A large mosaic map of the region filled up the main floor of the visitor’s center, where the tour gathered to listen to the guide, before he led us out, past a statue of the Roosevelts at a table going through papers and mail in the courtyard. The guide kept on with his dialogue, taking us by the Presidential Library FDR built in 1938-39 before he ran for President again – and won. The library was designed by him in the manner of a Dutch fieldstone house common to the region, and has been expanded since he had it built. He not only designed it as the first Presidential library, but also worked from it on occasion.
From the front of the library we went past the garden where the Roosevelts – and their dog Fala – were laid to rest, before arriving at the house, Springwood, which was described as modest compared to other mansions of the area. By New Hampshire standards, it was quite impressive, having been added onto by FDR and his mother so that the original wooden building was hidden under a veneer of stone.
While my Mum and Boy went into the huge mansion, Pop and I took in the grounds, including a foggy view from the back of the house, the horse barn, a caretaker’s cottage and the garden where the Roosevelts – and Fala – lay in peace under a huge rectangular block of white marble. There was a more recent addition, a memorial called “Four Freedoms Square” between the gravesite and the library that features the busts of Roosevelt and Churchill, with a sculpture of two standing figures carved from sections of the Berlin Wall.