When we arrived at the Historic Pool Museum near Roosevelt’s Little White House, I wasn’t really thinking much about former President Roosevelt. I was thinking about Debbie. Debbie was my friend when I was in elementary school. We built forts, treehouses, had persimmon wars from the tops of the trees in my yard, and had mud fights with John-Thomas and Cathy. Once in a while we played with Barbie dolls, but mainly we were tomboys, thinking up general mischief out in the tobacco warehouses that shadowed our neighborhood. Debbie’s little sister, Pam couldn’t enter into all the neighborhood play. She was only four – but that wasn’t her problem. Pam had polio.
Roosevelt’s Little White House
I never knew much about polio before moving to Owensboro, Kentucky. In my neighborhood in Langdale AL we went door to door every year with little cards to fill with dimes. At each home we requested they place a dime in the slots of our card. “March of Dimes” it was called. Our goal as grade-school children was to fill the card within a certain time frame. I always made my goal. But now, in my own neighborhood, four houses down, and the little sister of my good friend, I watched Polio as it took away the joy of this family.
After a time of medical intervention, Pam came home and began rehabilitation. They painted white foot prints down her sidewalk so she could practice using her crutches each day by placing her hard sole shoe on each footprint. This was tedious as she tried to maneuver the leg braces and push forward down the walk. We moved away, lost contact, and I never knew what became of Pam. Through the years I seldom thought of Pam – until I toured the Historic Pools Museum.
Historic Pools Museum
Franklin D. Roosevelt experienced much pain from the effects of polio and visited Warm Springs, Georgia in 1924, hoping to find some relief. He was so encouraged by the experience that he built himself a small cottage on the side of Pine Mountain so he could visit more regularly. On our tour we discovered that the President of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, regularly went into the warm spring water on a wooden platform for the purpose of relieving the pain of his disease. Many children would come to the waters and participate with the President in a game of water ball. In the water, the crippling disease was not as evident as the president and the children enjoyed the camaraderie of being equals – being of same mind-set and purpose. I was struck by the thought of how he went down into the waters with the other victims of Polio. The tour guide explained the President’s desire was to be like them, not separated by artificial barriers such as status or age.
As I pondered what President Franklin D. Roosevelt did for the research and treatment of polio, I thought how Jesus did that for me. No, I didn’t have polio, but I had a disease called sin. He left all the glory of heaven, came down to earth as a man, experienced hunger, rejection, pain, loneliness, and ultimately death and separation from His Father as He died on the cross. He did this willingly that He might identify with me, so that I could know Him personally.
President Roosevelt spent much time in the Pine mountain area and began to more fully understand the poor living conditions of the people. Having been president for more than twelve years and leading our nation through times of war with Germany and Japan he witnessed first hand the impact this had on the rural communities. They had weathered the Great Depression. The toll had been especially costly for them. President Roosevelt began developing policies that would help make their lives easier.
He spent considerable amounts of time at the Little White House
On the property of the Little White House you’ll be able to take a leisurely stroll along the walkway displaying the 50 state flags of America. At each flag there is a specimen of native stone from that state as a tribute to President Roosevelt. This collection was completed in 1959.
As you enter the Little White House property you’ll be reminded immediately that this was a secure destination for our 32nd President of the United States. He won four presidential elections and served until his death on April 12, 1945. The flag with 48 stars still flies at the Little White House.
When visiting the Little White House and the Warm Springs Museum you’ll discover many exhibits that tell about his accomplishments and hobbies.
As a young child FDR took up an interest in collecting stamps. His parents encouraged this and he continued collecting until his death.
The Presidential Car
The President Spoke to the People
At a time in history when the everyday folks needed hope, the President became that voice. When in 1921, at the age of 39 he was diagnosed with polio, he decided to fight it. He is quoted as saying, “…you show Americans that you can gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience…I have lived through this horror and I can take the next thing that comes along. You must do the thing that you think you cannot do.”
Remembering Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Each year on the date of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s date of death, April 12, 1945, there is a commemorative ceremony held to remember his local legacy as well as the many contributions to the world”.
Have you visited the Warm Springs Recovery and Treatment Center or the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia?
There is a small entrance fee that will admit you into both the Warm Springs Museum and the Little White House.