Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Walking The Path of History.

My sister and my niece are here visiting from Florida for Spring Break this week. And what has the weather been like? Cold. Spring went back to sleep for a bit it seems. So, we decided to go visit a place that at least sounded as though it would make us feel toasty- Warm Springs, Georgia. Home of FDR's Little White House. It is one of my favorite places to visit in my home state. I love the feeling that is there, it envelopes you the minute you walk into the house
Before you reach the center of town you come to the pools that FDR had built for the children and adults stricken with polio. It is a lovely site nestled in the woods. If you listen closely you can almost hear the faint shouts of joy of the children and adults who swam there.
The water from the springs in Warm Springs stays at a comfortable 88 degrees. This is my niece, Alyssa, dipping her fingers into the basin from which the spring water flows. It was the warmest she had been all day!

An iron lung for those who were severely compromised by the disease. I cannot imagine a life spent in such a place. I remember when I was a little girl in Braintree, Mass., the girl across the street from us had had polio. Her name was Jeanie Hurdle. I will never forget her. She wore special shoes with a brace on her leg and walked with a limp. My mom told me I should not be afraid of her. I don't think I ever was. She was just Jeanie. I wonder what happened to her?

A letter from Edsel Ford found outside the pool area.

The pools. There are three areas, all interconnected. Imagine them filled with the warm water and children splashing away, playing with a president.

What a wonderful gift this place was. There still is a Roosevelt Institute where those with disabilities can come and receive treatment, using the same warm spring water that flowed in these pools.

The road from the pools leads to the Little White House. They have recently built a new museum in which to house a vast collection of memorabilia from the president and his family.

As you walk to the house you first come upon the gate house and the bump gate. The bump gate was designed by FDR who, it seems, had a bit of a wild streak in him. As he approached the gate in is hand-controlled car, he would not lose speed, causing his passengers to wonder of they would survive the trip down the driveway. They always did as the President had designed the bump gate to spin at the touch of the car bumper, moving it safely out of the way. I bet he had quite a few laughs at their expense.

This is the garage over which was housed the servants quarters. Above is a small sitting area, warmed by a wood stove, a tiny bathroom and two bedrooms. Though small, it has a very comfortable, lived-in feeling.

The Little White House, where FDR and his family spent many happy days. Where heads of state and government officials were entertained and where he spent his last days.

It is as he left it on April 12,1945, the day of his death. The interior is a humble as the outside. The bits and pieces of his life here on display for all to see, to get to know the man he was.

The President's bed, where he died after falling to a cerebral hemorrhage.

A corner of the living room, which is no bigger than my own.

The better china that was used for dinner parties. I love the cornflowers that border it.

The stove upon which Daisy Bonner, the President's cook, prepared his meals.

Stone steps lead to the back yard.

In the new museum there are many things that will delight and intrigue, teach and impress. Like this decorated coach bearing the name Warm Springs.

Or the car FDR used to drive about the countryside speaking with his neighbors.

Letters and photographs greet you at every turn.

A beautifully embroidered cloth bearing the numbers of the popular votes he received by state.

Along the edge of the above cloth is a beautiful hand-crocheted edge. Can you imagine how much time this took to create?

The original Unfinished Portrait, for which FDR was sitting on the day of his death.

If you live in Georgia, Warm Springs should definitely be on your "must see" list. It is a privilege not known to everyone to have such history in one's own back yard.
If you don't live here but want to come visit, you just let me know and I will gladly go with you.


PamKittyMorning said...

That was interesting! I hadn't thought about people in an iron lung in a long time. Sometimes its hard to believe all the medical miracles in our lifetime!

Betty said...

I would love to visit the Little White House with you; don't know if I can get there from here...haha.

I love the way the windows along the front of the house go all the way to the floor. Wonder why we don't have more of those these days?

Thank you so much for the delightful tour..I felt as if I were actually there.

Amy Ellen said...

I would so love to visit there. we lived in Tn for 2 years and saw nothing historical while we were back there. We are now back in Kansas and I wish I had just gone. Hubby is not as history intested as myself, LOL. Thanks for posting this it is interesting to see.

whimseycreations said...

It's one of my favorite places too and I haven't been down there in years. Hey, there is still a Phillip Hurdle living in Braintree who is 83 years old - think it might be her father?