Sara made the final additions and renovations to the house for the growing family and for entertaining political and family friends. Sara Roosevelt used the New York firm of Hoppin & Koen and doubled the size of the house by adding two large fieldstone wings (designed by FDR), a tower and a third story with a flat roof. The clapboard exterior of the house was replaced by stucco and most of the porch was replaced with a fieldstone terrace  with a balustrade and a small columned portico around the entrance. The inside layout of the house was redesigned also to accommodate FDR’s growing collections of books, paintings, stamps and coins.

The grounds were also changed with the planting of almost 400,000 trees all over the estate in a thirty year period. Today large portions  of the estate have been turned over to the Forestry Department of Syracuse University.

(Wiki)

Disclaimer: The history of the Springwood and of FDR are living there was taken from Wiki writings and the pamphlet of The Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Site and I give their writers full credit for the information. Please see the attachments from the National Park site for more information.