Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s powerful story is woven into the history of Georgia. Visitors can find that story in the tiny village of Warm Springs, in the shade of Pine Mountain’s forests, and on the picturesque grounds of the Little White House. FDR was more than our 32nd President and most inspiring disabled American; he was also our neighbor and friend.
Guest House Interior
Servant's Quarters & Garage
FDR's 1938 Ford Convertible
The Memorial Fountain
The Flag Walk and State Stones
The "Unfinished" Portrait
The Little White House
For the first seven years that Franklin D. Roosevelt came to Warm Springs for polio treatments, he stayed in various rental cottages. While Governor of New York, he oversaw construction of his own six-room white clapboard home on the north slope of Pine Mountain. Finished in the spring of 1932 at a cost of $8,738.14, the Little White House has been carefully preserved much as FDR left it. The casual style and furnishings reflect his desire to relax during his many visits to Warm Springs.
When Roosevelt won the 1932 election, the Little White House doubled as a presidential retreat. FDR often entertained high-ranking officials and foreign dignitaries here. He also saw first-hand the concerns of his rural neighbors. Within the walls of this house, Roosevelt conceived many of the visionary programs that lifted the country out of the Great Depression.
It was here, during his 41st visit to Warm Springs, that President Roosevelt died. He suffered a massive cerebral hemorrhage on April 12, 1945, while having his portrait painted by Elizabeth Shoumatoff. No brush strokes were added after his death. When the Little White House opened to the public in 1948, Mme. Shoumatoff’s "Unfinished Portrait" became a focal point of the tour.
The Guest House
The Guest House was built in 1933 after Franklin Roosevelt became president and needed more room for company. Much of the furniture was made in the Val-Kill shops of Hyde Park, New York, which were established by Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt to help the unemployed. As with most points of interest at the Little White House Historic Site, specially taped messages explain the history to modern day visitors.
The Servant’s Quarters and Garage
Like the main house, the Servant’s Quarters and Garage were built in 1932. The people who served the Little White House had their own sleeping quarters in the upstairs part of the building. These small but personable rooms are on view to visitors able to climb the stairs, and have also been carefully preserved to period.
The Sentry Houses and Bump Gate
When Franklin Roosevelt first took office as President of the United States in 1933, sentry posts were erected around the Little White House. They were manned for his protection whenever he was in residence.
The Bump Gate is an unusual and interesting feature. It was designed to open with the push of a bumper, eliminating the need for a driver to step outside his automobile. This special gate marks the original entrance to the Little White House grounds, and everything inside has been kept as much as possible as FDR would have known it.
The Memorial Fountain
Dedicated in 1959, the Memorial Fountain was built outside of the Bump Gate. This centrally located fountain provides a place to sit and contemplate the peaceful beauty of the spot FDR loved so much.
The Flag Walk and State Stones
Shortly after the Little White House was opened to the public in 1948, each state was invited to contribute a specimen of their state stone. In 1961 the collection was complete. The stones were mounted along a walkway leading to the museum, and in 1964 the flag of each state was placed above its stone.
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Museum
Nestled into the wooded estate is a new 11,000-square-foot museum that tells the story of this great national hero and world leader. Among the many exhibits are his 1938 Ford convertible equipped with hand controls, a 1930s kitchen with his "Fireside Chats" playing on the radio. the Great Depression, rural electrification, key people in FDR's life and interactive exhibits. A short film narrated by Walter Cronkite included historic footage of the president visiting with neighbors and swimming in pools, as well as his funeral procession.
The Finished Portrait by Mme. Elizabeth Shoumatoff
Finding herself not able to continue with the Unfinished Portrait, Elizabeth Shoumatoff began a new painting in the summer of 1945. She used memory, sketches and the original painting as a guide. Mme. Shoumatoff presented her final work to the Little White House in 1960 as a companion piece to the Unfinished Portrait. It is on display in the museum.
The Historic Pools and Springs Museum
The pools are located a quarter of a mile north of downtown. When FDR found that swimming in the warm buoyant waters helped his paralyzed legs, he purchased the old resort and converted it into a polio treatment facility in 1927. The pools were used for therapy until 1942, when the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation built an indoor pool. The property is operated and maintained today by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. Staff members of the Little White House provide tours of the museum, which traces the history of the area from the early 1800s to the present. A fountain fed with 88-degree water provides guests with an opportunity to touch and feel the natural warmth of the springs.
Within 30 minutes of the site are the quaint little town of Warm Springs with its many arts and craft shops and popular restaurants, the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park, the Roosevelt-Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation, the U.S. Department of Interior's Fish Hatchery, Callaway Gardens and Day Butterfly Center, and the Pine Mountain Wild Animal Park.