Top Cottage


Top Cottage

Infobox nrhp
name = Top Cottage
nrhp_type = nhl



caption =
location = Hyde Park, NY
nearest_city = Poughkeepsie
lat_degrees =41 | lat_minutes =45 | lat_seconds =54 | lat_direction = N
long_degrees = 73 | long_minutes = 53 | long_seconds = 19 | long_direction = W
area =
built = 1938-1939
architect = Henry Toombs and Franklin Delano Roosevelt
architecture = Dutch Colonial Revival
designated = December 9 1997cite web|url=http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=-1826317219&ResourceType=Building|title=Top Cottage|date=2007-09-07|work=National Historic Landmark summary listing|publisher=National Park Service]
added = December 9 1997
refnum=97001679 cite web|url=http://www.nr.nps.gov/|title=National Register Information System|date=2007-01-23|work=National Register of Historic Places|publisher=National Park Service]
visitation_num = | visitation_year =
refnum=97001679
mpsub =
governing_body = National Park Service

Top Cottage, also known as Hill-Top Cottage, in Hyde Park, New York was a private retreat designed by and for Franklin D. Roosevelt. [ [http://cityguide.pojonews.com/fe/Heritage/stories/he_top_cottage.asp Top Cottage was FDR's hideaway ] ] [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] [ [http://www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/frdcsb12.html Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum - Dutchess County Stone Buildings ] ] Built in 1938 to 1939, during Roosevelt's second term as President of the United States, it was designed to accommodate his need for wheelchair accessibility. It was one of the earliest such buildings in the country, and the first significant building designed by a disabled person. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/H/Historic%20Buildings%20and%20Sites A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

Although it was meant as a retreat, FDR also received notable guests at the cottage, including Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. He had meant to retire there along with his cousin Margaret Suckley, who had helped him choose the site, but he died in office. His son sold it shortly after World War II, and after half a century in private ownership it was restored and given to the National Park Service, which today operates it as part of the nearby Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1997.citation|title=PDFlink| [http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Text/97001679.pdf National Historic Landmark Nomination: Top Cottage] |385 KB|author=John F. Sears|date=July 1, 1997|publisher=National Park Service and PDFlink| [http://pdfhost.focus.nps.gov/docs/NHLS/Photos/97001679.pdf Accompanying 9 photos, exterior and interior, from 1996 and 1937-1939] |2.93 MB|title=National Historic Landmark Nomination|date=1997-07-01|publisher=National Park Service] Guided tours of the cottage are available from the main site.

This building is the only building designed by a sitting U.S. President other than Thomas Jefferson, who designed several at his home in Monticello, the University of Virginia, and the Virginia State Capitol. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

Building and site

The cottage is in the Dutch Colonial Revival architectural style, built of fieldstone. It is one of several buildings in Hyde Park and surrounding communities which FDR ensured were built in that style, which he hoped to revive in the region. It is located at the end of Potters Bend Road, a residential street in a rural area of Hyde Park, at the top of the 500-foot (152 m) ridgetop unofficially known as Dutchess Hill. This hill was where Roosevelt had played as a child. [ [http://cityguide.pojonews.com/fe/Heritage/stories/he_top_cottage.asp Top Cottage was FDR's hideaway ] ] In FDR's time, it had commanding views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, now obscured by trees.

History

In 1933, Roosevelt realized his family home in Hyde Park did not offer him sufficient distance from the pressures of the presidency. He realized he would need a more isolated retreat, "a small place to go to escape the mob..."cite news|first=Rebecca|last=Rothbaum|title=Top Cottage was FDR's hideaway|url=http://cityguide.pojonews.com/fe/Heritage/stories/he_top_cottage.asp|publisher="Poughkeepsie Journal"|date=August 4 2002|accessdate=2007-12-07] 1,000, the cottage cost $16,599. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/H/Historic%20Buildings%20and%20Sites A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] In the end, it is thought that FDR never spent a single night at the cottage. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/H/Historic%20Buildings%20and%20Sites A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] Recent renovations to the cottage, allowing to open to the public, cost $1,500,000, including $750,000 to buy the cottage. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

