The popular ‘Teddy Bear’ toy was created to honor him for refusing to shoot a bear in a hunting spree and this president spent time with his children every 4PM no matter what.
By Marivir R. Montebon
New York City – A visit at the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site will remind us that the 26th president of the US was not only crazy about natural conservation and the building of the Panama Canal. The mansion turned museum reveals that even in the thick of his political responsibilities, TR made sure he had time to be with his children every 4 o’clock in the afternoon, no matter what.
The 26th US president was born on 28 East 20th Street in downtown Manhattan and step into the time when the youngest US president (at 43) was born and raised.
A fascinating information about TR is the fact that he made time for his six children (Alice, Theodore Jr., Kermit, Quentin, Ethel, and Archibald) even at the height of his political responsibilities. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) would spend time with his children everyday at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. In fact, he would ask his Cabinet members to join them.
Doing both his political and family responsibilities are well enshrined with what he wrote in The Works of Theodore Roosevelt: “The basis of good citizenship is in the home. A man must be a good son, husband and father; a woman a good daughter, wife, and mother. There must be no shirking of duties in big things and little things.”
A well-known conservationist and naturalist, TR was asthmatic as a child and overcame it by leading a physically strenuous life. He was in constant awe of animals and plants, and later on, was responsible for preserving wildlife and forest reserves. He would be best remembered as a champion for anti-trust laws and social reforms in the US and the one who made sure that the Panama Canal was built.
TR, a Republican, was New York’s 33rd governor (1899-1900). He was Vice President to Pres. William McKinley who assumed the presidency with the latter’s assassination. TR was the youngest person to become US president. Way back in his childhood, he and his four siblings, born to businessman Theodore Sr. and Martha Bulloch, a socialite, have been home-schooled.
The recreated three-story brownstone house in Gothic revival style was rebuilt by architect Theodate Pope Riddle in 1920, upon the decision of the Women’s Roosevelt Memorial Association. It followed the 1865 look of the house. In 2014, Pope’s work became recognized by the Built by Women New York City competition launched by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation.
Most collection pieces are replicas and a few are in the original state. The bedroom where the president and his siblings were born and the crib where they slumbered are original pieces. The porcelain ware in the dining room is likewise an original, a gift by Eleanor Roosevelt, to his uncle TR.
There are interesting facts about President Roosevelt in this museum:
- The popular Teddy Bear, a little children’s toy, was named in honor of President Roosevelt in 1902, when he refused to shoot a bear that was captured for him in a hunting spree.
- He named the seat of government the “White House.”
- From the window of his grandfather’s mansion on 14th Street, he along with his brother Elliot, watched the funeral president of President Lincoln
- First Lady Edith Roosevelt created the FL Portrait Gallery.