Hudson Valley Podcasts Politics and Protest

The Roosevelts of Hyde Park: American History on the Hudson

PODCAST Hyde Park, New York was the home of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd president of the United States. He was born here, he lived here throughout his life, and he’s buried here — alongside his wife Eleanor Roosevelt.

But it was more than simply a home.

Eleanor and Franklin at Hyde Park/Courtesy US National Archives

The Hyde Park presence of the Roosevelts expands outwardly from the Roosevelt ancestral mansion of Springwood, over hundreds of forested acres from former farmlands on the eastern side to the shores of the Hudson River on the west.

FDR was born here in 1882, returning through his life and throughout his storied career — as a state senator, as a governor of New York, as a four-term president. When diagnosed with polio in 1921, Franklin rehabilitated here along the dirt roads emanating from Springwood.

FDR said of Springwood, “My heart has always been here. It always will be.”

Eleanor raised their family here, alongside FDR’s protective mother Sara Delano. She would carve out her own legacy in Hyde Park at a place called Val-Kill Cottage where her political independence and social activism would flourish.

Eleanor Roosevelt with Fala at Val-Kill, 1951

In this episode, Tom and Greg visit both Springwood and Val-Kill, along with two other historic places:

Top Cottage where the King and Queen of England met FDR at the dawning of the World War II (and the King enjoyed a certain staple of American cuisine)

— The FDR Library and Museum, America’s first presidential library, where the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor lives on.


Hyde Park Train Station

Inside the station. Photo by Greg Young

Visitors Center

Photo by Greg Young

FDR Library & Museum

Yes FDR was very much alive during the opening of the library. In fact, he was closely involved in its planning. He even worked in this private library within today’s museum.


Val-Kill Cottage
Val-Kill Cottage/Photo by Greg Young
Garden at Val-Kill/Photo by Greg Young
Eleanor with Fala by the Val-Kill Pond, 1951
Eleanor Roosevelt entertaining children from Wiltwyck School for Boys at Val-Kill. Eleanor gave millions of dollars to the school.

Top Cottage

FDR at Top Cottage, 1941

Running through our notes before chatting about Top Cottage — as the rain starts to come down.

St. James Episcopal Church, Hyde Park, New York

Inside the chapel of St Jame’s. Photo by Greg Young


After listening to this episode on Hyde Park, jump back into these earlier Bowery Boys Podcasts which discuss similar themes or situations from the show:

1) Listen to part one of the Road Trip to the Hudson Valley:

2) FDR plays a big role in these two shows on the New Deal’s effect on the New York City area.

3) And revisit the history of Roosevelt Island, named for Roosevelt in 1973.

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