A Tale of Two Roosevelts: Theodore

Two of America’s best-loved Presidents have filled the annals of history with great oration, innovative governing and decisions that would affect generations to come. They shared not only a last name but also a love for the state of Georgia.

In this two-part series, we will explore both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt’s affiliations with and affections for the state of Georgia. Today, President Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt- A Georgia History:

teddy06_custom-a73ad5241303993d9753be5cf1a8025e8216a972-s6-c30Theodore Roosevelt was born October 27, 1858 and went on to become the 26th President of the United States. The Roosevelt family’s roots run far back in American colonial history and Theodore’s mother’s family lived in Charleston, South Carolina before heading down the coast to Savannah, Georgia in 1760. Theodore’s great-grandfather on his mother’s side, Captain James Bulloch and his wife Ann Irvine had a son named James Stephens Bulloch who was born in Savannah in 1793.

James Stephens Bulloch’s second marriage was to Martha Stewart Elliott occurred at the Old Elliott House in Savannah (now demolished) and they went on to have four children the second being named Martha Bulloch.The family left Savannah in 1839 and moved to Cobb County, Georgia (which then included parts of modern-day Fulton County) where James Stephens Bulloch’s business partner Roswell King was establishing a cotton mill near what is today downtown Roswell.

Bulloch Hall

Present-day Bulloch Hall

Needing a place to live, in 1840 the Roosevelt family built Bulloch Hall using slave labor. It was in the dining room of that home that on December 22, 1853 Theodore “Thee” Roosevelt Sr. married Mittie Bulloch at the beginning of what would be a weeklong celebration that had the entire Southeastern U.S. talking.

Thee was born in 1831 to Cornelius Van Shaack Roosevelt, a businessman from New York City whose family had been in New York already for four generations, and Margaret Barnhill. Cornelius’s father, James Roosevelt had already made a fortune importing hardware and after school Cornelius joined the family business increasing the family’s worth making himself one of the five richest men in New York City at the time of his father’s death.Thee also joined the family business, increasing his personal and family wealth becoming a founder of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the American Museum of Natural History among other revered New York City institutions.

When Thee was 19, he journeyed to Roswell, Georgia with his friend Hilborne West who was married to Mittie Bulloch’s half sister, Susan Elliott. Five years younger than Thee, Mittie was unimpressed with the gentleman from the North and would feel the same way until they met again in Philadelphia in January 1953. Following their December 1853 wedding, Mittie and Thee moved to New York City where they soon had a brood of four which included Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

During his childhood, the future President heard about his mother’s childhood home in Roswell and following a visit in 1905, he wrote to his son Kermit that “It was really very touching coming to Roswell, my mother’s home. I had heard all about it when I was small from my mother and aunt, and I recognized a great many of the places and felt about them just as if I had seen them while a child. ”

He recalled his Southern roots while speaking in Roswell saying,

“I hardly like to say how deeply my heart is moved by coming back here among you. Among the earliest recollections I half a child is hearing from my mother and my aunt (Miss Annie Bulloch, she then was) about Roswell; of how the Pratts, and Kings, and Dunwoodys, and Bullochs came here first to settle; about the old homestead, the house on the hill; about the Chattahoochee…”

Present-day Piedmont Park

Present-day Piedmont Park

In addition to his visit to Bulloch Hall, President Theodore Roosevelt spent many hours touring some of Atlanta’s most treasured sites on October 20, 1905 including Piedmont Park where he gave a speech calling the city, “this mighty city, an industrial centre of the Union, in a great agricultural State.”

Following his presidency, Roosevelt returned to Georgia on October 8, 1910 to give a speech at what is now Berry College praising the hard work and dedication to education of Martha Berry.

On March 9, 1911, Roosevelt spoke before the Southern Commercial Congress in Atlanta where he referred to himself as a “fellow Georgian.”

In 1915 Roosevelt returned to Georgia for one last time speaking at the Terminal Station in Atlanta. Knocked down decades ago, the Richard B. Russell Federal Building has sat in that location since 1979.

Despite spending most of his life in New York City and Washington, D.C. Theodore Roosevelt never forgot his Georgia roots and was immensely proud of the role his family played in establishing the state and its commercial industries and made his heritage clear each time he visited the state.

See President Theodore Roosevelt’s History in Georgia:

Bulloch Hall- Located in Historic Downtown Roswell, Georgia, Bulloch Hall is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and can be toured daily with the exception of major holidays.

Piedmont Park– The site of one of Theodore Roosevelt’s speeches while he was President, Piedmont Park is Atlanta’s largest park at 189 acres. History enthusiasts are invited to take one of the walking tours of the park offered by the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

The Wren’s Nest– Joel Chandler Harris, the author of the Uncle Remus stories was a good friend of President Roosevelt and a resident of Atlanta. The home Harris lived in stands as a museum dedicated to his life’s work. In 1910, Roosevelt spearheaded efforts to turn The Wren’s Nest into a museum and urged the American public to donate to the campaign.

