Friday, October 22, 2010

A Great Deal with FDR

For many Americans, the name Franklin Delano Roosevelt stirs up strong memories.  The 32nd President, FDR was  the first president to speak on television, the first president to have his own presidential aircraft and the first president whose mother was allowed to vote for him!  Historically known as the only president with a visible disability, FDR was paralyzed after contracting polio in 1921.  Heather's first memory of the president wasn't from history books or stories her grandparents told was from the movie Annie.  Remember when FDR and Little Orphan Annie sing "Tomorrow" together?

But did you know he was a New Yorker?  His Presidential library and museum are just down the road in Hyde Park and while the Garrett grandparents were in town, we had to make a stop.  FDR actually started the idea of a Presidential library system in 1939 when he donated a bunch of his stuff and part of his Hyde Park estate to the federal government.  His belief was that Presidential papers were an important part of the national heritage and should be accessible to the public and he asked that the National Archives administer his library.  Today, there are 13 Presidential libraries across the country.  Including FDR's, Heather & Brett have now been to three!

Smiling Garretts
The tour of the Hyde Park estate, set on 16 acres, included a look at FDR's house.  We got to see where he delivered many of his fireside chats and the dumbwaiter he used to travel between floors of his home.  He had a spectacular view of the Hudson River from his back porch!  He and his wife Eleanor are buried on the property, along with two family pets.  

Party with the Roosevelts
FDR's museum was well organized (in contrast to our visit to JFK's).  His mother saved everything from his childhood, from his hair to a crazy side saddle used to ride ponies.  We saw memorabilia from all of his political offices, his days as a NY state senator, assistant secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York and his time in the White House.  Roosevelt spent 12 years in office, so he had plenty of Presidential tokens.  The exhibits explained the 15 major laws he passed in his first 100 days, including the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Securities Exchange Commission and the Social Security Act.  Thankfully, the man had the good sense to repeal prohibition during his presidency too.

Don & Peggy seemed to really enjoy the museum and library and it was easy to see where Brett gets his "I have to read everything" habit from!  Roosevelt's rich history is definitely worth looking into and a great deal if you are ever up this way!
The Garrett Family
Welcome to FDR's
Final resting place of Franklin & Eleanor
FDR's hair...kind of creepy
FDR's study
Campaign stuff
Pieces of the Berlin Wall
Brett getting fresh with Eleanor