Friday, March 11, 2011
Where visitors enter the house now for tours (which are free and given on the hour) is the lower level that was once reserved for servants with the kitchen and other working rooms. The first floor up was where family visitors would have entered. On this level, there is a formal parlor that was Teddy's favorite room; it had the most natural light and the furnishings were very fine. The national park ranger who gave us our tour told us a quaint anecdote about how Teddy loved the chandelier in this room (see right) and when one day he found that a crystal had fallen from the chandelier he pocketed it and played with it for over a week until guilt overcame him and he confessed to his mother.
Throughout this floor, which has the parlor the dining room and the library, and the 3rd floor, which has the master bedroom and the nursery, you can see furniture and decorative objects from the original home. In fact about 75% of the furnishings are original, and the remainder are period pieces (like the piano which is the same type owned by the Roosevelts, although not the original from the home and the china donated to the Theodore Roosevelt Association by Eleanore Roosevelt--although there is one piece of the family's original rose china on display (see left)).
If you are interested in American history, this tour is right up your alley. It is just hard to believe that this exists just a few blocks north of Union Square. Later this year the next door neighbor's house (which belonged to Teddy's uncle--yes, another gift from Grandfather Cornelius) is scheduled to re-open later this year as a museum after the electrical is upgraded and the exhibits are re-installed.