Berry College – This independent four-year college is just outside Rome, Georgia and its founder Martha Berry earned praise from President Theodore Roosevelt during his visits to the school.

Old Elliott House- This home in Savannah, Georgia is the home where James Stephens Bulloch’s married Martha Stewart Elliott on May 8, 1832. Long since demolished, visit it online by clicking here.

Bulloch-Habersham House- The old house was located on Orleans Square was designed by William Jay in 1820 for Archibald Bulloch, Mittie Bulloch’s great-grandfather and a noted stateman in Savannah. It was demolished before 1915 to make way for a Municipal Auditorium. Today, the Civic Center stands where the home used to be. Click here to see pictures of the home.

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull

Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is a digital marketing professional based in Atlanta who first visited Georgia in 1994 and decided that when she graduated from college she would make Georgia her home. Since 2007 that dream has been a reality. She is the founder and executive director of Occupy My Family.

Fan Photo Friday

Submit your Georgia photos for the chance to be featured:

  • Post them on our Facebook wall
  • Use the hashtag #ExploreGeorgia on Instagram
  • Upload your photos to the Explore Georgia Flickr Group

    Lilburn, Georgia. Photo by @wwhitneyleighh. Submitted via Instagram.

    Lilburn, Georgia. Photo by @wwhitneyleighh. Submitted via Instagram.

Black Rock Mountain State Park. Photo by Jim Qualls. Submitted via Facebook.

Black Rock Mountain State Park. Photo by Jim Qualls. Submitted via Facebook.

Stone Mountain. Photo by Gornton Tulog. Submitted via Flickr.

Stone Mountain. Photo by Gornton Tulog. Submitted via Flickr.

Off to the Theatre

Soak in some culture at Georgia’s regional theatres

The carefree days of summer are here. However, with it come the “I’m bored!” cries from your kids. Are you looking for a way to entertain your children and to spend time together as a family? Soak in some culture and have a blast at Georgia’s theatres this summer! Theatres around Georgia offer a wide variety of summer programs ranging from film screenings of cartoons, blockbuster hits and classic movies to productions of Shakespeare under the stars and Tony-winning musicals.


The Fox Theatre

In Metro Atlanta, the Fox Theatre hosts its annual Coca-Cola Film Festival every Friday and Saturday during June and July. The Coca-Cola Film Festival is an opportunity for parents to see their favorite films on the big screen again and for kids to see them for the first time. The line-up includes a mix of old and new favorites such as Saturday Morning Cartoons, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 42, Finding Nemo and Breakfast at Tiffany’s to name a few. For live theatre, head to the Atlanta Lyric in Marietta to see the Tony Award-winning musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (June 7th-23rd).

Rose of Athens presents "The Tempest"

Rose of Athens presents “The Tempest”

In Lawrenceville, you can be a part of the action if you are feeling daring. Go on a ghost hunt! The Aurora Theatre offers weekend Ghost Tours in metro Atlanta’s oldest and spookiest city. It is sure to be a frighteningly good time. Headed outside of the metro area? Take the short trip to Athens, Georgia to spend a night with Shakespeare under the stars. Bring a picnic dinner and join Rose of Athens Theatre for The Tempest (June 12-16). The Tempest is this year’s Shakespeare on the Lawn production at Ashford Manor in Watkinsville. After stopping in Athens, continue your journey to the cool Northeast Georgia mountains. Sing along with The Sound of Music and bring your pirate eye patch for Treasure Island showing at the Cumming Playhouse in Cumming, Georgia during June and July.


Savannah Theatre

If you want to beat the hot Georgia heat, make your way to the coast. Coastal Georgia offers more than beautiful beaches and Spanish moss-covered trees. The region also hosts several historic theatres such as the Historic Savannah Theatre and the Trustee Theater. Rock ‘n’ roll in the aisles at the Historic Savannah Theatre’s production of The Beat Goes On, a musical celebrating the hits of the ‘60s, ‘70s and 80s. Catch a flick at the Trustee Theatre’s SCAD Cinema Circle during June and July. The SCAD Cinema Circle will show Jaws, E.T., and more!

