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Press Releases 2004 - Little White House

Press Release Table of Contents - 2004 Archives:


An October Swim Brings Hope
Awards Bestowed Upon FDR's Little White House
International Program Promotes FDR's Legacy
Georgia Opens New Presidential Landmark
"Topping Off" Ceremony at the Little White House for the new FDR Memorial Museum



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This is among the first photographs of Franklin Roosevelt taken in October 1924. Images like this were sent out over the wires showing how warm springs help FDR recover his health.



 

An October Swim Brings Hope

Warm Springs, Georgia, October 03, 2004 - This past October 3 was much like the third of October eighty years earlier. The heat of summer had let go. Coolness was in the air as the autumn begins its wane towards winter. There was not anything out of the ordinary that occurred as we went about our routine. October 3, 1924 was just like October 3, 2004. Or was it? Reading the newspaper from this week, eighty years earlier, in the Warm Springs section, you can see a footnote about a man and his family from New York coming to spend the winter here taking in the baths.

Nothing of significance appears in that statement. Back to 2004, this week, we had visitors from New York also swing through Warm Springs. We also had visitors from the Netherlands, England California and many other parts of the globe pass through Warm Springs.
"So, what are you saying?" one might ask.

On October 3, 1924, the Mercury stated that Franklin D. Roosevelt had come to Warm Springs to take in the warm baths.

On the evening of the 3rd, a train pulled into the Southern Railway Depot and off the train came FDR into the arms of destiny. As if some irresistible force of fate brought the springs and Roosevelt together, they met and altered the course of history.

This new path would be one that would forge a new America. In 1924, Roosevelt was hunting for a cure for polio. A little over thirty years later, we all rejoiced at the news of the Salk vaccine. In 1924, FDR could only dream of a political future, yet twenty years later, he would be running for his fourth term. In 1924, the Harvard educated politician entered a new school, the school of the common person. His experiences in Georgia provided an education that would be tested through his New Deal programs.

Because of his visit here in 1924, some polio patients sought out FDR's help and he provided it. Twenty years later, the world was looking to him for help.

Hindsight is as clear as a bell they say. It is hard to speculate what might or might not have occurred if FDR had not come to Warm Springs that fall day in 1924. What we do know is that the town of Warm Springs thrives today on the legacy he built. The state of Georgia and the south in general is key factor in presidential campaigns since FDR's time. The United States became the most powerful nation in history. There are statues and monuments to him across the globe. Volumes have been written about FDR and films by the score have been produced. His visage is on our dime and he was considered by many, Person of the Century. So, I ask you, "What do you think?" Had he not arrived at the depot back in 1924, would we as a town, state or nation be where we are today?

Roosevelt's Little White House is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and is the most visited state historic site in Georgia.

 

Awards Bestowed Upon FDR's Little White House

Warm Springs, Georgia August 23, 2004 - In 1948, the Little White House first opened its doors to the public as an international shrine. Since then various nations, prominent political figures and numerous organizations have recognized Warm Springs' most famous landmark as a special place in our country. John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter & Bill Clinton visited or campaigned here. Governments and individuals from all over the world, as a tribute to our President, presented gifts such as the "Fight For Freedom" statue. Warm Springs has been the subject of books, documentaries, television and film. This past week however set a record with three awards, two film crews, a visit from the Carter Presidential Library & Museum Director, a Southern Living magazine reporter writing a story and a twenty-year employee service award was given. As the team from the History Channel was leaving, another from HBO was pulling in. Kenneth Branagh, an accomplished director, producer and screenplay writer will portray FDR in his days before becoming President. Like the History Channel's upcoming documentary, the story comes to Warm Springs. Much attention has been and will be focused on the Little White House, its environs, the Roosevelt Institute and the village itself as the 60th anniversary of FDR's death approaches next April 12. This date also marks the 50th anniversary of the Salk vaccine being announced as "Safe and Effective" through the March of Dimes, thus ending the polio epidemics racing through the country. Since FDR was the founder of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis or March of Dimes, it is fitting that history retrace its conception to the Georgia Foundation and before that to Roosevelt's first visit to the springs in October 1924. It is these incredible events that helped develop the man into the political figure who would run for Governor twice and win, then run for and become elected President four times. After each victory, he returned to Warm Springs to rest and to be with the people who loved him the most. The story that FDR experienced is now being written about as well as filmed for audiences across the globe. That means that everywhere, people will hear about Warm Springs, our hospitality, charm and what Roosevelt termed as "The Spirit of Warm Springs." At the same time HBO was scouting locations, the Little White House was chosen as the "Most Outstanding Historic Site" in the Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites Division. This means that people are returning. Tourism is an industry in this area of Georgia. If it were not for the type of customer service our visitors receive, they would not come back. The tour bus that left last week will return next year to see the same "old" cottage, the same buildings and automobiles and many of the same "old" items on exhibit in the museum. Why? Because we have made them feel welcome when they arrived and waved goodbye to them as they left. The staff of the Little White House can be proud of this award for their efforts to make sure that guests have a pleasant experience while in Warm Springs. This same week, the Little White House was honored to receive "The George Washington Award". Presented by Freedoms Foundation, established after World War II to honor patriotism and good citizenship, the George Washington Award is considered the Foundation's highest award. Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower served as chairman from the Foundation's founding in 1949 until his death in 1969. Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge is among the nation's premier organizations devoted to citizenship education and the promotion of responsible citizenship. While absorbing this, the Little White House was notified that the site film, "Presidential Portrait: FDR at Warm Springs" was chosen to receive a gold plaque from the International Communications Film & Video Competition, held at the Chicago International Film Festival. This is quite an honor to be recognized with films from all over the world competing. Again, all eyes were focused on Warm Springs, FDR and his experiences here. Last but not least, Frankie Mewborn, site manager, was recognized for his twenty years of service in the Georgia State Parks system. He began his career at the Dahlonega Gold Museum as an Interpretive Ranger before transferring to New Echota, the former Cherokee Nation as manager for ten years. He has served at the Little White House for seven years and has overseen the development of many innovative programs. He was instrumental in planning for the new FDR Memorial Museum. His efforts have always been guest services oriented and that quality is passed to each employee on staff to ensure that visitors to the Little White House have a memorable visit. The combination of Frankie's service, the new films, the magazine articles and awards all come together to show that when people pick Warm Springs as a destination, they are sure to have their expectations more than met, they will leave here knowing that they will someday return.

