A Tale of Two Roosevelts: Franklin

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 Franklin Roosevelt.

Franklin Roosevelt- A Georgia History:

354-Franklin Delanor Roosevelt Little White House-Meriwether County-State Historic Sites-SR0634Unlike Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt’s association with Georgia began not through his ancestors, but directly from Franklin himself. After contracting polio in August of 1921, Roosevelt sought therapies that could help him overcome his paralysis. Columbus, Georgia native and Democratic party power player George Foster Peabody urged Roosevelt to visit Warm Springs, Georgia. On October 3, 1924 Roosevelt arrived in Warm Springs for the first time. Over the next 21 years Mr. Roosevelt visited Warm Springs on over 40 occasions staying for extended periods of time.

Commercial air travel from Atlanta to New York with service by Eastern Air Transport began on December 10, 1930 with an inaugural flight including then- New York Governor Roosevelt, Georgia Governor-elect Richard B. Russell, U.S. Senator Walter George (Georgia), and Ernie Pyle.

May 22, 1932 Roosevelt addressed the Class of 1932 at Oglethorpe University just outside of Atlanta where he delivered stirring commentary on the state of the economy and where graduates fit in, saying, “We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!”

He returned to the state a few months later on October 25, 1932 and at a campaign stop at Union Station in Atlanta saying, “This is a day I shall never forget. I will see the eager faces and the lighted eyes of my fellow Georgians as long as I live. There are no words that can describe how I feel. I can just only imagine. I am deeply and everlastingly grateful to the people of this great state. I am proud to call it home.”

Present-day Little White House

Present-day Little White House

On March 4, 1933, Franklin Roosevelt took office at the nation’s 32nd president. Eight months later, on November 18, 1933, Roosevelt traveled to and spoke in Savannah in celebration of the 200 year anniversary of the establishment of Georgia. Saying there that, “I am glad to be back on Georgia soil. I am hurrying to Warm Springs with special interest, for I shall find there a splendid new building, given to the cause of helping crippled children by the citizens of the State of Georgia.”

While President, Roosevelt continued his visits between New York, Washington D.C. and Warm Springs. In April of 1936, an F4 tornado plowed through downtown Gainesville, causing catastrophic damage. On April 9, Roosevelt stopped in Gainesville on his way from Washington D.C. to Warm Springs noting the “great loss of life that has occurred here.”

Okeefenokee Swamp

Okeefenokee Swamp

FDR was instrumental in continuing the habitat of Georgia’s wildlife, creating two National Wildlife Refuges in the state- Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in 1937 and Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge in 1939.

Roosevelt’s final years in officer were involved more with the United States relationships with other nations involved in World War II. He continued to visit his home in Warm Springs and on April 12, 1945 FDR collapsed at his desk there, dying a short time later.

Following his death, his body would make one last trip through Georgia as his funeral train brought his body from Warm Springs through Atlanta on its way to Washington D.C.

See President Franklin Roosevelt’s History in Georgia:

Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site- Located in Warm Springs, this home is where Roosevelt lived when in Warm Springs and where he died. It is currently operated as a museum by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge- Located on the Florida-Georgia border, the Refuge is made up of 402,000 acres which offer visitors boating, hiking and fishing.

Union Station- Located over the tracks on Spring and Fosyth Streets before being razed in 1972, Union Station was the smaller of Atlanta’s two train stations and serviced several passenger rail companies. Today, Underground Atlanta sits on much of the old Union Station site. Click here to see images of the station.

Oglethorpe University- The campus of Oglethorpe University is located in the new city of Brookhaven. It’s gothic campus contains the Crypt of Civilization which contains a time capsule that was sealed in 1940 and is set to be opened in 8113.

eileenEileen 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.

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.