"I wonder if you will ever know how I love Sagamore Hill."
This quote was spoken by President Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, the day before he died on January 6, 1919. Built on a hilltop in 1885, in the town of Cove Neck, in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Sagamore Hill was Teddy Roosevelt's favorite home, and the summer White House during his presidential years from 1902 to 1909.
This is the first glimpse of the house on the hill as one approaches from the road.
The house is undergoing extensive renovations and is closed to visitors at this time, but the park grounds of this National Historic site remain open, as well as the museum.
The Queen Anne style home sits on 155 acres and contained a working farm with numerous pastures, outbuildings, orchards, gardens, a tidal marsh and a beach on the Long Island Sound. This diorama on the site shows the way the grounds looked in 1918. (You can click on this photo, and all photos in this post, and then click on them again when they re-open and they will enlarge for better viewing. Use your browser's back arrow to return to the post after viewing.)
Theodore Roosevelt bought this land on the fashionable north shore of Long Island in 1880, with Alice Hathaway Lee, the woman he would marry later in the year. She helped plan the house, with its many rooms and sweeping views of Long Island Sound, but did not live to enjoy it. Alice died soon after childbirth, on February 14, 1884. Roosevelt’s sister, Anna, convinced the distraught Teddy that he would still need a home for his baby daughter and he went ahead with the construction of the home. In 1887, he married Edith Carow, a childhood friend, and together they raised Alice and their five children at Sagamore Hill. After Roosevelt's death in 1919, Edith remained at Sagamore Hill. She died there in September 1948, at the age of eighty-seven. The Roosevelt Memorial Association, now the Theodore Roosevelt Assocation purchased Sagamore Hill from the Roosevelt estate in 1950 and opened as a museum to the public in 1953. The National Park Service took over administrative control of the house in 1963.
The Theodore Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard was originally built as Theodore Jr's home in 1938. The Georgian-style house sits on Sagamore Hill estate's apple orchard. Ted Jr. lived at Old Orchard for only three years. In 1941, Theodore Jr. reentered active military service and became a deputy commander of the 1st and 4th Infantry Divisions during World War II. A few weeks after directing the D-Day landing on Utah Beach on the Normandy coast of France in 1944, he died of a heart attack. His wife Eleanor Alexander Roosevelt continued to live at Old Orchard until her death in 1960. Later the Theodore Roosevelt Association purchased the house and presented it to the public as part of the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site.
The museum displays the story of Theodore Roosevelt's life in a collection of photos, artifacts, quotes, and memorabilia.
The exhibits are fascinating to see and read.
I visited the museum a few days before Hurricane Sandy hit the Eastern coast. Quite a few Naval Officers were also visiting the museum at that time, and I overheard them say that they were soon heading out to sea to protect their ships and carriers from the storm.
Theodore Roosevelt, a noted conservation president, had an impact on the national park system extending well beyond his term in office. As chief executive from 1901 to 1909, he signed legislation establishing five national parks: Crater Lake, Oregon; Wind Cave, South Dakota; Sullys Hill, North Dakota (later redesignated a game preserve); Mesa Verde, Colorado; and Platt, Oklahoma (now part of Chickasaw National Recreation Area). Another Roosevelt enactment had a broader effect under the Antiquities Act of June 8, 1906. By the end of 1906 he had proclaimed four national monuments: Devils Tower, Wyoming, El Morro, New Mexico, Montezuma Castle, Arizona, and the Petrified Forest, Arizona. He also protected a large portion of the Grand Canyon as a national monument in 1908. By the end of his term he had reserved six predominantly cultural areas and twelve predominantly natural areas in this manner. Half the total were initially administered by the Agriculture Department and were later transferred to Interior Department jurisdiction
I have visited many National Parks and Monuments over the years, and I always give thanks to President Roosevelt for having the foresight to begin the governmental movement to protect these lands for the enjoyment of future generations.
Leaving the museum, my friend who was with me and I decided to walk around the grounds and enjoy the beautiful autumnal scenery. This was one of the last surviving apple trees from the Roosevelt orchard and .....
... this beautiful oak tree was located near the house. I hope both trees were able to survive the hurricane!
We walked to the Oak, Tulip and Hickory tree preserve on the Sagamore Hill property where we saw a park ranger bird watching. This area is also part of the Oyster Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
As we approached the Long Island Sound the clouds were beginning to build on the horizon and I thought the views filled with vivid colors and swirling clouds looked similar to a Vincent van Gogh painting.
What do you think?
Weather wise, everything was very still and pleasant at that time. It was the true "calm before the storm."
Because the Sagamore Hill house was closed for renovation, and I could not photograph it, I found part one of a three part series on YouTube that take you on a guided tour of the home. Part two can be found on this link, and part three on this link. As you can see in these videos Sagamore Hill is still furnished as it was during Roosevelt's busy lifetime. When opened again it will be a fascinating place to visit to learn more about the life and times of this multi faceted men who was one of our country's greatest Presidents!
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Our World Tuesday