Roosevelt's Little White House is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and is the most visited state historic site in Georgia. Come see why.

 


International Program Promotes FDR's Legacy

Warm Springs, Georgia, June 30, 2004 - FDR's Little White House, in Warm Springs, Ga. had two very special Rangers from the Roosevelt-Campobello International Park (RCIP) in New Brunswick, Canada work with our interpretive staff for two weeks in June. Jeanellen Stanley and Darlene Savage of Campobello Island are participating in the Ranger Exchange program. Two years ago, a Ranger from the Little White House Ranger traveled to Hyde Park, NY, to work at the FDR Presidential Library. Darlene and Jeanellen, dressed in their respective uniforms added a new dimension in relations with our sister sites up north. This type of joint venture will improve visitor/guest services at all locations as the Rangers learn more about FDR from their counterparts. We hope that these ladies will take home the FDR/Warm Springs experience to share with their guests in the future. RCIP, located off the coast of Maine is operated jointly between the U.S. and Canadian governments. Both countries recognized the important role that this island played in their histories and FDR's life. Campobello is where the young Franklin would spend his summer vacations at the family cottage and where he and Eleanor, with their children, sought refuge from the stifling heat of New York City and Washington DC. It was at the place where FDR came down with polio in 1921. Three years later, he would travel to Warm Springs, Ga., upon hearing of a therapeutic warm water pool that offered hope in recovering the use of his paralyzed muscles. Finally, as President, FDR would return to his "beloved island" to rest and relax. The RCIP and Roosevelt's Little White House receive hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, helping the local economies while promoting FDR's legacy for future generations.

While in Georgia, the Rangers worked at FDR's Pools Museum, in Admissions, in the new FDR Memorial Museum and Little White House working with guests and answering questions like the professionals they are. No one would have guessed they were not regular staff had it not been for their red, white and blue Campobello uniforms and international insignia.

They experienced fried chicken, fried okra, catfish, green tomatoes, peaches, strawberries and boiled peanuts. Their enthusiasm and zest for learning was like a breath of fresh air as they sought out all they could about Warm Springs, Meriwether County, and Roosevelt's ties here. While here, they were able to tour the Roosevelt Institute, FDR State Park, Dowdell's Knob, the Flint River, Sprewell Bluff and the Eleanor Roosevelt School. They were able to visit the King Center and Carter Presidential Library in Atlanta, and shop in Warm Springs and nearby Columbus.

The staff of Roosevelt's Little White House gladly welcomes and participates in this type of program. The tourist industry has been hurting lately and this joint venture of exchanging Rangers greatly enhances visitor services at Hyde Park, Campobello and of course, Warm Springs. These ladies will now be able to share their experiences in Georgia with their visitors from around the world. Believe it or not, there are some people that have never heard of the Roosevelt Warm Springs connection. This measure provides an international outreach with very little cost that can only benefit travelers seeking out historical sites for future vacation spots. Pictured (l-r) are Asst. Manager Mary Thrash, Site Manager Frankie Mewborn, Campobello Rangers Jeanellen Stanley and Darlene Savage.

Roosevelt's Little White House is operated by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and is the most visited state historic site. Searching for relief from polio, Franklin D. Roosevelt first came to Warm Springs, Georgia in 1924 to swim in the springs' naturally heated water. Enchanted with the area, he built a vacation cottage on the side of Pine Mountain while running for president in 1932. During his trips to Georgia, he spent many hours visiting neighbors and learning of their difficulties, especially during the Great Depression. While posing for a portrait by Mme. Elizabeth Shoumatoff, FDR suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and died on April 12, 1945, near the end of World War II.



