Visit the birthplace of Theodore “Teddie” Roosevelt, the beloved 26th President of the United States and one of politics’ most famous New Yorkers! Roosevelt is the only president who was born in the Empire State, and you can visit his birthplace in New York City’s Flatiron District.
Roosevelt was born on October 27, 1858 in a five-story brownstone on East 20th Street, where he lived until the age of fourteen. His childhood home was a gift to his father from his Grandfather, Cornelius Roosevelt. Although the original structure was torn down in 1916, it was rebuilt from 1921 to 1923. Several of Roosevelt’s family members, including his sisters and his wife, oversaw the building’s reconstruction.
Experience a part of Roosevelt’s childhood by perusing the site’s five rooms, which are replicas of the rooms in the president’s original abode. These rooms include the master bedroom, the children’s room, its connected play area, a dining room, and a luxurious parlor. Each room features wallpaper and carpeting designed to match their nineteenth century counterparts. Furthermore, sixty percent of the building’s Victorian-style furniture belonged to the original home, while the rest of the furniture is unique to the period, recreating the late nineteenth century atmosphere in which Roosevelt was raised.
Make your way to the dining room to see the dining table, the oldest piece in the home. Lining the table are beautiful antique chairs. These lovely pieces have rose designs, evoking the Dutch translation of Roosevelt’s surname, which is “field of roses.” Take in the opulence of the parlor, ornamented with portraits and lavish furnishing, where the charter for the Museum of Natural History was signed.
This famous brownstone also serves as a memorial to Roosevelt’s illustrious life as a soldier and politician. Explore the galleries, which display remarkable artifacts from different periods of his life. Among these items are newspaper clippings, paintings, photographs, books that he had written, and articles of clothing that he had worn. Admire Roosevelt’s Rough Rider uniform, designed by Brooks Brothers, which he wore in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. Take a look at his hunting outfit, fashioned by what is today Abercrombie and Fitch, which he wore in the Dakota territories in the west. Also on display is the clothing he was wearing when shot, while delivering a speech three weeks before the election.
Deepen your knowledge of this eminent president beyond East 20th Street. Once you have enjoyed your tour of Roosevelt’s home and visited the galleries, stop by the gift shop. There you will find a plethora of postcards, children's coloring books, t-shirts, stuffed animals, and documentary DVDs revisiting Roosevelt’s life. Several biographies dedicated to him are available, while you also have the option of purchasing a biography of Roosevelt’s rebellious daughter Alice, who had a colorful life herself.
Written by George Morales | edited by Iris Zalun