I have always know FDR as the President that created the Civilian Conservation Corp. during the Great Depression. Over the years, we have seen hundreds of buildings and trails constructed by the “CCC Boys” (I first heard this term from my Grandmother who fondly remembered it over her sweet potatoe fries.)
It would be harder to find a National/State Park that doesn't have a CCC project than one that does.
When we arrived at Prince William Forest Park in March, I collected some reading material so that I could learn more about this particular Park. It turns out that Prince William Forest Park (formerly know as the Chopawamsic Recreational Demonstration Areas) has the largest collection anywhere of standing CCC structures. So, one of the things I read was a research report on the CCC Program. By the end, I was thoroughly impressed by FDR's role and level of personal involvement in the formation and development of the CCC.
With my newfound interest in FDR, we toured the FDR Memorial in Washington, DC and made a trip to visit his boyhood home in Hyde Park, NY.
A couple of things I learned:
- There is no R at the end of Delano, despite how people (including our tour guide in Hyde Park) may pronounce the name.
- FDR had polio which paralyzed him but he got the “childhood” disease later in life, after he had already started his political career and had children.
- He was Theodore Roosevelt's (distant) cousin and allegedly admired him, to the point of copying his glasses. FDR and Eleanor were also distant cousins. Her maiden name was Roosevelt.
- FDR was elected to four terms but died in office before starting his fourth term. He and Eleanor are buried at Hyde Park. (The famous dog Fala is also buried on the grounds.)
- FDR had a strong will and knew that if he was going to have a political career after polio, he would have to learn to walk again. He did manage the appearance of walking, at least for short distances with a cane and wearing heavy leg braces.
- Eleanor was a political force in her own right (despite being somewhat “bullied” by her mother-in-law at Hyde Park.)