A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY AROUND CAMPOBELLO - FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S "BELOVED ISLAND" - THROUGH THE ROOSEVELT?
A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY AROUND CAMPOBELLO - FRANKLIN D. ROOSEVELT'S "BELOVED ISLAND" - THROUGH THE ROOSEVELT CAMPOBELLO INTERNATIONAL PARK WHERE F.D.R'S COTTAGE HAS BEEN CAREFULLY PRESERVED
The Roosevelt Campobello International Park in unique in its administration - the Park is administered by a joint Canada-USA Commission - which was set up by the both Governments when the Hammer Brothers of New York (who had purchased the Roosevelt Estate in 1952) decided to donate the cottage and its acreage to the two countries as a shrine and symbol of international of the park is the former Roosevelt summer cottage at Welshpool.
Campobello is a tiny island (about 9 miles by 3) in the Grand Manan group, just off the northeastern tip of the U.S.A., connected to Lubec, Maine by the Franklin D. Roosevelt International Memorial Bridge - jointly built by the U.S.A. and Canada. Visitors may, also, reach the island by car ferry from New Brunswick. With a population of about 1200, Campobello is made up of a number of fishing villages where large fleets of herring seiners and fish draggers make their home port. In 1883, FDR's parents purchased some land and a partially completed house on the Island and in 1885 they and young Franklin spent the first of many summers on the Island. Here, he learned sailing from a native islander, played tennis and golf, fished, swam and canoed, and developed a deep love and appreciation for nature. To the south of the Roosevelt summer home was a large red-shingled Dutch Colonial house owned by a close friend of his mother's, a Mrs. Hartmann Kuhn. In her will, she provided for the purchase of her home by Mrs. Roosevelt on condition it be given to FDR as wedding present. This is Franklin Delano Roosevelt's cottage, which he acquired in 1910.
In the years that followed, Franklin Roosevelt and his family spent July, August and part of September there.
At Campobello, in the summer of 1921, Mr. Roosevelt was stricken with poliomyelitis. He was taken to New York for hospitalization and it was almost 12 years before he revisited Campobello, due to his lengthy convalescence and, then, involvement in active politics. However, his wife and 5 children continued to visit the island. Mrs. Roosevelt wrote "Campobello in many ways was more home to me than Hyde Park".
In 1929 Franklin Delano Roosevelt became Governor of New York State. In 1933 he became President of the United States of America, the highest office of the Nation and he held that office until his death in 1945.
It was after his first trying 100 days as President that he returned to Campobello for an all too brief visit. The demands of Office made future visits all too few and his last visit was in 1939. His love of the island and his long association with its people left a lasting impression.
In 1952, with the assistance of Mrs. Roosevelt, the Hammer Brothers carefully restored the cottage and furnishings and today the entire cottage reflects FDR, the man.
The Roosevelt Campobello International Park became a reality in 1964 and will stand forever as a fitting memorial to that President of the United States who spent so many happy days of rest and relaxation on Canadian soil.