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FDR Home & Presidential Library

In 1867, 15 years before Franklin Roosevelt was born, his father, James Roosevelt, bought the house at Springwood. It was a large farmhouse built around 1800, but James, and later Sara and Franklin, transformed it into something grander. The previous owner had already built a three-story tower and a full-length covered porch. James added two rooms, enlarged the servants' wing, and built a large carriage house for his prized horses and carriages.

In 1915, Franklin and his mother added a tower on the right and large fieldstone wings, replaced the clapboard exterior with stucco, raised the pitched roof to create a flat-roofed third story, and replaced most of the porch with a large fieldstone terrace with balustrade and a small columned portico. Franklin also planted many varieties of trees on the grounds, eventually turning large sections of the estate into an experimental forestry station. Some of his work is still in evidence.

The house, too, retains his stamp. Four times he stood on the terrace on election nights to greet well-wishers. When he was there, he conducted the business of the presidency from his office. In the main hall are his boyhood collection of stuffed birds and a bronze sculpture of him in 1911 when he was 29 and serving his first term in the New York State Senate.

Formal entertaining took place in the Dresden Room and Dining Room, while the family liked to gather in the more casual Living Room/Library. Here, too, Roosevelt could pursue his hobbies, poring over his stamp collection or building ship models. Upstairs is the Birth Room, with the bed in which he was born, and his Boyhood Bedroom, later used by each of his sons in turn.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill and King George VI, among other notables, stayed in other rooms off the same hall. The bedroom he used as President remains as it was during his last stay in March 1945, shortly before his death, with the magazines and books he was reading just as he left them. He loved this room, partly because of the beautiful view across the south lawn and down the Hudson River.

Both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt are buried at Springwood, in the hemlock walled Rose Garden.

A Brief History of FDR at Springwood

From birth, Franklin Roosevelt was one of a tight-knit clan that valued tradition and continuity. A major player in the events of the 20th century and a man whose life was turned upside down by personal tragedy, Roosevelt was sustained by constants: a large family, old friends, and the house and grounds of Springwood. Franklin's father James, who bought the house in 1867, was seventh in a line of Roosevelts who were prominent members of New York City society. The Roosevelts had ties to the Hudson River Valley dating back to the 17th century, but it was not until 1818 that Franklin Roosevelt's great grandfather moved to the Hyde Park area. They were wealthy, though not on a scale with the neighboring Vanderbilts. In any case, James Roosevelt disapproved of ostentation, and Springwood was modest compared to many of the estates that lined the Hudson above New York City.

Like other families of their class, the Roosevelts spent the winter social season in New York City. They also owned a summer house on the Canadian island of Campobello, but Springwood was home. While James was a careful manager of his inherited wealth, making money was not the center of his life. He preferred to live the life of an English country squire---seeing to his horses and cattle, hunting, fishing, iceboating, and riding on the grounds. Sara shared James' affection for the place, declaring that the Roosevelts and other Hudson Valley gentry were "living life as it should be." To young Franklin, whose father passed on to him his love for the outdoors, the estate's woods and fields were paradise. Springwood remained the center of his life until he left for boarding school at 14. In his later years Franklin reminisced about his childhood there: "In thinking back to my earliest days, I am impressed by the peacefulness and regularity of things both in respect to place and people."

After James Roosevelt died in 1900 Sara and Franklin, then a freshman at Harvard, continued to live in the house. When he married Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905, the young couple moved in with Sara, in whose name the house remained until her death in 1941. Franklin's work and political career required that the family live elsewhere for long periods, but they returned to Springwood whenever possible. During his years as Governor of New York and President, Springwood was the nucleus of his life and career. It was haven and political headquarters, and it was here that he entertained numerous dignitaries. Throughout his presidency he returned some 200 times for temporary respite from Washington and for the nourishment Springwood gave him. By 1944, though, ill and weary from the intensity of the war effort, there was a note of finality when he said: "All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River."

Visiting Springwood

Franklin Roosevelt donated his home and 33 acres to the American people in 1943, on the condition that his family be allowed to use it after his death. It was transferred to the Department of the Interior on November 21, 1945, after the family relinquished their lifetime rights. The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and Library, which contains 290 acres, is administered by the National Park Service, US Department of the Interior.

The home may be visited by guided tour only. Tickets may be purchased at the kiosk adjacent to the parking lot. The grounds are open from 8AM until dusk daily, and are open to the public. There is a network of hiking and walking trails that lead from the upper level, where the house is sited, down to the river.

Please walk on the designated paths. Do not approach or attempt to feed any wildlife; cases of rabies have been reported in the area. There are poisonous snakes and plants. Ticks carrying Lyme disease have been found in Dutchess County.

Only the first floor of the home is accessible to the physically impaired. An album of photographs of the second floor is available. Accessible restrooms are available nearby. Signing or other special accommodations may be possible with advance arrangements.

Museum & Library

Started during his presidency, the FDR Museum & Library houses the Presidential Records and Papers and is available to scholars for research and study. The public is invited to visit the Museum which contains extensive displays on the lives and careers of both Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt. Many important documents and memorabilia are on display in exciting interactive exhibits. There are several galleries filled with mementos, paintings and artifacts of these two important public people.

The Museum is open daily from 9am till 6pm, closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's. The research library is open Monday to Friday from 9am till 5pm.


The Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site and Library are located on Route 9, just south of the center of the village of Hyde Park.

Specifics on visiting the FDR Home & Presidential Library were correct at time of publication. We would suggest that you confirm dates and times prior to your visit.
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