Sagamore Hill (house)

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A native of New York City, Theodore Roosevelt spent many summers of his youth on extended vacations with his family in the Oyster Bay area; in 1880, 22-year-old Roosevelt purchased 155 acres (63 ha) of land for $30,000 (equal to about $700,000 today) on Cove Neck, a small peninsula roughly 2 miles (3.2 km) northeast of the hamlet of Oyster Bay. In 1881, his uncle James A. Roosevelt had designed his estate home several hundred feet west of the Sagamore Hill property. In 1884 Theodore Roosevelt hired the New York architectural firm Lamb & Rich to design a shingle-style, Queen Anne home for the property. The 22-room home was completed by John A. Wood and Son, of Lawrence, Long Island, in 1886 for $16,975 (equal to $462,349 today), and Roosevelt moved into the house in 1887. Roosevelt originally planned to name the house "Leeholm" after his wife Alice Hathaway Lee Roosevelt. However, she died in 1884 and Roosevelt remarried in 1886, so he decided to change the name to "Sagamore Hill". Sagamore is the Algonquin word for chieftain, the head of the tribe.

In 1905 Roosevelt expanded the house, adding the largest room, called the "North Room" (40 by 30 feet (12.2 by 9.1 m)), for $19,000 (equal to $517,504 today). The North Room is furnished with trophies from the former president's hunts and gifts from foreign dignitaries, alongside pieces of art and books from the Roosevelts' collection, the home now has 23 rooms, including a water closet with a porcelain tub, a luxury at the time of its construction. [1]

The house and its surrounding farmland became the primary residence of Theodore and Edith Roosevelt for the rest of their lives and the birthplace of three of their five children. Sagamore Hill took on its greatest importance when it became known as the "Summer White House" during the seven summers (1902–1908) Roosevelt spent there as President, it played host to numerous visits from foreign dignitaries and peace talks that helped draw an end to the Russo-Japanese War.[2] Roosevelt died at Sagamore Hill on January 6, 1919, and was buried at nearby Youngs Memorial Cemetery.

On July 25, 1962, Congress established Sagamore Hill National Historic Site to preserve the house as a unit of the National Park Service, as with all historic areas administered by the National Park Service, Sagamore Hill was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.[3] The home is open to the public by guided tour. Almost all the furnishings are original. Also on the site is the Theodore Roosevelt Museum, which chronicles the life and career of the President, the museum is housed in the 1938 house called "Old Orchard," the former residence of Brigadier General Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and his family. Sagamore Hill was closed for about 4 years from 2011-2015 to allow for restoration work to take place.[4]


  1. ^ "Sagamore Hill". The Almanac of Theodore Roosevelt. Chapultepec, Inc. Retrieved 21 November 2017. 
  2. ^ "Sagamore Hill". National Park Foundation. National Park Foundation. Retrieved 21 November 2017. 
  3. ^ National Park Service (2008-04-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  4. ^ Grimes, William. "Theodore Roosevelt's Sagamore Hill Home Cries 'Bully!'". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 21 November 2017. 

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