|Springwood at Hyde Park|
Few alive today can remember the heart felt sorrow that accompanied the word that FDR was dead. Roosevelt had gone to his retreat at Warm Springs, Georgia and was enjoying a peaceful day trying to relieve the stress of World War II. He had been working and sitting for a portrait that was being done by artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff, who was a friend of Lucy Rutherford, Roosevelt’s longtime mistress. It was here at what was called the little White House”, on the day before Friday the 13th, FDR suffered a fatal cerebral hemorrhage and died.
Franklin’s body was taken in a copper lined casket to the rail station and sent to Washington, DC where 24 hours later a grief-stricken city waited for him. The President’s funeral took place in the White House on Saturday the 14th with only a limited number of people able to fit into the small area by invitation. Then taken to the train station for his last ride from Washington to Hyde Park, New York and the Roosevelt’s beloved estate Springwood.
The President did not want a big ceremony only simple arrangements, but was followed by a huge entourage on the train made up of Congressmen, Senators and dignitaries. West Point Cadets arrived, as well as plain citizens and members of the Armed forces. Warplanes flew overhead and with a nation’s prayers, Roosevelt was laid to rest in the Rose Garden.
Franklin only wanted a plain slab of white marble as a monument, and today that monument in the rose Garden, is part of the Hyde Park National Historic Park that includes America’s first Presidential Library, started in 1941 before FDR’s death by FDR himself. Also within the park is Springwood Estate bequeathed to the United States by Roosevelt himself ,along with all of its original furnishings and its many out buildings.
Today you can visit this important site and walk the grounds where much history unfolded, and where a grateful nation laid its leader to rest on April 15th, 1945. Buried with him is his wife Anna Eleanor Roosevelt and his famous dog Fala.
If you do go to visit Springwood besure to visit Eleanor's place at Val-Kill ...on the grounds....video below.