History, Local History, Research

Theodore Roosevelt: The President from Long Island

One of the most famous presidents in the history of our country, Theodore Roosevelt stands as a giant and not just as a face on Mt. Rushmore. The 26th president of the United States held the reins of power during one of the most influential time periods. He succeeded into the presidency as a result of the assassination of William McKinley, becoming the youngest person to hold that office at 42 years of age.

Going by Theodore, Teddy, TR, the Rough Rider, the Bull Moose, or the Trust Buster, he was defined by his many qualities, quirks, words, and actions. He was a war hero during the Spanish-American War, he exuded the western image of a cowboy during his ranching days in the Dakotas, and fought corruption in New York politics; all leading up to a very successful presidential tenure. Roosevelt would take on monopolies, promote the welfare of the common citizen, and really challenge the status quo for what he contributed to the time period known as the Progressive Era.

Born in Manhattan in 1858, Teddy was a native New Yorker and denizen of Long Island with his primary residence established at Sagamore Hill on the north shore of Nassau in Oyster Bay since 1885 until his death in 1919. It was originally going to be called Leeholm in honor of his first wife, but he decided on the name Sagamore, meaning “chieftain” in Algonquin, after her death. Sagamore Hill was deemed the “Summer White House” during his presidential years where he would even host dignitaries at the family home.

Sagamore Hill is a National Historic Site under the National Park Service and is typically open to visitors. The grounds are open in a limited manner with certain restrictions that can be viewed on their website here. The site went under $10 million worth of renovations in the last decade between 2011 and 2015. The Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace is another local National Historic Site usually open to visitors as well. Current information on availability can be found on the website here.

Theodore Roosevelt is often considered one of the greatest presidents in our history with his reputation deriving from the progressive policies he pursued, the legends and myths about his character, and the legacy he left behind of what it meant to be an American in his time. He was widely supported in his own time and continues to be held in high regard today. Theodore Roosevelt is a son of Long Island that it can be proud to call its own.

Here are some resources available about Theodore Roosevelt:
An Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt by Theodore Roosevelt

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

TR’s Summer White House: Oyster Bay by Sherwin Gluck

Theodore Roosevelt: Naturalist in the Arena edited by Char Miller and Clay S. Jenkinson

Sagamore Hill: Theodore Roosevelt’s Summer White House by Bill Beyer

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