Two years later, Roosevelt and his cousin Margaret Suckley spent some time together on the top of the hill, with a view over the Hudson River to the Catskill Mountains, and were both impressed by the possibilities.Cite news|first=Barbara|last=Ireland|title=At the Home of F.D.R.'s Secret Friend|url=http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/09/07/travel/escapes/07daisy.html|publisher="The New York Times"|date=September 9 2007|accessdate=2007-12-07] He would refer to it as "Our Hill"; she as "the nicest Hill in Dutchess County".cite web|title=Top Cottage|url=http://www.nps.gov/archive/hofr/Top_Cottage.htm|accessdate=2007-12-07] In October of that year he suggested it would be the perfect spot for "a one-story fieldstone two-room house ... one with very thick walls to protect us." She responded enthusiastically, with a sketch that looks similar to the finished building.

Roosevelt at first envisioned it as where he would live after his presidency, and bought the 118-acre (47 ha) hillside parcel in 1937, after his re-election. By that point in his life, he was mostly confined to a wheelchair due to his polio-related paralysis and could only walk short distances with great difficulty and assistance,a fact he and others concealed from the public. He designed the cottage to accommodate the wheelchair, with one flat floor and everything he could want or need located within easy reach of someone in a sitting position. Top Cottage is the only presidential residence, other than Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and Poplar Forest, designed by a president. It is also the first accessible building designed by a disabled person.Cite web|title=Top Cottage|url=http://www.feri.org/common/news/info_detail.cfm?ClientID=11005&QID=1980|publisher=The Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute|accessdate=2007-12-07]

He began submitting sketches to architects in 1938. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] He commissioned architect Henry Toombs to help finish the design, who suggested Roosevelt be credited as architect despite his lack of professional training or experience,cite web|first=Henry|last=Toombs|coauthor=Margeurite LeHand|title=Henry Toombs Suggests FDR Should Be Listed As Architect For Top Cottage, With Reply|url=http://www.disabilitymuseum.org/lib/docs/2029.htm|publisher=Disability History Museum|accessdate=2007-12-07] angering some Republican architects when an article about the cottage doing exactly that ran in "Life" magazine.cite news|first=William|last=Rhoads|title=FDR left mark on nation — and area's buildings|url=http://cityguide.pojonews.com/fe/Heritage/stories/he_fdr_left_mark.asp|publisher="Poughkeepsie Journal"|accessdate=2007-12-08] There are some indications that Toombs was the architect but suggested that he be listed only as the associate with Roosevelt being credited as the architect. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] Crediting Roosevelt as the architect brought criticism from others, including John Lloyd Wright, son of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright said, "awaited 'pictures of 'Doctor' Roosevelt performing an appendectomy.' : [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

The next year it would be host to the famous picnic where Roosevelt cooked and served hot dogs to Britain's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on the first state visit to the United States by a British sovereign.

It was during the King and Queen's visit that Roosevelt broke protocol and proposed a toast to the Queen. She reportedly became flustered at the break in protocol and drank to herself. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

His original intention to use it as a retirement home were put on hold when he won an unprecedented third term the next year. But he continued to use Top Cottage as a retreat, bringing important visitors such as British Prime Minister Winston Churchill there to discuss the atomic bomb, as well as close friends like Suckley, who took the only two published photos of him in his wheelchair on the cottage's porch.After Roosevelt's death, his son Elliott Roosevelt lived there for a while. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] He made some renovations, such as adding dormer windows and a mud room. Later he sold the house to the Potter family, who gave their name to the street leading to the home. It remained in their possession until 1996, when it was sold again to the Open Space Institute (OSI). The following year it was recognized as a National Historic Landmark, and the OSI began renovations, removing Elliott Roosevelt's additions and thinning some of the trees that had obstructed the view. In 2001, it was turned over to the National Park Service to be made part of the existing historic site. The house was opened to the public for the first time in 2001. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/H/Historic%20Buildings%20and%20Sites A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] It is used as a conference center, in addition to being open to the public. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/H/Historic%20Buildings%20and%20Sites A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

