Our trip to Naples, Florida
Our travels today took us away from the interstate highways to travel to Warm Springs, Georgia, the site of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Little White House. Our root took us through Roosevelt State Park along a very scenic road lined with hardwood trees. Unlike most of the rest of the state that is covered with pine trees this area appeared to be primarily hardwood varities.
This visitor’s center in Roosevelt Park is a CCC project and we were reminded that the Civilian Conservation Corp was one of Roosevelt’s depression recovery projects. It is a solid stone structure that really fits the nature of this park.
The sun and clear blue skies was a welcome scene today but it did present a bit of a challenge for taking pictures. Since this view looked toward the east I tried to block the sun with a tree. You can see the morning haze hanging over the hills in the distance.
The highlight of this drive was this stop at what is known as Dowdell’s Knob. Roosevelt was instrumental in getting this road constructed to open the area to the public. The Barbeque structure you see was commissioned by Roosevelt as he loved this spot for picnics and preferred hot meals.
Looking back to the west from the grill area the rest of the knob rises above the road and has a nice picnic area for public use.
As mentioned above, Roosevelt commissioned this grill to be built and used it often in his visits before and after becoming president. He is said to have preferred to set on cushion from the back seat of the car and we were shown a model of the bronze statue that will be placed here in the future.
Our visit to the state park amounted to a leisurely drive through it, and then we traveled into the Warm Springs area to visit the Georgia State Historical site of Franklin’s Little White House. This is a wonderful facility with plenty of rangers on hand to answer questions. The museum had many artifacts from Roosevelt’s stay here and at the Warm Springs to recover from polio. This 1938 Ford Roadster is Roosevelt’s and it features the FDR1 license plate from 1945. The sign told us that the state prison workshop would make him the same plate number each year.
The entire facility surrounding the Roosevelt home is wonderfully landscaped and handicapped accessible. As you approach the residence there is a sentry post that was manned by marines when Roosevelt was staying here.
The driveway leads towards the house and the two other buildings. The building to the right of the home is the employee’s residence and the one to the left is the guesthouse.
This is the residence that the local people named The Little White House. Roosevelt had it built to suit his needs while here, and it is a nicely built home, but certainly not a mansion. The entire home is open to the public with a ranger stationed there to help answer questions. The ranger told us that the house is exactly as it was, including all furnishings, as it was the day Roosevelt collapsed from the effects of a fatal stroke.
The front room, like the rest of the home is very small and we wondered what it must have been like when he stayed here with all the help and others that needed to accompany him while president. The wheelchair is Roosevelt’s.
We were unable to get a picture of the entire dining room area, which included this table area as well as a setting area with its massive stone fireplace. The park restricts photographs to natural light only and getting a good shot was pretty tough.
This is Franklin’s bedroom, and is the place he died. He was setting for a portrait when he collapsed and was carried to this room.
This picture shows about half of Eleanor’s bedroom, there is another single bed along the wall by her bed stand. As you can see, none of the rooms of this home were very large.
The final stop on our tour was the Legacy Building that housed many displays of the major accomplishments of the Roosevelt Administration. The most notable display is this unfinished portrait of Roosevelt that was being painted the day he passed away.
Following our visit to the museum and home site we drove through town to the original pool and bathhouse where Roosevelt spent a great deal of time recovery from his polio attack. The pool is no longer used because springs below are in danger of collapsing from the weight. Visitors can venture into the pool itself and feel the warmth of the water that fills a small basin. While at the pool we met a park ranger named Suzanne, or Miss Suzy as she is called. She was 4 years old when she first met Franklin Roosevelt and in fact had Thanksgiving Dinner with him and other guests at the Warm Springs facility. She remembers him very well as she was 13 when he passed away. On a final note, we learned that the HBO movie called Warm Springs was shot on location here for the pool scenes. This was accomplished by filling the pool, which is done about once a year.
Our next stop was to be the longest covered bridge in Georgia. We stopped for directions and our first attempt was to turn up this road, which we discovered was not the proper place. Luckily we checked the road signs before traveling up this very rough and narrow dirt road.
The bridge, as it turns out is 391 foot long and is located on Covered Bridge Road. The sign told us that it was built in the 1840’s by freed slave and noted bridge builder Horace King. It also mentioned that the bridge construction detail is called Town Lattice Design that has a web of planks crisscrossing at 45 to 60 degree angles and fastened with 2,00 wooden pegs. This is the only remaining bridge of this design in Georgia.
This is a close-up of one of the wooden pegs that hold the timbers together on this bridge. We couldn’t tell if this structure is all original or if it has had restoration work, but ever joint in the crisscrossing beams has the wood pins mentioned on the sign so if it has been restored it is faithful to the original design.
Since the bridge is very narrow by today’s standards, 9’-1” (1-foot narrower than the standard single car garage door) the state has erected these steel I-Beam gates to alert the driver that to pass through the bridge the vehicle must pass through these gates. We had no trouble driving through the bridge, but there is not much on the other side except a dirt road leading off into Georgia farm ground.
We did not make any further stops until we had reached Dalton, Georgia where we stopped for the night. The picture below represents the historic downtown area, unfortunately is was too late for us to visit the shops that had closed earlier in the day.
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