Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America's longest-serving president, was born on this day in 1882 in a stately New York mansion in Hyde Park, between Albany and New York City.
Roosevelt lived on the property almost his entire life -- until he became president in 1933, moved into the White House and instantly grew homesick.
"All that is within me cries out to go back to my home on the Hudson River," he said during his first month in the White House.
Despite his new address, he visited his family home in Hyde Park frequently, even going so far as to call it the "Summer White House." Some of his famous fireside chats took place in the library as well.
The home's history isn't quite clear, but it is believed that the central portion was originally a Federal Style-farmhouse built around 1800. It was remodeled in 1845 in the Italianate style, and a three-story tower was added. In 1866, Roosevelt’s father purchased the property for $40,000--or about $620,000 in today’s dollars—and remodeled it throughout his life.
FDR then worked on remodeling it with his mother in order to accommodate his growing family, as well as his growing collection of books, paintings, stamps, coins and political associates whom he wanted to entertain (that list would later include Canadian and European royalty as well as Winston Churchill). This doubled the home’s size and gave it more of a Colonial Revival look.
In 1943, he donated the estate to the American people, as long as his family maintained a lifetime right to use it. When he died in 1945, he was buried near the sundial in the Rose Garden. The family relinquished their rights two years later, after Roosevelt died, and the home became a National Historic Site that sees more than 100,000 visitors a year.
Ilyce Glink is an award-winning, nationally syndicated real estate columnist, blogger and radio talk show host, and managing editor of the Equifax Finance Blog. Follow her on Twitter @Glink.
On This Day, previously:
- Real Estate
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt
- the White House