Sep 25, 2017

Sagamore - Teddy Roosevelt's Home

Down a tree-lined road with luxury homes snugged behind the trees is Sagamore, the place Teddy Roosevelt  called home. Roosevelt named it after Sagamore Mohannis who, as chief of his tribe, signed away his rights to the land. Roosevelt’s first wife, Alice, and his mother died on the same day. His wife died of Bright’s disease giving birth to their daughter, Alice; and his mother of typhoid fever. Roosevelt married again.
He and his new wife, Edith, called Sagamore home for their family which included their three children, Teddy Jr., Kermit, and Ethel along with Roosevelt’s first daughter, Alice.The house was not only the home of an active rambunctious family it also served as the Summer White House after Roosevelt became president following the assassination of President McKinley. In 1905 Roosevelt met with the envoys of warring Russia and Japan in his Sagamore library and then brought them face-to-face which led to the Treaty of Portsmouth (New Hampshire) that ended the Russo-Japanese War and earned Roosevelt the Nobel Peace Prize.
The rambling 23-room Victorian home is much the same as it was when the Roosevelts inhabited it as are most of the furnishings. The house is filled with great antidotal stories. Teddy Jr. recalled that the bathtub drain made a lot of gurgles and other noises. His Irish nurse said they were the cries of the “faucet lady and Teddy Jr. and his siblings would try to see is he could get a glimpse of her head in the pipe.

The path to the house goes by a windmill and according to legend one day the blades were stuck.Instead calling for one of the staff to take care of it, Teddy climbed up to the top with a can of oil. He was a fairly chunky man so it must have been an interesting sight.
Bleeding profusely he managed to climb down and make his way into the house where his wife is purported to have said, “Theodore, I wish you would do your bleeding in the bathroom. You are ruining all the rugs in the house.”While at the top he solved the problem but the wind shifted and the blades swung around slicing off the top of his scalp. Seems that bumps, bruises and cuts were a common happening with Teddy and the children. I also like the quote attributed to Alice, Roosevelt’s daughter by his first wife. Evidently she had a pillow that said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone then come sit next to me.” 
Today Sagamore has a museum, garden, several outbuildings, and a nature trail down to Cold Spring Harbor. There are also some informative sign boards on the way from the ticket area to the house.
Roosevelt said to his wife, “I wonder if you will ever know how I love Sagamore Hill.”When we were there several people had their easels set up capturing images of the house in pastels, oils, and pencils. He died the next day, January 5, 1919, at the age of 60. Not far away from Sagamore is Young Cemetery where the Roosevelts are buried.

Vice President Thomas Marshall said, “Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake there would have been a fight.”They chose to be near their beloved Sagamore instead of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. His wife, Edith, continued to live at Sagamore until her death in 1948 at the age of 87.