FDR’s Beloved Island
From the late 1800’s to the mid-1900’s wealthy families from the United States traveled to Campobello Island to build summer homes – families such as James and Sara Roosevelt, the parents of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. From 1883, when FRD was one year old, until he was stricken by polio in 1921, he spent most of his summers on this rugged and beautiful island. As a young father, he found that his family enjoyed Campobello. It became customary to spend July, August, and part of September there.
They occupied a 34-room, 18-bedroom cottage during the summers. He regularly referred to Campobello as his “Beloved Island” for which it would be eternally known.
As FDR’s life became more complicated with polio, the New York Senate and his run for the Presidency, he found it almost impossible to visit. The cottage would eventually be sold.
Shortly after Roosevelt’s death, the well-know philanthropist, Armand Hammer purchased the Roosevelt family cottage. He invited Eleanor Roosevelt to use it frequently during her lifetime and, following her death, Hammer donated it to the US and Canadian governments in order to form a Joint Venture, which would be called Campobello FDR International Park.
Establishment of International Park
On January 22, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson delivered the following address to the Canadian Prime Minister at the Signing of the Roosevelt Campobello International Park Agreement.
“Mr. Prime Minister and distinguished guests: President Roosevelt would have approved of what we are doing here today. He approved of anything that advanced, however small, the general wellbeing of human beings. So it cheers me to join with Prime Minister Pearson in taking the first step toward establishing Franklin Roosevelt’s Campobello summer home as a memorial park.”
NOTE: The complete text of this Dedication Speech can be found in the Appendix.
The house and grounds continue to be maliciously maintained by the two governments as a joint venture. Free tours are offered from May to November.