FDR's discovery of Warm Springs - WRBL

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FDR's discovery of Warm Springs

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(WARM SPRINGS, Ga.)  The year was 1921.  Young New York politician Franklin Delano Roosevelt was stricken with polio, paralyzed from the waist down.

He had a friend, a native of Columbus, Ga. named George Peabody, who owned some property in Warm Springs that used to be the site of the Meriwether Inn, a popular resort and spa.  Peabody told Roosevelt about the rejuvenating qualities of the warm mineral-filled springs. 

In 1924 Roosevelt paid his first visit to Warm Springs.  The story goes that after making daily swims in the pools fed by the naturally-heated springs, he could see improvement.  Three years later Roosevelt bought the property from Peabody.  FDR would start a foundation that led to a hospital dedicated to the treatment of polio patients.

Roosevelt adopted Warm Springs as his second home.  He built a six-room cottage that was finished in 1932, the year he first won the presidency.  The cottage became known as the Little White House.

Charlotte Robertson is a tour guide who says the cottage was built for just over $8,700.  Robertson says, "I think it was only fitting that this is where he took his last breath because he really and truly loved this place."

He not only loved the Little White House, he loved the people in Warm Springs.  Robertson adds, "He really connected with the people in this town, going out and speaking to them one on one.  That helped him shape a lot of the policies that he put in place to help the country during the Depression."

Carolyn Hendricks was just a small girl when FDR first started coming to Warm Springs.  She describes a personal encounter with him. "When he pulled up in the yard and was talking with my dad he caught our eye, and he motioned for us to come to the car.  So we ran over and jumped up on the running board.  He shook hands with us and when he did, he put a little piece of taffy candy in our hands."

Just up the mountain from Warm Springs is FDR State Park where President Roosevelt loved to relax.  His favorite spot was Dowdell's Knob which overlooks Pine Mountain Valley.  FDR enjoyed coming to this area for picnics, so much so that he had a stone grill built on the site that's still there today.

Phil Scoggins

After taking 16-year break from broadcasting, Phil rejoined WRBL as a news anchor where he has been ever since. More>>

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