Springer Opera House

Springer Opera House

If you live in or are visiting the southern portion of Georgia, visit the Springer Opera House in Columbus to see Honk, Jr. the Musical (July 12-21). The Springer will also host the Crowley Classic Film Series screening classic films such as The Princess Bride, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Young Frankenstein, The Goonies, and more during June and July. Come early for trivia and prizes! Theatre Albany will produce the fast-paced musical Return to the Forbidden Planet (June 7-9 and 13-16) that borrows from Shakespeare and the 1950s movie Forbidden Planet. In Valdosta, the Peach State Summer Theatre, Georgia’s official musical theatre, will produce The Sound of Music, The Wonderettes and A Little Night Music in June and July

Silence the “I’m bored!” cries this summer with the best Georgia has to offer in live performance and film. Whether you are in the metro Atlanta area or outside the city, Georgia’s regional theatres offer countless opportunities to soak in some culture and to spend time with your family.

Collins_Goss_HeadshotA Georgia native and UGA alumnae, Collins Goss is the summer communications intern for the Georgia Department of Economic Development. Currently, she is working on her Masters in Fine Arts in Arts Administration emphasizing in communications at The University of Alabama. Collins will graduate in December and hopes to return to the Peach State.

Exploring Historic Downtown Greensboro and Lake Oconee

DSC_0008Quaint and charming are two words that immediately come to mind when describing historic downtown Greensboro. Even though the destination is located between Atlanta and Augusta, once you set foot on Main Street, you’ll think that you’ve stepped back in time – and that’s a good thing.

IMG_6059As you spend hours (or half a day) meandering through the various shops and antique stores, not only will you come across some “must-haves” but also residents who exemplify a strong sense of community and southern hospitality.

You can’t go wrong with anywhere you visit, but you definitely don’t want to miss Genuine Georgia, where you can purchase something made by artisans from the state. Time your visit right, and you may see an artist working on their craft. You can play the part of a picker when you visit Greensboro Antique Mall. With all of the browsing and shopping, you are sure to work up an appetite. You can’t leave downtown without visiting both The Yesterday Cafe and The Potted Geranium. Ask for a slice of buttermilk pie at The Yesterday Cafe, and chance are you might take home a whole pie to share. Enjoy sipping tea in an antebellum home at The Potted Geranium.

IMG_6058If you have an interest in history, Greensboro doesn’t disappoint in this aspect, either. While walking on Main Street, you’ve already passed a piece of history, ‘“The Big Store” J.H McCommons Company. This was the largest retail store between Atlanta and Augusta, and sold nearly everything. Like in many southern towns, the courthouse is a historic building. Build in 1849, the structure is an example of Greek Revival. Behind it is the Old Gaol, which if you are time-crunched this is a must-see. It’s believed to be the oldest existing jail structure in the state, and had remained basically the same since the early 1800s. It was last used in 1890. There is also the Greensboro City Cemetery, featuring unique stone and iron work. It is filled graves of prominent Georgia figures, a Revolutionary War solider and more.

DSC_0123And when it comes time to relax, there’s golfing just minutes away from downtown as well as Lake Oconee (Georgia’s second largest lake) and the many opportunities to explore it. If you really want to indulge, consider staying overnight at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation.  The 251-room property located on the banks of Lake Oconee is all about relaxation and rejuvenation. Book a spa treatment, visit the pool or sit at the lake  -do all three or none at all. Enjoy a meal at one of their many restaurants. One thing is for certain, you aren’t going to want to leave anytime soon.

aprylWatkinsville, Ga.-based freelance travel writer and blogger Apryl Chapman Thomas enjoys traveling throughout Georgia and the Southeast to discover what all the region has to offer. You can read more of her work at Southern Hospitality Traveler Magazine (southernhospitalitymagazine.com) and Exploration Travel Magazine (explorationtravelmagazine.com), and by end of the month at her own travel blog, Southern Trippin, southerntrippin.com.

Georgia Grown: Georgia’s Music Pioneers

Georgia artists topping the charts today frequently acknowledge the influence of the pioneers who paved the way before them. Click on the names below and get to know the singers, songwriters and entertainers who will forever be considered Georgia music legends.
The Allman Brothers Band

Savannah native Johnny Mercer penned more than 1,500 songs during his career. Credit: Courtesy of the Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University

Savannah native Johnny Mercer penned more than 1,500 songs during his career. Credit: Courtesy of the Special Collections & Archives, Georgia State University

Boudleaux and Felice Bryant

Brenda Lee

Chet Atkins

Gladys Knight

James Brown

Jessye Norman

Joe South

Johnny Mercer 

Though he lost his sight completely by age 7, Ray Charles learned to write and play music and became known as a pop hitmaker. Credit: Corbis

Though he lost his sight completely by age 7, Ray Charles learned to write and play music and became known as a pop hitmaker. Credit: Corbis

Little Richard Penniman

Otis Redding

Ray Charles

Thomas Dorsey

Tommy Roe



lisaLisa Love serves as Director of Music Marketing and Development for the Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office. A somewhat passable bass player who should never be allowed to sing, she is founding editor Georgia Music magazine, which celebrates the state’s legends, landmarks and unsung heroes.

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