My DVR is set to record every episode of Ken Burn’s “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” The seven-episode documentary about Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt starts Sunday, September 14th, and runs for seven consecutive nights on PBS.
After seeing an impressive preview film of the documentary at the River Center, a friend and I decided now would be a good time to go to Warm Springs, have lunch at the Bulloch House (really good country cooking and historic ambiance), and return to the Little White House for a visit to the newest museum and the presidential cottage and the historic pools museum.
When I was about 13, I swam in that famous pool that was fed by warm spring water and used by President Roosevelt and other polio patients at the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation. It would be open to the public on some holidays. My family took advantage of that one weekend during World War II. A young Fort Benning soldier and his wife, who rented a room in our home, went with us.
The new museum is impressive and does have some artifacts that the old one didn’t display. The old museum is now used as an office building for the state park. The very first museum was in the basement of the Little White House.
We really enjoyed the visit. I was quite familiar with the cottage because not only have I visited it a number of times, I did a documentary for WRBL on it and the old museum back in the 1980s. I hadn’t seen it in years, so I had forgotten some of the details, but as we toured it again, I got the same feeling of “seeing it now” – Edward R. Murrow did a series of historical documentaries for CBS called :See It Now” – this time.
I actually saw FDR when I was a small boy. It was only for a few seconds. Our family car was one of many sitting on the side of Warm Springs Road so we could watch the presidential sedan go by as he returned to Warm Springs after a Columbus visit.
When working for WSB Radio in Atlanta, I interviewed Eleanor Roosevelt and Dr. Jonas Salk, developer of the Salk vaccine which helped eradicate polio, in 1958 for a feature for NBC Radio about the 20th anniversary celebration of National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.
There have been documentaries about Teddy, FDR, and Eleanor, but none that I know of that showed how their lives intertwined. Paul Giamatti, Meryl Streep, Doris Kerns Goodwin, and David McCullough are among the well-known voice-over cast. I am really looking forward to this one.