Previous residents of the cottage

Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30 1882 – April 12 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945, and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. He was a central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems. Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, many programs initiated in the Roosevelt administration continue to have instrumental roles in the nation's commerce, such as the FDIC, TVA, and the SEC. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.

Roosevelt won four presidential elections in a row, causing a realignment that political scientists call the Fifth Party System. His aggressive use of an active federal government re-energized the Democratic Party, creating a New Deal Coalition which dominated American politics until the late 1960s. He and his wife, Eleanor Roosevelt, remain touchstones for modern American liberalism. Conservatives vehemently fought back, but Roosevelt usually prevailed until he tried to pack the Supreme Court in 1937. Thereafter, the new Conservative coalition successfully ended New Deal expansion; during the war it closed most relief programs like the WPA and Civilian Conservation Corps, arguing that unemployment had disappeared.

After 1938, Roosevelt championed re-armament and led the nation away from isolationism as the world headed into World War II. He provided extensive support to Winston Churchill and the British war effort before the attack on Pearl Harbor pulled the U.S. into the fighting. During the war, Roosevelt, working closely with his aide Harry Hopkins, provided decisive leadership against Nazi Germany and made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies who later, alongside the United States, defeated Germany, Italy and Japan. Roosevelt led the United States as it became the Arsenal of Democracy and put 16 million American men into uniform.

On the homefront his term saw the vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, restoration of prosperity and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women. Also with his term came new taxes that affected all income groups, price controls and rationing, and relocation camps for 120,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans as well as thousands of Italian and German-Americans. As the Allies neared victory, Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations. Roosevelt's administration redefined liberalism for subsequent generations and realigned the Democratic Party based on his New Deal coalition of labor unions; farmers; ethnic, religious and racial minorities; intellectuals;Fact|date=September 2007 the South; big city machines; and the poor and workers on relief.

Elliott Roosevelt (September 23 1910 – October 27 1990) was a World War II hero and an author. He was also the son of President Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor.

Elliott was involved in many different careers during his life, including a Texas radio station owner, a rancher, and for a term in the 1960s as the mayor of Miami Beach, Florida. As Elliott approached his 80th year of age, his final ambition was to "outlive James." However, Elliott Roosevelt died at the age 80 of congestive heart failure. His brother James Roosevelt survived Elliott by one year.

Location and further information

The cottage is located in New Hyde Park, New York. It is open only to those with reservations. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/Subjects/H/Historic%20Buildings%20and%20Sites A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] [ [http://www.journeyinn.com/top_cottage.php FDR's Top Cottage - Hyde Park New York ] ] The house is currently unfurnished as the original contents have been long lost. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ] However, the cottage is being refurnished with furnishing used by Roosevelt. [ [http://www.feri.org/common/news/info_detail.cfm?ClientID=11005&QID=1980 The Franklin & Eleanor Roosevelt Institute - Top Cottage ] ]

The cottage was subject of a review book, "The President as Architect: Franklin D. Roosevelt's Top Cottage," was compiled by John G. Waite Associates, an Albany architectural firm specializing in restorations. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990DEED91E3EF937A25755C0A9679C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1 A Pied-à-Terre Designed By a President; F. D. R. Never Slept Here, But Entertained Dignitaries And Enjoyed Rendezvous - New York Times ] ]

References

External links

* [http://www.nps.gov/archive/hofr/Top_Cottage.htm Official Site]
* [http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.ny0170 Vall-Kill, Stone Cottage: 3 measured drawings] , at Historic American Building Survey


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