Last weekend my husband and I crunched on falling leaves over an expansive lawn to a special open house. We’d been invited to tour Sagamore Hill, the home of President Theodore Roosevelt on Long Island, recently renovated over a three-year period.
The 28-room Queen Anne Victorian was built in 1884. Theodore’s first wife Alice had just died, but his sister urged him to carry out plans for it overlooking the bay so his little daughter would have a place to call home. Eventually, so did second wife Edith and five more children.
From the wide veranda the family had an unobstructed view of the water. Since their time trees have grown to block it. The family especially enjoyed adventures outdoors with friends and cousins, including young Eleanor Roosevelt.
Mrs. Roosevelt’s drawing room is decidedly different from the others in the home, but a polar bear rug presented to her by Admiral Peary does warm the floor boards.
The family’s 8,000 books were carefully wrapped and stored during the renovation. Sagamore Hill’s furniture and possessions were left virtually intact when Edith Roosevelt died in 1948. The property was given to the Roosevelt Memorial Association and later to the National Park Service.
An owl from TR’s amazing bird collection watches over the third floor gun room, where he liked to write. Below, in the North Room addition of 1904, are momentos of the Roosevelt presidency. The large book on the table was a gift from Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany before World War 1.
Chairs in drafty rooms often have a throw or two over their backs. Usually they don’t include tails, though.
A perfect end to the visit was sitting on a rocking chair on the porch, watching the flag wave against the sunset.