Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Eleanor Roosevelt's Val-Kill

We headed out today to visit Val-Kill which was the home of Eleanor Roosevelt and the only residence she personally owned.  It is about two miles east of Springwood, the Roosevelt family home,  that we toured on June 17th.

Unlike Springwood, Val-Kill is very modest and yet somehow very fitting for Eleanor Roosevelt, a woman who was not afraid to speak her mind, true to her own ideals and absolutely unpretentious.


Eleanor's Office

The house was originally the site of Val-Kill Industries, a social experiement that Eleanor Roosevelt, Nancy Cook, and Marion Dickerman founded.  Val-Kill was a factory where local farmers were taught crafting skills to supplement their incomes so that they could keep their farms during hard times.  Mrs. Roosevelt even marketed the furniture from Val-Kill and her home was furnished with a lot of that furniture.

After Val-Kill Industries, Eleanor had the place made into a residence. 

The Dining Room


Although the china in the dining room is not fine china, Mrs. Roosevelt had an enormous amount of Silver Serving Dishes and the candelabras that are on the table.  The walls were again covered with personal photographs and other personal memorabilia.  


The items next to the mirror are White House Christmas Cards from Eleanor's time in the White House.

 The Parlor

There is no way in one small blog to describe the influence and the works of Eleanor Roosevelt.  She was one formidable, influential and hard-working woman.  The following website gives some real insight into Eleanor Roosevelt's life and her times at Val Kill:

http://www.oldhouseweb.com/architecture-and-design/val-kill.shtml

John Kennedy met with Eleanor in this room when he asked for her support of his campaign to become President.  Eleanor met with him alone in this room to discuss his thoughts and plans for his presidency.  She didn't even allow the Secret Service to be in the room!  When they finished their discussions, Eleanor agreed to support him if he would improve his stance on Civil Rights.  After the meeting, Eleanor did support John Kennedy in his campaign for the presidency.


Our Guide Giving Us More Information on the Back Porch 

The back of Eleanor Roosevelt's Home



Franklin Roosevelt had this cottage built at Val-Kill for Eleanor, Nancy Cook and Marion Dickinson.  Cook and Dickinson lived in the cottage for years.


Inside the cottage, there are lots of different exhibits about Eleanor Roosevelt's life including several home movie clips that were really interesting and fun to watch since they were home movies and so all the people are more natural.

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Excerpts From Some Roosevelt Home Movies

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There are also lots of photos of Eleanor and Franklin.




The Pool Behind the Cottage which is now covered

Inside the Cottage


The scenery at Val Kill

You can see why Eleanor really enjoyed the property when you wander outdoors.  It is a very private and scenic place to live and enjoy the outdoors.




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Goodbye Eleanor

Some Of My Favorite Quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt

A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.

Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive.  One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life.

Learn from the mistakes of others.  You can't live long enough to make them all yourself. 

Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway.  You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't.
Great minds discuss ideas; Average minds discuss events; Small minds discuss people.