One of the final things uttered by President Theodore Roosevelt as he lay ill in bed in January 1919 was an aside to his wife, Edith: "I wonder if you will ever know how I love Sagamore Hill." A refuge for the popular leader that helped him reconnect with his childhood and, when needed, avoid the glare of the media, his Long Island home recently reopened its doors to the public this past Sunday, after undergoing an extensive restoration project overseen by the National Park Service. While it's impossible to appreciate the man's love for the only place he ever owned, the detailed renovation has given visitors an opportunity to see the sprawling family home in pristine condition, one that reflects the gregarious leader and his eclectic life.
"The goal was to protect the house first, and his collection second," says Susan Sarna, museum curator at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. "We were awarded the money for the restoration in 2008, and spent three years studying how to best preserve the house before we even started to pack the objects."