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Here’s some fun news! Diana von Glahn, aka The Faithful Traveler, is starting a daily radio show on Real Life Radio.
And every Friday…I’ll be on it!
We’ll be talking about traveling with children/family travel, etc….the show begins on August 3, so be sure to tune in – we’ve recorded our first segment already and it was a lot of fun. I’m really looking forward to working with Diana on this project.
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Speaking of travel….(you knew this was coming)….
We had a great day visiting Warm Springs, Georgia.
Warm Springs, of course, is the site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Little White House.
It’s in east-central Georgia, and we’re in centralish Alabama, so you’d think we’d have visited sooner. Well, it’s not that quick of a trip from Birmingham, really. It took a little over 2 ½ hours to get there, on a path that took us on I-20, then down exit 205 through all kinds of nice places – and I mean that. Take a look at this lovely Art Deco theater in Manchester, Georgia.
When I had envisioned this trip, uh, two days ago, I had thought we would be able to cram a lot more in that we did. And perhaps if we’d left at 7 am rather than 8, we would have, but darn that change to the Eastern Time Zone. I’d thought we might run through Columbus and hit the Infantry Museum, or maybe get to Albany’s Chehaw Park Zoo (small, it says, but free w/our Birmingham Zoo membership, so why not) or their little river-themed aquarium but because we got a later start and because Warm Springs took longer – in a good way – than I’d anticipated – all that will have to wait.
(Also in later trips to the area will be Andersonville, although that will be tough – I’ve been there, and it’s so very sad and awful…so maybe in a couple of years – and in a more hopeful theme, the Habitat for Humanity headquarters in Americus. )
And the Jimmy Carter stuff?
SO…what did we see.
Here’s the basics: FDR heard about the perhaps healing properties of the springs in 1924. He visited, fell in love with the area, began coming regularly, and soon after used a big chunk of his own fortune to purchase a by then-dilapidated resort hotel and 1200 acres around the springs, with the intention of building a rehabilitation facility. It grew into a large, wonderful institution, which, even more wonderfully, outlived its usefulness for polio patients with the advent of the polio vaccine in 1955. At the point it transitioned into offering services for people with a wide range of disabilities, which it still does today. It seemed pretty busy on our visit.
FDR had a small (6-room) house built nearby, which is of course, where he died on April 12, 1945 after suffering a stroke while having his portrait painted. The famous photograph of the man with a tear-streaked face playing the accordion as FDR’s body passed by? That happened in front of Georgia Hall, the main building at the Warm Springs center.
We began there, at Georgia Hall, and took a brief, self guided walking tour of the quadrangle. Most of the original buildings are not used for their original purposes, since, of course, there are no more polio patients, and I am not even sure if they have long-term residential patients.
(Forgive the quality of some of these photographs. I got increasingly irritated with my camera because it seemed as if the lens were dirty. I kept wiping it clean, but the pictures still looked fuzzy. WHY? Maybe because you had inadvertently pushed the scene selector to “soft” – that’s why.)
In the quadrangle. What you see is an area with stairs, and ground composed of various materials to give patients practice in walking on different surfaces.
This was the children’s solarium. When it was in use, it had a ceiling-high birdcage in the center.
“Polio Hall of Fame” – busts of researchers and others instrumental in the fight against the disease.
The chapel was locked, but I got this shot through a window. There is extra space in the front for room for wheelchairs and gurneys. FDR last attend a service here on Easter Sunday a couple of weeks before he died.
Again, through a window. This is an indoor pool that was constructed for patients for whom transportation down the hill to the outdoor pools was too difficult.
The historic pools:
(In addition to the actual pools, there is a small exhibit in the building. The admission to the Little White House includes admission to the pools. There is no cost to tour the rehabilitation facility.)
The pools are empty, of course, but spring water comes up in a fountain on one end. Forgive the soft focus!!!
The Little White House...first a small, very good museum that gave a good overview of FDR’s life in general and in relation to Warm Springs. Many personal artifacts on display including a couple of wheelchairs and braces.
People sent FDR canes as gifts…
That final portrait…fuzzy.
The dining area – it is really one big space with the living room below. It’s a dogtrot design, with the path between these two spaces extending between a back patio and the front foyer and front door. That’s the easel on which the portrait was sitting.
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Afterwards, we headed about 7 miles out of town, up Pine Mountain to Dowdell Knob – a wonderful overlook where FDR enjoyed coming and even hosting barbecues. (That stone structure is the grill, filled in so people won’t mess with it. The placard said that the “picnics” were served on cloth-covered tablecloths with china and glassware.)
There’s also a statue of FDR there, which you can see at the link.
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Not done yet! Also in Warm Springs is a National Fish Hatchery. There’s a teeny-tiny aquarium with some gar and bass and such and an explanation of the Hatchery’s purpose and work. There are display pools with fish you can feed, and one with an alligator….
Then down to Albany where we saw the Ray Charles Memorial…very musical! Also very, very buggy – I was going to try to go to Radium Springs – it sounded interesting – but at 96 degrees, I scratched the prospect of exploring more bug-infested waters and we moved on….
For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t the Lyceum!
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