Franklin Delano Roosevelt — FDR — was the 32nd President of the United States serving for 12 years between 1933-1945. Though FDR grew up into a wealthy New York family he is known as the president who was best friends to the poor people during the Great Depression. During his first 100 days in office, FDR started passing orders known as the New Deal which continued through his time as President. The New Deal consisted of programs to help jump-start relief, recovery, and reform for the U.S. economic system.
Unknown by many Americans at the time FDR suffered from Poliomyelitis, commonly known as Polio, which left him permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Even after contracting the disease in 1921 FDR continued in politics. To keep the press from highlighting him as having a disability FDR never used his wheelchair in public and learned how to walk short distances with braces hidden under his clothing.
For treatment and to find a possible cure to his Polio FDR sought treatment at a resort in Warm Springs, Georgia. The springs which stayed a constant 88 degrees were the main attraction of the area. The main activity that eased FDR, and many others suffering from polio, was swimming in warm water. At the time of his first trip in 1924 to the springs, FDR realized there was great potential for the area and bought the land where the "ramshackle" resort was located and founded the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation.
By the time of being elected president, FDR ordered a new home to be built in Warm Springs. This home would become known as the Little White House. Roosevelt visited the home every year for two to three weeks at a time until his death, except 1942 when he was preoccupied by World War 2. He spent as much time at the home and pool during 1943 and 1944 from not being able to sail in the Atlantic during wartime. Cabinet members and legislators often visited him and would even accompany him to Dowdells Knob, a lookout spot atop Pine Mountain.
On April 12, 1945, FDR was having a portrait painted of himself by Elizabeth Shoumatoff when he complained of a headache and slumped forward. He was then carried to his bed where he died shortly after. It was there he was embalmed also. The home stands the same as it did that day in 1945 having been untouched in a memorial to the president. As you tour through the home you will see a note left by his servant in the kitchen. The original paper towels and toilet paper from that day.
Before seeing the house you start off in the museum where his wheelchair, braces, carriage, and a couple cars are located. As well in the museum is artifacts and exhibits about FDR's New Deal, Fireside Chats and March of Dimes. As you walk outside there is a row of 50 Flags with a rock from each state before walking down the hill to the servants' house, guest house and Little White House. Upon finishing the tour of the area you come into a room with the Unfinished Painting along with the Finished Painting.
After viewing the Little White House you can visit the actual Warm Springs pool. Unfortunately, the pool is no longer used and filled with the warm 88-degree water. The pool features a museum on Polio treatment as well as FDR's time spent there with the kids and others seeking therapy for their Polio. Even though the pool is no longer used or filled you can walk down into it and still feel the water coming out of a fountain.
Another of FDR's favorite places located a few miles from The Little White House but worth the trip is Dowdells Knob. Set atop Pine Mountain, FDR frequented the lookout spot for reflection as well as a picnic spot to entertain guests. Looking out over Georgia is a statue of FDR on a bench where you can sit and see the gorgeous views with him.
Touring the home/museum, the pool, and Dowdells Knob is a good trip for a family or just anyone. FDR was a great President and learning more about him and his life in Warm Springs should be on anyone's bucket list.