Georgia Opens New Presidential Landmark

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Planned for Franklin D. Roosevelt Museum

Monday, April 12 @ 2 p.m. - Little White House Historic Site in Warm Springs, Warm Springs, Ga., March 25, 2004 – On the 59th anniversary of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s death in Warm Springs, Ga., that state will unveil a new, $5 million museum honoring one of the most revered world leaders. Nestled into the wooded estate that is the Little White House State Historic Site, the museum emphasizes the impact that Georgia made on President Roosevelt during his administration. It was here that he learned of the struggles of rural Americans, influencing many policies that still affect citizens today.

“President Roosevelt spent many hours visiting his neighbors and learning of their struggles,” said Frankie Mewborn, manager of the Little White House. “He was surprised to find that his electric bill here in Warm Springs was much higher than the one at his larger house in Hyde Park, New York. So one of his policies was the Rural Electrification Administration that brought affordable power to rural areas. It opened a whole new world to less fortunate families.”

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which operates the state’s 18 historic sites, will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial Museum on Monday, April 12 at 2 p.m. The celebration, which will coincide with the annual Commemorative Ceremony on the anniversary of Roosevelt’s death, will feature remarks from Gov. Sonny Perdue, music from the Ft. Benning Infantry Center Band and color guard presented by the United States Marine Corps Logistic Base of Albany.

The 11,000-square-foot museum chronicles Roosevelt’s life, his role in America’s recovery from the Great Depression, his leadership during World War II and his personal struggle with polio. Key exhibits include his hand-controlled 1938 Ford convertible, “Fireside Chats” playing on a 1930s radio, FDR’s stagecoach used during parades, a film narrated by Walter Cronkite, and the naturally warm spring water that first brought Roosevelt to Georgia. Visitors can tour FDR’s charming cottage, the guest house and servants’ quarters left much as they were the day he suffered a stroke while posing for the “Unfinished Portrait” now displayed in the museum. Just one mile from the museum is the historic pools complex where Roosevelt and other polio patients swam for therapy.

The Little White House draws more than 110,000 visitors annually, more than any other Georgia state historic site. It is located a quarter mile south of Warm Springs on Hwy. 85-Alt-Hwy. 27 Alt. For more information and a calendar of events call 706-655-5870.

Calendar Announcement
President Franklin D. Roosevelt Commemorative Ceremony & Museum Ribbon Cutting
Monday, April 12, 2004 - 2 p.m.
Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site, Warm Springs, Ga.
Free admission after noon.

706-655-5870

Photos: Using the Internet, go to FTP://ftpx.dnr.state.ga.us - Public folder / State Parks folder / Little White House folder

Drag images to your desktop. Suggested images: "FDR at the Pool," "shaking farmer’s hand," "Portrait," "LWH home 200dpi." Open with Photoshop or similar software. Mac users may need software such as Fetch to access the FTP site.



"Topping Off" Ceremony at the Little White House for the new FDR Memorial Museum

Batson Cook, the builders of the new FDR Memorial Museum at Little White House, held a "Topping Off" Ceremony this past Saturday. Topping Off is a part of an ancient tradition handed down to modern construction workers that when a structure is finished and all that has to be added is the walls and interior, a celebration occurs; workers and guests enjoy a lunch together in the building. The new FDR Memorial Museum building is well on its way towards completion as fabricators begin the process of creating the exhibits, and the building gets it's interior. Many local dignitaries, including Mayor Ramsey of Warm Springs, Nancy Jones, Chairwoman of the Meriwether County Commission, Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources representatives, builders, suppliers and construction workers attended the luncheon. All enjoyed the speakers who thanked everyone for such a fine job, while eating a fine Bar-B-Que plate, prepared by Mac's. Abit Massey, Chairman of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Memorial Advisory Committee, stated "We are making history come alive, not only for the historic site, but for Meriwether County and the State of Georgia." Site Superintendent Frankie Mewborn noted, "Our supporters in local community have really come together to help with this project. The leadership in this area is fostering a win-win situation for everyone."

The schedule for completion is April 12, 2004. The new $5 million memorial museum is just $200,000 short of its final goal in the fundraising campaign. As tourism is a major industry in Georgia and Meriwether County, it is hoped that the new museum will draw many more visitors to Warm Springs. "We want to make this a destination, not just a pass through." Mewborn said. "The whole county will benefit," he said, "The more people know about the new museum and area businesses, the more people will become attracted to our area."

 

Media Contacts:

Kim Hatcher, Public Affairs Coordinator, Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites: 404-657-9855, email: kimh@dnr.state.ga.us

Mary Thrash, Assistant Manager, Little White House: 706-655-5870, email: mary_thrash@dnr.state.ga.us



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