A substantial, three-year renovation project will involve much of Sagamore Hill, Theodore Roosevelt's home on Long Island, New York, beginning next spring. As a result much of the home will be closed to visitors, although events and activities on the grounds will continue.
The $6.2 million project will involve work on "interior elements such as woodwork, flooring, and lighting, as well as to mechanical systems including electrical, heating and ventilation, fire suppression and security. Exterior work includes installation of a new roof, gutter and drainage system, waterproofing of the foundation, and rehabilitation of historic windows, doors, siding, and porches to historic preservation standards," park officials say.
"The home's original rear porch and its sky lit central light well, both of which were altered or removed in past work on the home, will be restored. In addition, an accessible ramp along with a walkway from the site's visitor center will be installed. Other aspects of this project include rehabilitation of the adjacent ice house, upgrade of the site's fire hydrants, electrical service, and the installation of stand-by generators and upgrades to the site's outdoor security lighting."
"This project represents a significant investment by the American people ensuring that the Roosevelt home and its irreplaceable collection are protected for future generations to appreciate, gain inspiration, and learn from" said Sagamore Hill National Historic Site Superintendent Tom Ross.
Guided tours of the home will be given through December 4th, when the home will close to visitors.
"While the home is closed to visitors," said Superintendent Ross, "we will continue to serve visitors with special programs and activities at the Visitor Center, Theodore Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard, historic farms buildings and throughout the grounds."
According to the superintendent, areas that remain open to the public during construction include the visitor center and museum store; the Theodore Roosevelt Museum at Old Orchard; site outbuildings and grounds, along with the nature trail which leads to the national wildlife refuge on Cold Spring Harbor. Public programs and special events will continue at the site including nature and grounds walks as well as the popular Junior Ranger programs for children.
Several new programs include talks on the site as a working farm, illustrated programs, self-guided cellular phone tours, and an 18-minute narrated video tour of the Roosevelt home which takes visitors room by room through the house.
President Roosevelt, who had vacationed on Long Island as a boy, bought the property when he was in his early 20s, and he commissioned an architect to design a Queen Anne-style home. Work began in 1884, but it nearly halted when his wife, Alice, died two days after giving birth to their daughter.
The future president was persuaded by his family to have the home finished, and in 1887 it became home for him and his second wife, Edith, a childhood friend he became reacquainted with in 1886.
The couple would raise a total of six children in the house and, over the next 30 years, they would experience some of the most memorable and cherished moments of their lives there.
The most significant events took place at Sagamore Hill during the seven summers it served as Theodore Roosevelt's Summer White House, from 1902 until 1908. During that time, Roosevelt used his home to host luminaries from around the country and around the world.