For the first time in more than three years, doors will open at the Theodore Roosevelt House at Sagamore Hill on Sunday. Step inside and watch history come alive.
The books are back on the shelves, the bearskin runs are back on the floors, the artwork back on the walls. And at 9am, Theodore Roosevelt, portrayed by Jim Foote, will return home.
The extensive rehabilitation of the house and restoration of the 12,000 items took $10 million dollars, years closed to the public and an incredible amount of work. Imagine packing up all those artifacts. On Sunday, the public gets to see if it was worth it.
“It’s beautiful,” Martin Christiansen of the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site said. “The house hasn’t been in this good condition since the public was first given access to it.”
Theodore Roosevelt used the home from 1885 to his death in 1919. The three-story Queen Anne-style house, has 15 bedrooms, sitting rooms, offices, a large porch, and 3 bathrooms. During his time as the 26th President of the United States, the house became know as the “Summer White House,” when Roosevelt started the tradition of presidents taking long summer vacations.
The National Park Service hired the John G. Waite Architectural Firm to plan the rehabilitation. Before any work was performed, the 12,000 artifacts in the house were photographed in place, then re-catalogued and packed up. The biggest changes to the house include the rebuilding of a light and air shaft, dismantled in the 1950s, and the removal of a room addition on a porch at the rear of the house. The result being increased natural light and better air circulation.
Sagamore Hill National Historic Site celebrates the reopening with a free family festival day from 9am to 4pm, on Sunday. Christiansen expects about 5,000 people to filter through the Oyster Bay property and grounds throughout the day.
The highlight will be the tours of the first floor of the house where guides will provide information on the home and the 12,000 artifacts inside of it. Other activities throughout the day include an equestrian reenactment of the First United States Volunteer Cavalry by “The Rough Riders,” including a call for recruits where young volunteers will receive their enlistment papers, pony rides will be available throughout the day along with a petting farm in the same pastures where the Roosevelt family kept their own livestock and the chance to play old-fashion games like the family did on the lawn. Vendors will offer American fare including a lemonade stand and ice cream from Goosberry Grove and the Long Island Band Organ will play music based on a 1919 Wurlitzer 105 Military Band Organ.
The home and its grounds are a time capsule of Roosevelt’s life. The artifacts inside are basically every item Roosevelt owned, in the house he loved on the grounds he spent summer days exploring. Now, fully restored, we get a peek at it.
If you go:
Theodore Roosevelt House Reopening Event at Sagamore Hill
When: Sunday, July 12 9am to 4pm
Where: 20 Sagamore Hill Road, Oyster Bay, New York, 11771
More Information: www.nps.gov/sahi